Thinking of taking a career break or a sabbatical but don't want to risk making the wrong career moves? Taking time off or filling a gap year by teaching English abroad is a popular choice, and won't hamper your reentry into the world of work afterwards. In fact, it will most likely make you a more enriched and rounded employee!
The image of a TEFL teacher which is usually conjured up is one of a fresh-from-uni graduate who is off to explore the world and travel, before settling down into their career. Whilst that is a statistically fair reflection of things there are a growing number of people who get drawn to the world of TEFL after already settling down - and they are reaping the benefits!
For many people, whatever their age, a career break is something they may have considered but not dared to actually do. Maybe it is the lack of promotion prospects in times of cut backs or just the stress of working life - but for one reason or another people hesitate, settling for staring out of the window; dreaming of an escape.
Quitting a job isn't quitting a career and leaving a company for an extended period, if done the correct way, doesn't mean burning your bridges either.
There have been an increasing number of people in their 30's 40's & 50's who have been taking a 'gap-year' from their pressured jobs in established careers to take a TEFL course and then go on to teach English. The most common side effect? A new lease of life, a feeling of being refreshed and invigorated - all hugely beneficial for themselves and their businesses when they return to work.
It is even possible to do a TEFL course on a part-time or home-study (online) basis, so that you can wait until you have your qualification before starting your sabbatical leave. Whichever way you choose to do your course, studying can be just the boost you need to motivate you to pursue a different road, whether short or longer term.
On a regular presencial course, usually over 4 weeks, you will learn many new things that will stretch your imagination and inspire you beyond what most regular jobs tend to do. You will develop new skills- such as planning lessons and courses, managing resources, making workplace assessments, holding a position of responsibility, adapting to new cultures, gaining life experience and plenty more. Lets face it, it looks a lot more impressive on a CV than most summer jobs and much more constructive than taking a year off to do the gardening.
Once your training is completed, you then choose where you would like to teach. This could be in your own country, but is usually more fun abroad. Your training institution can make all the necessary arrangements for you and provide guidance if you are unsure of where to go. This is your opportunity to travel with purpose, live in a different environment, make new friends, have some fun under the sun, learn a foreign language and invest in yourself and your learning. All while earning so you don't have to dip into your savings account! It is so much more than just travelling abroad as a tourist, and sounds much better in a job interview.
At the end of your break or sabbatical you can usually return to your original career and pick up where you left off, with fresh new motivation - though it isn't uncommon for people to want to make their English teaching experience the basis for a new career. Whatever result you are looking for, teaching English abroad will most likely surpass any expectations you hold, and may even change your (working) life!