Get a $50 discount at the International TEFL Academy

Hi there. If you’re not interested in getting your TEFL certificate to teach English abroad, then you’re welcome to skip this post. Maybe you’d like to read about travel or stupid things I’ve said in French instead?

If you are considering getting your TEFL certificate, I want to let you know that you can get $50 off your course with the International TEFL Academy, my TEFL alma mater. You can check it out here. Make sure to mention my name and the alumni referral program in order to get your $50 discount. I get $50 too for referring you. I hope that’s cool!

I took the full-time level 5 certification in Chicago three years ago. You might have heard of CELTA – this course is similar to that in terms of material covered. ITA offers the course in cities in the U.S. and around the world (Istanbul, Florence, Honolulu, Rio de Janiero, and Phnom Penh are just a few), and you can take it online as well.

I had been out of school for a couple years and I was geekily excited about learning and studying. I was that nerd with lots of questions and answers (even though in college I only spoke up in class when goaded). My teachers, Gosia and Jan, were experts, as well as really good teachers, which not all experts are.  I remember Jan teaching us a lesson entirely in Czech to show us what it’s like to have class in a foreign language, and Gosia explaining differences between British and American English. (North Americans, did you know that in the U.K. it’s correct to say “at the weekend”? Brits, did you know we don’t say “in hospital”?*) She had an anecdote about coming to the U.S. from the U.K. and being bewildered by a compliment on her pants (which, if you don’t know, means underwear in British English).

We studied a huge range of topics, including different pedagogical approaches, teaching kids versus adults, cultural differences, and good old English grammar. We also had student teaching practicum at the school, so we planned out lessons and then actually taught them to small groups of ESL students. I think there were about twelve of us in the class and we all got along well, which made class more fun. A lot of my classmates went on to do cool stuff like teach in South Korea and Budapest. (#facebookstalking)

I worked in the writing center for three years in college and grammar talk didn’t phase me, but it’s amazing what you learn when you think about language from the perspective of a non-native speaker. I had never noticed that the past tense verb conjugations don’t change in English and it totally blew my mind. (I ate, you ate, she ate, we ate. See?!) I had also never really noticed how many phrasal verbs (verb + preposition) we use in English, and how tough they can be to learn. Like, there’s a big difference between “throw,” “throw out,” and “throw up,” right? But it’s so innate to native speakers that we don’t think twice.

Teaching is not easy and I think it really takes years of study and practice to be fully prepared. However most ESL teachers, especially those of us who aren’t going to be teachers forever, often just get thrown in the deep end when we start teaching! I was glad that I had at least taken a thorough TEFL course first.

Having a TEFL certificate has helped me get hired over here in France, although it’s not a requirement for the TAPIF program. I don’t think I would have my current job without it. If you have a significant amount of experience and a Master’s degree, you might get by without a TEFL certificate in France, but in some other countries it’s a requirement to teach English.

Right, getting a job! The majority of alumni seem to end up in Asia, because that’s where a lot of the demand is, but there are ITA alums teaching all over the world. Everyone working in the office has taught English abroad, everywhere from Chile to South Korea. My advisor at ITA was Christie, who is awesome! You meet with your advisor to talk about where you want to teach, how to find a job, etc. and they help you with your CV and cover letter. You also leave with a letter of recommendation, which is always nice.

One thing I appreciate about ITA is that they clearly strive to provide their students and alumni with the most accurate information possible. There is a wealth of alumni interviews on their site sorted by country which address things like getting a job, how much they earned, what it’s like living in that particular country, etc. (Mine is outdated and a little embarrassing! I’ve updated it so I hope the old one will be replaced soon.)

There is also an enormous alumni network. There are active ITA alumni Facebook groups for each country, which I think is a fantastic resource. Have a question about teaching English in Spain? You can get in touch with people who are currently teaching there.

I chose to get my TEFL certificate at the International TEFL Academy because it was a top-level accredited program (meaning it meets international standards of British Council and the like), and out of all the programs I researched in Chicago, it had the best value for the lowest price. I remember being disappointed that they didn’t have a magic solution for teaching in France, but honestly, there isn’t one. Ultimately I was happy with my choice of TEFL program, and I’m glad that I can still benefit from the alumni network over three years later.

If you have any questions about my experience with the International TEFL Academy, please let me know and I’ll do my best to help.

ITA did not compensate me in any way for this post. They don’t even know I’m writing it.

*Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans, and other lovely anglophones, we didn’t study the particularities of how English is spoken chez vous, but I’m interested to learn about it if you’d like to share! Canada and Ireland, it seems like you guys get lumped in with the U.S. and the U.K. respectively. Does that get annoying?

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11 thoughts on “Get a $50 discount at the International TEFL Academy

  1. Thanks for the advice. I stumbled across this article as I am considering moving to Lyon and am exploring different options of what I could do there so I found your article helpful (I used to work in an English language school back home but never took either the tefl or celta).

    By the way as a Canadian living in the UK, indeed many people lump us in with Americans because of the accent. As you might expect though the written language is somewhat of a hybrid. We spell like brits for the most part (exception is their insistence on -se as opposed to -ze) but we use a lot of American expressions. It’s quite fun to be honest seeing both sides.

    1. That’s so interesting, I’ve been wondering about Canadian spelling! (Seems like an odd thing to wonder about but it’s true.) I’m glad my post was useful, and if you have any questions about Lyon please don’t hesitate!

  2. Just saw this response, sorry for the late reply. I have loads of questions about Lyon but probably too many list here!

    I guess the big one is how have you found the transition from living in Paris? Do you ever find Lyon too small or boring? I was just there a month ago and was blown away by how much it exceeded my own high expectations but obviously that’s a lot different from living somewhere!

    I used to live in Paris and now live in London and am just kind of tired of the chaotic big city life I guess.

    And yeah, Canadian spelling does seem a bit odd to wonder about! I’m accustomed to it being an afterthought more than a topic that garners much attention!

    Nice blog by the way!

    1. Thank you!!

      I like Lyon because it’s not a big city (even though it’s one of the biggest cities in France after Paris) but it still has a lot going on – a lot of good restaurants, cafes, local events, there’s almost always something to do. Compared to Paris and London it might seem boring though! Lyon is pretty well connected by train, bus, and plane so it’s easy to get away for a short trip. If you have more questions about Lyon you’re welcome to email me.

    2. P.S. And about Canadian spelling, I thought of it because I usually discuss the difference between UK and US spelling in class, and I assumed that Australian spelling is the same as UK (although now I’m wondering if I’m wrong about that too…) but I wasn’t sure about Canada. Teaching makes me wonder about random stuff sometimes!

  3. I’m currently looking into TEFL certifications as a future possibility…it seems the common wisdom is that your certification won’t really be taken seriously by a lot of employers unless your program also has a teaching practicum component. My situation is a little different though, since I’ve already completed a year of TAPIF and work in education in the US as well (though not exclusively EFL/ESL or foreign language). As someone who’s been through a course, do you think the practicum is necessary given the rest of my background..?? Asking primarily because I’ve found similarly accredited programs that are much cheaper because they don’t require the practicum. Would love your take 🙂

    1. Oh gosh, I’m really not sure. I think it depends a lot on what you want to do and the hiring norms. I know for some online courses you have to complete a practicum but you’re responsible for finding your own students, but I don’t know what the cost difference is. Where would you like to teach? ITA has country-specific alumni groups on FB – if they’re not public to non-alumni I could see if any people who have taught in the country you’re interested in have any information about how important the practicum is in the hiring process. My instinct is that your teaching experience will count for a lot since most people have none, but I don’t know enough to give you concrete information. Lots of people go abroad with an online course certificate and I don’t see how their independent practicum is any better than TAPIF, but I’ve never been on the hiring side. I wish I could be more helpful!

      1. No, it is helpful!! For now I’m just considering it…with no big plan at the moment, but I’ll check out the Facebook groups. I was also thinking that having independent practicum would basically even out an online certification, but I was just curious. Thank you!!

      2. Good luck! On the ITA website there are lots of interviews with people who have gone abroad with links to their blogs, and I would venture to say that the majority did an online certification. (Mine is embarrassing, it’s from right after I moved to Paris! I wrote an update but I don’t think they’ve posted it.) Let me know if I can be helpful later on 🙂

  4. Awesome read! Gave me reassure for the program. I am currently doing the online version and will be doing the TAPIF program this fall!

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