So last summer I decided to kick my job to the curb. I’d had enough of corporate politics, couldn’t use my vacation time, and just needed a breather. I wanted to travel the world and experience permanent bliss. I also wanted to keep making money while traveling abroad without having to do too much (after all I quit my job for a break). That’s what led me on the pursuit of TEFL certification. When I started the research process I was torn about which path to take. There are so many TEFL certification courses out there that it can be hard to narrow down the options.
As a newbie to travel blogging, I checked out what the experts were saying and narrowed my choices down to a couple of options. In the end, I landed on i-to-i TEFL to obtain my certification. There were a couple of reasons that steered me in this direction with price playing a major factor. I was also concerned about accreditation. What’s the point of spending money on a TEFL certificate if it’s not respected, right? So, the price was right for the i-to-i TEFL course (and I had a coupon) so whoop there it is.
When I started the course back in October I really thought I’d breeze through the self-study in a week or two. And I would have except for it was boring as hello. I powered through the first few modules but then found myself signing on less and less each day. While I was still on the road traveling, the TEFL certification fell to the back burner. The course just did not hold my attention and began to feel like a daunting task. As I progressed through the course I started to think that i-to-i TEFL like many of the other certification courses was overpriced for what it is.
so what is it?
The course I completed was the i-to-i professional TEFL course for 120 hours of study. It focused on skills-based learning in key language areas and combined video content which felt forced and dated in some modules. As you progress through the various modules, you have to clear progress checks and detailed checkpoints and assignments that test your knowledge and understanding of the material learned.
I found the directions for some of the checkpoints to be a bit confusing and became a bit annoyed with the inability to ask clarifying questions of the tutor or question tutor feedback (you get three attempts to pass your checkpoints or else). However, there’s a work around for this. As I neared the end of the course and the checkpoints became more challenging, I had the bright idea to email my questions to i-to-i TEFL support to get the clarity needed to advance to the next level. Keep this in mind should you decide to purchase a course because there will likely come a time when you have questions about the feedback and you’ll want to have the right direction before submitting your assignment for grading.
Now, you get 90-days to complete the course once your payment has cleared. I’m embarrassed to say it was a struggle for me to focus on the course and with life happening, the course inadvertently expired. So, I had to renew it (spent too much to turn back) and herein lies another problem. It’s $75 to renew for another 30-days (so finish the course!). There’s another option I believe for a 60-day renewal that was just under $200. Anyway, you won’t believe it took me right up to the eleventh hour to finish this course even with the extension. The problem this time, other than my attention span, was the turnaround time it took for the tutor to grade the course. A few days elapsed while waiting on my grade and the extra days I thought I had become none. So, don’t count on a quick turnaround for your graded assignment if you’re cutting it close to your expiration date.
Finally, I’ve obtained my i-to-i TEFL certification and while I’m not certain it’s going to be of actual use for my travels, I’m glad to have a back-up plan for the future should I decide to teach English abroad while traveling the world, one destination at a time. Also, I did have the extra modules for Advanced Grammar and Teaching English for Business added to my course. My sentiment is the same on those as well.
- Make sure you’re diligent in your studies to start and finish the course in the time allotted or you’ll lose your certification altogether assuming you don’t extend the course
- Will TEFL certification benefit you in a manner that allows for return on the investment as this course cost me $449 plus the $75 extension (look for online coupons)
- Understand your learning styles – do you learn better in a classroom setting or self-study
- Do you have teaching experience (found my prior teaching experience helpful – not so sure I would have dived right into a TEFL class just from this course and not having hands-on experience)
So what’s my recommendation…make sure a TEFL certification is required before you invest in any program. Many countries don’t require TEFL certification and will accept other credentials allowing you to teach English abroad. However, many countries do (hence the abundance of TEFL courses) so just consider the requirements of your chosen destination and then decide what’s best. I’ll be back with an updated review in about six months to let you know how I’ve benefited from having this certification, if at all.