On May 23rd, 2016, Mustafa and I began our TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course here in Chiang Mai. Even before we’d started we knew that we’d made the right choice and by the end of the first day we were feeling positive, welcome and absolutely enthused about the next couple of weeks.
Originally, we’d considered doing a CELTA course in Bangkok. However, due to the very strict demands of the application process as well as the stressful nature of the course (or so it was presented to us), we eventually decided to look at other options.
Why would we have wanted to do a CELTA or even a TEFL course, when we had already been teaching for years, you might ask? Well, as much experience as we both have, we both know that our teaching methods can be improved. Furthermore, having a certificate of being a trained ESL teacher is invaluable, especially in South East Asia and even more so in China.
So, there we were at our lovely hotel in Bangkok, scouring the internet for TEFL schools with excellent reputations, comparable course structure and accredited by some sort of educational authority when we hit gold. We’d found the SEE TEFL website. With very little time to lose I gave the director, Mr. John Quinn, a quick phone call to find out some more information. Imagine my surprise when the director not only responded very quickly to my call but was very accommodating and genuinely patient with all my questions. It was a rare and extremely heartening experience to be treated so kindly by the director of a school. With such a warm reception, Mustafa and I made up our minds and within a few days put down our deposit for the very next course start date.
However, our experience is, of course, unique. If you are unsure whether or not you want to fly to Thailand to do either a CELTA or a TEFL course I have prepared a few questions you can ask yourself to help you decide.
- Are you a little (or a lot) unsure about the technical, i.e. grammar rules, phonetics and phonology, aspects of the English language?
- Are you a person that wants to work in an environment that will teach you how to create a learning environment that is genuine and supportive?
- Do you feel like you would need a little more guidance or support in terms of learning, receiving constructive assistance and finding a job after your course is completed?
Now, if your answers to these questions are strong maybes or yeses then doing the SEE (Siam Educational Experience) TEFL course would be your best choice. I say it unashamedly because, after researching many other TEFL courses available, this one stood out in terms of support, clarity and results. Also, if your answers to the above questions are yes then a CELTA may be a bit daunting and time/energy consuming.
As a further bonus, if you decide up to 45 days in advance that you want to do this course SEE offers a $200 USD discount. In Chiang Mai that extra cash can cover up to ten days’ worth of living expenses, on a moderate (travel, food and accommodation) budget.
Is a CELTA worth more than a TEFL you might ask? Not anymore. The TEFL course offered at SEE is, impressively (and very usefully for trainees hoping to work in Thailand with a work permit after the course), backed by a license from the Thai Ministry of Education. Not only that, it is internationally certified by the global leader in conformity and assessment services, the Bureau Veritas, and accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service. If that’s not a nice chewy mouthful for future employers, then I don’t know what is!
To wrap things up, I am extremely happy that I chose to do the TEFL course with SEE. It’s more than just an academic course, there are Thai language and culture lessons and the pace of the course suits me and my partner just fine. There are many positive reviews online and I encourage you to do a bit of research so that you can see that my blog is not a one-off.
You can take a look at this exclusive interview with the director of SEE, Mr. John Quinn, wherein he answers many more questions about TEFL, Thailand and the ESL world of work. He gives us deeper insight into some of the course content as well as the kinds of people who have taken this course before (the oldest they’ve had was 70 years old!) and what type of person is really appropriate for the course (non-native English speakers and persons without bachelor’s degrees have been successful at gaining employment after the course!).
Also, if you have decided to make the leap and come to Chiang Mai to do this wonderful course then I encourage you to hit the link below and sign up, now. Remember, if you sign up early you can get as much as $200 discounted off your fee. Good luck and have fun.