Perhaps I’ve complained about this in previous posts. I really did not want to take the 20 hour in-class portion. When I first heard that many of the programs in Korea were starting to require this certificate, I didn’t quite understand what it meant. My recruiter from Teach ESL Korea suggested I take the 120 hour course from BridgeTEFL since more and more programs required the 20 hour in-class component. But here’s the thing: the extra 20 hours are not in-class work. It’s an extra 2 modules for adult learners and young learners. I definitely feel like I was grossly misled here. The extra modules pretty much rehashed everything that the first 10 modules covered. Feeling a little had, I decided to aim for a job with GEPIK (Gyeonggi English Program in Korea). GEPIK did not require the 20 hour in-class certification.
After several weeks of no job prospects and upon the suggestion of Joseph from STAR Teachers, I decided to swallow my pride and take a 20 hour in-class course. I started with BridgeTEFL and asked them about if they offered a course with just the 20 hour in-class component. I was told that BridgeTEFL could give me a certificate but I would have to volunteer and observe TESL classes. After getting my hours signed off, BridgeTEFL would present me with a certificate. Wait wait wait. You mean to tell me that I have to pay $400 to do all the work for a pdf certificate in which BridgeTEFL does absolutely nothing? Hell no. I talked to Joseph about it, and he told me that volunteer work would not cut it. Joseph suggested i-to-i.
I researched i-to-i and found that they did not offer any 20 hour in-class courses in my home state of Ohio. They did, however, offer it as a weekend-long crash course in Chicago or New York. I hemmed and hawed over it for a few days and searched in vain for a similar program within the state. Finding nothing, I ponied up the money and made Airbnb and Megabus reservations.
July 10-11, 2015
The actual course was amazing. The instructor, Patty, was a native of Mexico and had her own experiences with which to draw examples and stories from. My fellow future immigrants [Why I Call Myself an Immigrant and Not an Expat] were all full of awesomeness. Our class of 12 was one of the larger classes Patty has had. I think our numbers had an impact on the course. We were goofy, full of laughter, and full of encouragement. My fear of being the only person from out of town went unfounded as there was only one Chicago native; the rest coming from Ohio or states farther than my own.
I would absolutely recommend this course to everyone who wants to teach English as a foreign/second language*. While some of the content was covered in the online course, it was great to get some hands-on practice and practical advice from someone who knows what she’s talking about.
To register for this course: Foundation TEFL Certificate
*I was really concerned about the wording on the certificate. The pdf version of the certificate does not have the term “20 hour in-class” in it. My recruiter (Roy from HandsKorea) said this was a crucial point. Before the course began, I emailed i-to-i about it and was assured that the course description would appear on the certificate. Thankfully, the required verbiage appears on the back of the hard copy of the certificate.