I haven’t published a great deal on TEFL tourism yet (I will, I will), but when I was contacted by the English Teacher Training College of Austria who expressed that they too love TEFL and travel I couldn’t resist featuring them on the blog! In essence, TEFL tourism is all about demonstrating the links between teaching and leisure. A TEFL tourist is not only teaching to make money or for their career, but they are also interested in taking part in tourism-based activities. To date there is not much literature directly addressing this (but if you scroll through various websites it’s pretty obvious!) so I took the opportunity to interview Caitlin, who has demonstrated some of these links in Austria. Here is the interview-
As you know, I have recently finished my PhD research on TEFL tourism and I would love to know a bit more about how this might apply to you! What links do you see between TEFL teaching and tourism amongst your TEFL teachers?
Many of our student teachers join our course because they are interested in living in Austria. Many are drawn to the beautiful mountain landscapes or have interest in the local culture and language.
What extent of the experience do you think typically consists of teaching and how much consists of tourism-based elements?
The student teacher will spend more than 220 hours in the classroom teaching “English project weeks.” These “English projects weeks” are located at Austrian schools all over the country so the student teachers have the opportunity to travel to a new location every week and experience the local traditions and scenery. The student teachers also have their weekends free to travel and explore neighbouring countries as well as the local offerings.
I found that many organisations offer a TEFL package, which resembles a post-modern package holiday model. Do you offer a package such as this? If so what is included (i.e. flights, a qualification, and accommodation)?
Our CertTESOL and CELT-P courses offer a four month intensive teacher training course at one (or multiple) of our campuses in Austria. The course has an academic component as well as a strong practical focus with more than 220 hours spent in Austrian classrooms teaching our active learning curriculum. The student teachers are mentored by our experienced Course Tutors who observe classroom lessons and offer constructive feedback. Accommodation is provided as well as basic food supplies. Upon completion of the course the student teachers receive CertTESOL or CELT-P certification, a Red Cross First Aid certificate, hundreds of hours of practical teaching experience (including observed hours) and the confidence to go out into the TEFL world and follow their passion.
What support does your organisation provide for TEFL teachers?
Our Admissions Department offers full support during application process, providing information and visa support. When student teachers arrive on the course they meet the Welfare Department which is responsible for handling everything from accommodation checks and basic food packages to unexpected illnesses emergencies! The Welfare Department also runs the two week orientation at the beginning of the course where student teachers become familiar with the course structure, our active learning curriculum and Austrian culture.
Who are the TEFL teachers that you work with? Where are they from? What is their typical age?
We work with teachers from all over the English speaking world! Many come from the UK and US but we also have several candidates from Canada, Ireland, Australia and South Africa! Many are younger applicants who have recently finished their university studies, but we also have mature candidates join our course as well.
What are the requirements for someone to become a TEFL teacher with you?
To gain entry to our Trinity CertTESOL course, we require that our participants are:
- 18 years old
- Have qualifications that would allow them entry to a higher education institution in their home country
- Have a demonstrable interest in teaching and working with children, and in representing their home country as a cultural ambassador in Austria
- No formal experience is required, although applicants with non-traditional educational experience such as working at summer camp we generally find to be good candidates
What costs are involved for the teacher?
There is a €100 membership fee which is the only upfront fee associated with the course. There is a one-off €25 printing fee once Student Teachers are here to cover all their print-outs from the course (we have even installed printers in the accommodation for those late-night lesson planners!). We also have a €75 deposit, returned at the end of the course, for all the Student Teachers’ teaching materials, as well as their nifty English Teacher Training College polo shirts and a branded bag to keep it all in! Accommodation and basic food supplies are offered as well as transportation to and from schools. Travel expenses to and from Austria, leisure activities, and money for groceries and toiletries is up to the Student Teacher. We suggest the Student Teachers budget about 200 euro for each month on the course.
Does the teacher receive a salary or are they entitled to expenses? If so, what?
This is an unpaid opportunity, however based on 2016’s budget we worked out that the cost of putting each Student Teacher through the four month course is around €10,000. This is a huge value, including accommodation, food, training, qualifications, transport within Austria and wages for all the expert staff who are part of guiding the Student Teachers’ journeys to their professional qualifications.
How do the local community respond to your organisation and the TEFL teachers that you employ?
The ABCi initiative is hugely popular within Austria and demand from schools in the country for our programme and our fun, active native-speaking teachers grows year on year. We often hear that we are the first native-speaking teachers, sometimes even the first native-speaking people, to visit schools and the local children (and teachers!) really enjoy expanding their horizons and ideas about the English speaking world.
What do your TEFL teachers typically go on to do after their TEFL experience?
95% of our graduates who have responded to us tell us that they are in an education-related job or further study programme within 3 months of graduating from the English Teacher Training College. Graduates go on to do DELTA or DipTESOL qualifications, PGCEs, MA TESOLs, go into teaching in state school, for non-profits or for private language schools worldwide. Many even enjoy their time here so much they stay on at the English Teacher Training College and take up internships or full-time positions within our organisation.
What would you say is the best part about being a TEFL teacher?
The best part of being a TEFL teacher for me is that no two days, no two lessons, are ever the same. You might have the same basic material to teach each week, month or course, but because of the different students you have and your continual development as a teacher, it never gets a chance to be a dull profession.
Are there any disadvantages/negative aspects? If so, what?
Days can start early and end late, especially if you are teaching privately where students attend your English lessons before or after school/college/work. If you are not an early bird becoming a TEFL teacher will change that for you!
What do your TEFL teachers typically do in their free time?
Student Teachers on our course spend their free time Skyping relatives back home telling them how much they’re learning; experiencing the lively cities and beautiful countryside of Austria; taking advantage of our location in the centre of Europe to visit our neighbouring countries for the weekend; some sensible ones even catch up on sleep!
What is the typical duration for a TEFL teacher to work with you?
Our courses are currently four months, with this increasing to six months come our new all-singing all-dancing course beginning August 28th. This course will allow Student Teachers to work on gaining their Trinity CertTESOL AND Cambridge CELT-P qualifications, leading to even more vital practical classroom experience.
Are you a for-profit or non-profit organisation?
We are a registered Austrian non-profit, listed under the ZVR number 249983245. If you wish, you can check out our founding documents at http://zvr.bmi.gv.at/Start
Is it clear to the TEFL teacher where the money they spend ends up?
As a non-profit, all the money we receive goes right back into the organisation! The €100 College membership fee is made very clear to the Student Teachers, and with the amount of essays, fun activities and active lesson plans they print off over the span of their course, they would agree that their €25 printing fee is an absolute bargain!
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
We accept applications for our €10,000 value scholarships and places on our Trinity CertTESOL and Cambridge CELT-P courses on a rolling basis. If all this sounds interesting to you or anyone you know, check out our website at https://www.english-teacher-college.at/ and start your new TEFL adventure today!