PGCE sufficient?

Hello, I'm a UK qualified teacher and have taught primary school age children for over 20 years. I have an honours degree in English, and a PGCE qualification. Is this sufficient to apply for TEFL jobs abroad? I'm thinking of proper schools rather than the more back packer/gap year type experience... that sounds wrong, I hope you know what I mean! Would it be best to try and get a TEFL qualification? If so, which one?  I do hope someone can enlighten me as too much googling has left me very confused! I find most info seems to be aimed at the very young and newly graduated with no teaching experience. I think I must be a late developer. :)

mairiisla's picture

Hi, it really depends on the institution, country and needs.Often if you have such qualifications as yours many would not require you to have a TEFL cert.I did the Trinity College London Cert TESOL; many of the participants were qualified teachers who had been working for many years.  The majority of the class was in their mid fifties.Many people chose to take the Cert TESOL as they felt they needed a refresher course before pursuing TEFL jobs.This was the 4 weeks intensive course.  Some after completion came to the conclusion that perhaps after all TESOL was not the road they should go down.I guess as confirmation to yourself if you do the course and you love it then TESOL is the way for you.  However if you do the course and hate it then there is no real loss as you haven't signed any contracts with schools overseas, or worse ended up in a place/situation that you really don't feel comfortable in.The two main TESOL certs are:Trinity College London Cert TESOL - briefly covers YLhttp://www.trinitycollege.co.uk/Cambridge CELTA http://www.cambridgeesol.org/exams/celta/index.htmlGood luck!

Shakhnoza's picture

Hello! I'm a student and I'm learning English. Could you help me please, I've got a problem with one sentence. I don't know what ending to choose: "There is neither gas nor electricity in this city, ... "(is there or isn't there?) Which rule to follow

swh's picture

What countries are you thinking of working in? If you are interested in China, let's get in contact then.Our school is a middle school specializing in Foreign Language teaching.

Sykie's picture

I would say: "There is neither gas nor electricity in this city, is there?". As for the reasoning, if your main clause contains a negative connector (i.e. 'neither'), the tag question which follows is normally positive (i.e. 'is'). This would work the other way around too: "There is both gas and electricity in this city, isn't there?". Here you can see that the main clause contains a the positive connectors ('both', 'and'), and so it would sound most natural to have the negative tag question ('isn't there').This is called opposit polarity tag questions and more information can be found here (pages 7-10):http://www.cambridge.org/other_files/downloads/esl/tge/TGE-Chapter4.pdf

Heath's picture

Hi Rachel,

This is well too late, I know, but in case other people are asking the same question; here are my thoughts on the matter (of PGCE vs TEFL, not of that grammar question that popped up about tag questions).

As with any subject area, TEFL is a specialist field that a good teacher needs to be familiar with. In this way it is no different from teaching science, history, or geography, each of which neither a PGCE nor an English humanities degree prepares you for specifically either. It's true that TEFL is unique in that everyone who can speak English already knows something about it, making it possible to teach it to some degree without any real grounding. However, it's also unique in ways that make it more challenging to teach than other subjects - the main problem being that the medium of teaching (English language) is also what is being taught. So, for example, you can't just 'explain' something in English, because learners might not have the English to understand the explanation in the first place, and so on.

If you wanted to back-pack or gap-year, I'd still recommend some kind of TEFL qualification (eg. a 40hr online course); but if you're serious about working in proper schools, then I'd recommend at least an accredited 120hr certificate course (eg. the Cambridge CELTA or the Trinity Cert TESOL).

Such courses are aimed at new (second or foreign) language teachers. But they are equally accessible to people of any age group; cover amazing ground; and will leave you greatly impressed by how much you can develop and learn in a short, 4-week intensive course. I've worked (as a tutor/trainer on such courses) with PGCE qualified teachers, people in their 60s starting a new career, TEFL teachers with 10+ years experience but no formal qualifications, etc, and all have found a CELTA course helped them greatly. I've even heard of people with previous undergraduate or bachelor degrees specifically in TESOL taking the CELTA and finding it extremely beneficial.

Check out Cambridge ESOL's website to download the syllabus if you're still unsure.

Kind regards,


Sylvestrecappel's picture

Hello! Could anyone please tell me whether the Trinity Tesol is as well thought of as the Celta? Do language schools prefer one of the qualifications to the other? And are there major différences between the two courses? Thanks for your help.
Sophieliyi's picture

Dear Rachel,

I think your experience is more important than the TEFL qualification. Most of my clients want qualified teachers, and the TEFL is a certificate to prove a candidate has finished training to be a English teacher. However, someone recevied training doesn't mean he/she could be a good teacher, and as your rich experience, that is much more convincing that you will be qualified as a teacher.

I have successfully persuaded my clients who required a TEFL to hire experienced teacher without a certificate like you. And currently I'm still looking for experience teachers, especially primary school teachers or kidgarden teachers for Chinese schools with attractive salary paid. If you or any of your friends would be interested, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best Regards,

PhoebeYeok's picture

Well, hello everyone!I am an English teacher from Malaysia, teaching in an Indian estate located far from the main town of Kapar. I find that this unique website is very interesting in acquiring general knowledge about English Language teaching. I am able to connect to teachers from many different countries. Thus, it this creates a powerful networking site for people around the world.