Teaching English in Italy

Take Italy for example, where Italians are motivated more than ever to learn it and are often encouraged to do so by their employers. Thus, while it may appear to be a daunting task, learning to teach English as a second language can be an excellent way to gain valuable life and career experiences- not to mention to get you better acquainted with il bel paese.

Although teaching positions in Italy are not particularly high-paying, they are highly coveted due to the boundless and once-in-a-lifetime experience they reputably offer. Therefore, candidates should prepare for severe competition by completing their degrees from an accredited university and a CELTA, a certificate acquired after a one-month long study at the LSC in Toronto, which serves as an official University of Cambridge CELTA Training Centre. However, the website link tefl@britishinstitutes info may present alternatives to CELTA training in Toronto such as an online distance-learning program.

It is widely known that European standards for teachers of foreign languages are generally higher than those for positions in Korean or Chinese schools. It is possible, nevertheless, to land a remunerated summer stint with no completed degree from your alma mater, but an internationally-recognized TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate and “permesso di soggiorno” are absolutely mandatory for non-EU citizens. As much as many Italian language schools prefer British teachers, many persistent TEFL teachers effectively curtail this customary pretension. At McGill University, Oxford Seminars provide a free information session about teaching English as a second language and how to study and obtain a TEFL certificate (visit their website for their next session).

American and Canadian teachers are becoming increasingly popular abroad, but private language schools will not help them gain working visas. It is advised to apply for one before scanning TEFL-appropriate internet sites for job announcements. An interview is demanded once an employer decides to seriously consider a candidacy for the position. It is important to write a resume that sells you to employers and to present yourself in a way that conveys who you are and what you have to offer. A great TEFL teacher presents the many cognates existing between the two languages and insists that the learner commits irregular verbs in the simple past to memory. Animated lessons involving multi-media and homework assignments requiring the downloading of BBC podcasts and other free e-learning websites will provide learners with limitless avenues to learn English creatively and autonomously. Moreover, since many work contracts are written in Italian and are typically ten months for the extent of the regular school year or two months for summer sessions, the newly-hired should read them well before agreeing to the terms.

Italy’s diverse landscapes, culture, and history make it one of the most popular TEFL destinations in the world. But do your research, as conditions vary from the North to the South. Some teachers have revealed the poor conditions in the South; but, these regions also have their advantages. Cathy, as a classroom of adult learners affectionately addressed her four years ago, is one Canadian teacher who traded her sedentary office life for a TEFL certificate, and made her way to Southern Italy. In respect to salary she said: “Salaries earned there are not reduced proportionately to the lower overall cost of living as rent is relatively inexpensive so much so that it is almost half than that in Northern cities. This makes a huge difference if you are on a tight budget and are saving money for your sojourns to Puglia or Capri,” she reveals, adding that many schools provide furnished apartments, sparing TEFL teachers stress caused by apartment hunting. “I made sure that the language institution paid for my accommodation and part of my travel expenses, and had available on the school premises such resources as a multi-media room, photocopy machine, and library,” she expresses. “Although it was a long process to acquire the necessary documentation, the experience was positive and memorable. It is especially suitable for university graduates wishing to build their resumes and develop their teaching skills in a foreign setting, and for experienced teachers who shy away from complacency.”

Canadian teachers have a particular advantage over their British and American counterparts. Because of Canada’s geographical and cultural proximity to the United States, as well as its strong legal and cultural bonds with England, Canadians are familiar with the differences existing between British and American English. They can neutralize the British and American accents and serve as the by-product of and mediators for the linguistic variations enduring between the two nations.

For those Italo-Canadians wishing to reconcile their habitual oscillation between standard Italian and the regional dialect of their parents, lessons can certainly serve as a trade-off between instructing English and advancing your knowledge of Italian. Whether the learner is preparing for business acumen, or learning English to solicit directions when traveling abroad, TEFL teachers and learners alike have everything to gain from these endeavours.

Written by Mirella Ionta