Oxford TEFL Connect is our online community for ESL teachers who have qualified during the last twelve months or so. It is a way to continue developing your teaching, but without needing to worry about deadlines, assignments, project work etc. As we will see, the platform includes a range of training and support opportunities. Members can simply pick and choose from these depending on their goals, needs and professional circumstances. At a cost of just €10 per month, membership is great value. It’s also becoming well-established: Oxford TEFL Connect recently celebrated its first birthday and over 80 members have passed through our – virtual! – doors. Read on for all you need to know…
Who’s Oxford TEFL Connect for?
Oxford TEFL Connect was created for those who (fairly) recently qualified from a CELTA course or equivalent, and aren’t yet ready to say goodbye to the support that was offered during their studies. Applicants needn’t be Oxford TEFL graduates though. In fact, any relatively inexperienced TEFL teachers are likely to benefit from signing up. For example, those who:
- Are looking to boost your employability by undertaking ongoing professional development activities.
- Have started work and feel that they have been ‘thrown in at the deep end’ and aren’t receiving the support they need from Managers, Directors of Studies etc.
- Are teaching a new type of class for the first time (e.g. Young Learners, Business English, Cambridge Preparation), and don’t know how to get started.
- Need advice about finding a job, earning a better salary, working for yourself etc.
- Are working in a small school or mostly online and don’t regularly have the chance to interact with other TEFL teachers.
- Miss the sense of community they enjoyed while studying for CELTA.
- Aren’t recent graduates, but are returning to TEFL after a long break.
You may also find Oxford TEFL Connect membership a convenient and affordable way to provide professional development opportunities for your team. Are you a Director of Studies or Academic Manager? The platform provides a range of flexible training in various areas depending on the needs of each employee.
So, what exactly is Oxford TEFL Connect?
What does Oxford TEFL Connect include?
One reason we are especially proud of Oxford TEFL Connect is the sheer range of different training and support opportunities on offer. Each month, members have access to the following:
1 x 1-hour dynamic workshops live via Zoom
This is a live event, meaning that our members can join the session in real time. They will participate in interactive discussions, games and other tasks. It is also a chance to conntect with other TEFL teachers. These sessions are delivered by our expert tutors (more about them later), and will be on a different topic each month to ensure there’s something for everyone. Naturally, we select these topics in response to trainee feedback and based on our experience of working with new TEFL teachers. Topics covered so far include motivating young learners online, gamifying pronunciation, selecting appropriate materials for your students and many more. Remember that members also have access to recordings of these sessions (over 40 so far!) This means you can always watch or rewatch later on.
3 x 30 minute webinars on our platform
Like with the workshops, we save these to a library and can be watched at any time. In this case, the tutor delivers a kind of mini-lecture. They explain a particular methodology, game, idea etc. and present practical suggestions of how teachers might use these in their lessons. Again, a wide range of topics has been covered already and this is growing all the time. Struggling with classroom management? There’s sure to be a recorded webinar. Do your Cambridge preparation classes seem rather dry? Our webinars have ideas to liven them up while maintaining quality. Whatever issue you are facing, Oxford TEFL Connect is bound to have something to help.
1 x 30 minute coaching session
Being a new TEFL teacher can sometimes feel rather lonely. In an ideal situation, you will have a wonderful boss and large team of friendly colleagues who are generous with their time. The reality is often slightly different. Especially in these socially distanced times, it’s more likely than ever that you will be teaching at least partly online. It may, therefore, be more difficult to ask advice from Directors of Studies or Senior Teachers as recent graduates did in the past. This is where our coaching sessions can come in very handy.
You can sign up for a coaching session by answering a basic questionnaire about the type of support you need. We will then pair you up with a member of our experienced tutoring team. After this, you will have a 30-minute private Zoom session. During this time, you can ask any questions you might have. Your tutor will also have prepared ideas to share, resources you can use etc. For instance, a trainee struggling to find work would probably consult our Careers Advisor, Justin McCarty. Someone who wants advice about Business English may work with Moira Shiganga, and so on.
Access to all past webinars and workshops
As we’ve said, the option to consult our extensive library makes Oxford TEFL Connect especially good value for money, and means it’s highly likely you’ll find what you are looking for. To date, we have 23 workshops and 18 webinars, with more being added all the time!
Access to our bank of resources and articles
Oxford TEFL has been providing teacher training since 1998. During this time, we have learnt a great deal about the kind of resources teachers are looking for. Naturally, we seek out materials that are interactive, engaging, adaptable, accurate and so on. Finding these can be rather time-consuming, and as a new teacher you may not always trust your judgement regarding how suitable any new resources are. Never fear! Oxford TEFL Connect membership includes a bank of links, reading materials, blog posts etc. to help you along the way.
Access to teacher development resources
Here, we have collated our favourite teacher development resources. Our bank of articles, blog posts, podcasts and more is available to all Oxford TEFL Connect members. We will also keep you posted about live events you might be interested in. These range from one-off free webinars to conferences, workshops and more. Just the ticket if you’re looking for even more development opportunities!
Who are the key people with Oxford TEFL Connect?
The Coordinator for Oxford TEFL Connect is Kate Williams. Having worked in various countries worldwide and with prior experience of being a Director of Studies, Kate is the ideal person to support our Oxford TEFL Connect members as they begin and develop their careers. She also works as Coordinator for our Developing Teacher with Spanish Course, meaning that she is very much aware of the challenges and rewards for inexperienced teachers.
“Although the CELTA course leaves graduates well-prepared to begin teaching English, many feel that they would appreciate some additional ongoing support. In creating Oxford TEFL Connect, I wanted to grow a community that provided this and brought teachers together, but without the demands of assignments and deadlines. Refining the platform over the course of its first year, I feel that we have now settled on the winning formula, and our trainees overwhelmingly tell us they are very pleased with what’s on offer.”Kate Williams, Oxford TEFL Connect Coordinator
The beauty of Oxford TEFL Connect is in the way it brings together professionals from all over the world. This doesn’t only apply to our members – we are also able to draw upon our large bank of experienced teachers, tutors, and trainers. This means that our workshops and webinars are delivered by experts in the field, and our coaching participants can be paired with whoever is most qualified to help. It would be impossible to mention everyone who has contributed to Oxford TEFL Connect here, but this quote from one of our more frequent contributors gives you a good idea:
“It has been my pleasure to contribute workshops and webinars to Oxford TEFL Connect. I have really enjoyed sharing my specialised knowledge with less experienced teachers, and it is rewarding to receive messages from attendees saying how useful they found the session. Having been a Coach on several occasions, and have seen first-hand how much new TEFL teachers can benefit from talking through their concerns with someone who’s been in the industry a long time. I wish I had had something similar when I first started out!”– Damian Szerszen, Tutor and Coach, Oxford TEFL Connect.
How do I sign up?
As we have seen, one of the great things about Oxford TEFL Connect is the fact that you can sign up for a rolling €10 per month. This means you are free to cancel at any time, providing yet more flexibility. All you need to do is click here. If you have any questions before or after signing up, you can contact Kate at [email protected] – she’s always more than happy to help!
How can I keep developing after Oxford TEFL Connect?
Oxford TEFL Connect is designed to provide you with a helping hand during your first 12 months of your teaching career. As you gain experience, you may well feel that you are ready to begin specialising in one or more specific areas of TEFL. If so, there are several options:
These dynamic, hands-on sessions give you lots of practical ideas you can put into practice straight away. These could be taken during or after your membership of Oxford TEFL Connect and are a great way to demonstrate to employers that you are taking professional development seriously. You can choose from Teaching Young Learners, Teaching Business English, or, new for 2022, Teaching Cambridge Exam Classes. Whichever you go for, you will be provided with a quality digital certificate to boost your TEFL CV.
If you’re looking for a more in-depth course that will let you specialise in your chosen area, this may well be the right option for you. These 30-hour courses are extremely flexible. They can be started any Friday of the year and completed over 3 or 6 weeks. Through a combination of self-study and one-on-one tutor support, you will learn everything you need to know about Teaching Teens, Teaching IELTS, Teaching Online, and many others. Again, a digital certificate is included for you to show to potential employers.
After teaching for at least two years, many TEFL teachers go on to study for the Trinity DipTESOL. This is an advanced teaching qualification which opens the doors to academic management, materials writing, teacher training and more. If you’ve enjoyed using your membership of Oxford TEFL Connect to learn about the different specialisms within TEFL, you might well appreciate the challenges and opportunities offered by the Diploma course.
It can be a sensible idea to use your final coaching session to get some advice from one of our tutors about how to keep developing. A member of our team would be more than happy to help you get an action plan in place to ensure you are able to maintain your professional growth.
As you can tell, we are very proud of what Oxford TEFL has become! We feel that we have achieved our initial goal of creating a low-cost one-stop-shop for TEFL teachers who’d appreciate some additional support. The team is looking foward to seeing what developments will take place over our second year. We hope that you will join us on that journey!