I’m Finally Getting TEFL Certified


Let me introduce you to fourteen-year-old Seattle. She just started high school in the middle-of-nowhere small town Ontario, and already wants nothing more than to leave. Her plan of escape comes in the form of literally sitting down one day and hand drawing an eight year timeline which includes high school graduation, various international exchanges, a University degree, and–her personal favourite–obtaining a TEFL certificate at the end of it all to go teach English in a faraway land.

Now, let me introduce twenty-three-year-old Seattle, whose eight year timeline has already seeped into nearly ten, and whose plans are clearly shifting into—albeit exciting—very different realities.

High school? Check. International exchanges? Check & check. University? Check. TEFL? …Enter the excitingly distracting, all-consuming world of travel blogging, i.e. putting off the TEFL certification indefinitely.

14 seattlestravels.com

And then there was the time I said I would at least get it before turning twenty-five. Easy right? That didn’t happen either.

Ohh.. what a silly girl I was, getting caught up in the jet-setting lifestyle and fickly putting my personal goals on the sideline. And, what do I have to show for it? Incredible memories and a strong resume of unbelievable adventures, sure. But, I’m still sitting on an even more impressive pile of student loans that I’d personally like to take care of in the next few years.

So now, at the age of 26, I am finally going to get my TEFL certificate, and I couldn’t be happier.


I enrolled myself in the University of Toronto’s TEFL online 120 hour course. Yes, I actually did it—I made that first step, and I am officially a TEFL student. I spent a great deal of time researching the best programs and ultimately decided on UofT, for a number of reasons;

  1. Quality
  2. Accessibility
  3. Self-pace
  4. Job placement

The 120 hour course is made up of six core course units, plus two additional units of elective specialization, and a job placement program upon graduating.

The course reviews were the best I found, and the prospect of not having to stress myself out with finding a job in the end made me a very happy girl.


I suppose one of the reasons I kept putting it off before was because I was never available to be in one place for an extended period of time, meaning I wouldn’t be able to sit through a month’s worth of classes in Toronto. However, the UofT online course is perfect for a traveller like myself, as I can access course work and complete assignments from anywhere in the world, whether it be from my laptop, or even my cell phone.

Not only that, but I can do it at my own pace. I’m going to start my course this month (June), but if I end up making last minute travel arrangements in July, I can simply put a hold on it until I return and continue working again when I’m ready. Not that I’ll need that long, but I have a full year to complete my course. Given that I’m still working as a full time writer and social media manager throughout this process, it’s pretty comforting to know that I’m not going to run out of time. I’m setting a goal to complete it by the end of this summer, but will make room to work into the Fall.


I’m also going to be sharing each step of the process on my blog, because I know that this is something that a lot of my readers will be interested in, and in the end, create a guide to getting TEFL certified.

Wish me luck as I start my course next week, and expect to see more TEFL posts soon.

Oh my God, I just realized… I’m a student again!


I’m Finally Getting TEFL Certified: Part 1
Getting TEFL Certified Part 2: Taking the Course


Have you gone through the TEFL certification process?
Any tips for me?

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32 Responses to “I’m Finally Getting TEFL Certified”

  1. Chris
    June 7, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    Hi Seattle, just saw a link to your blog from UofT’s Facebook page. Congrats on signing up, and best of luck, though, to be honest, it’s quite an easy course (I just finished mine yesterday). My suggestion is to do it on two computers, one with the course open and the other to take notes, and to do the reflection journals and exams as soon as you’re done the module, that way the info is still fresh.

    Again, though, based on what I’ve read above from you, you’ll have zero trouble with any of the assignments, and you will in fact learn a lot of useful information. Best of luck!

    • Seattle Dredge
      June 7, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

      Hi Chris, thanks! That’s interesting to hear.. I hope it’s not TOO easy, but I’m relieved that it won’t be difficult. And, thanks for the tips. Is it not possible to switch between windows on the same computer? How long did it take you to finish, and how many hours per day did you do? Sorry for all the questions, haha :]

    • Ian
      August 11, 2017 at 12:36 pm #

      Just curious how long did it take you to complete?

  2. Karin Ronde
    June 8, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

    Really happy for you that you are doing this, I remember a lot of our days in first year were spent discussing cruise ships, TEFL and the places we were going to go. Wishing you lots of luck (and that it takes you a long time to finish it so I can see you more before you leave to start your teaching adventures!) 😛

    • Seattle Dredge
      June 8, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

      Hehe, well we certainly both went places, either way! But, it’s finally time to get the TEFL done. Don’t worry, I don’t think I’ll leave until the end of the year.. plenty of time to annoy you still, and then you’ll just have to come visit me 😀


  3. Carolinne
    June 8, 2014 at 8:54 pm #

    I am about a third of the way through my 150hour course. I take notes by hand, don’t do the two computer thing, it seems like cheating. Have been teaching a few years now and so know how useful a lot of the content is. Good luck.

    • Seattle Dredge
      June 8, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

      Hi Caroline, great to hear. I wondered if that was cheating some how, haha.. but I haven’t started yet to know exactly what he meant by that. Guess I’ll figure it out this week. I do prefer taking notes by hand anyway :] Thank-you!

  4. karla attikoski
    June 8, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

    Congratulations! That is something I always considered. perhaps it is still an option. looking forward to seeing more.

    • Seattle Dredge
      June 8, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

      Of course it’s still an option! I hope you decide to do it.

  5. Magda
    June 9, 2014 at 9:32 am #

    I’ll be purchasing the 150-hour course today! I plan on studying 8 hours a day, but we’ll see!

    • Seattle Dredge
      June 9, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

      Wow, okay you’re way more ambitious than me, haha. That’s awesome though, good luck on your studies! You’ll have to let me know how it turns out for you :]

      • Magda
        June 9, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

        lol Thanks! Same to you! Do you know where you’d like to teach?
        Magda recently posted..How to Choose the Right Translator

        • Seattle Dredge
          June 9, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

          My original hope was to head to the Middle East (UAE or Qatar) to conquer some student loans right off the bat, but it seems that those all require 2+ years experience. So, possibly South Korea, China or Philippines to start. What about you?

    • Carolinne
      June 28, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

      Hi Magda,
      I am working through the 150-hour course as well. I am up to Unit 5, how are you finding it?

  6. Magda
    June 9, 2014 at 6:57 pm #

    Cool! I’d love to teach in Dubai next year or the year after. The pay truly is great in the Middle East. Out of the three places you mentioned, South Korea pays the best (from what I’ve seen.) I’ve already started applying for positions in South Korea *crosses fingers*.

    • Seattle Dredge
      June 9, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

      Same! Haha. Yeah, I figure South Korea is where I’ll end up, at least for the first year, but it’s nice to keep an open mind. Good luck on the jobs you applied for 😀

  7. Sarah
    June 9, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

    I took a TESOL online course about five years ago, as well.

    One snag which I encountered was, at least for jobs in Canada, that the course needed to be Ontario certified or have a certain number of in-class hours. Unfortunately because mine was online, I couldn’t fill that requirement.

    However, that has only been an issue here in Ontario, not with the worldwide teaching jobs I have had for the past four years!

    Good luck!
    Sarah recently posted..The Art of Getting Your Shit Together

    • Seattle Dredge
      June 9, 2014 at 9:42 pm #

      Oh, that’s interesting, I’d never heard of anything like that before. I’m glad you were still able to teach abroad though! I don’t plan on teaching in Canada, so I don’t think it’ll be an issue for me, but still good to know, thanks :]

  8. Kassandra
    June 12, 2014 at 1:12 am #

    Just curious, what made you decide to teach English abroad? Are you still planning to travel and write on your blog when you teach? Good luck on your class!(:

    • Seattle Dredge
      June 12, 2014 at 6:25 am #

      Well, as you read, it’s something I decided when I was young–even before I was 17. I found a flyer for classes one day, did a little research and there was no going back. It sounded like the perfect job that meant I could live in another country, travel around the world and put my insane grammar/spelling correction tendencies to good use. Of course I will continue to travel and blog as I teach. Travel writing/photography is what I want to do ultimately, but I can do both at the same time :]

  9. Audrey
    June 12, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

    I’ll pipe in here and say that South Korea is a really great choice for first time teachers! 🙂 It’s one of the highest paying countries in Asia and they offer a lot of benefits. I was able to pay off all my students loans after a year of teaching there. Also, I have a friend who just finished the very same program you’re doing and she said it was a breeze. All the best!

    • Seattle Dredge
      June 13, 2014 at 11:12 am #

      Awesome! Thanks, it’s good to hear all of that. You’ve made me more hopeful that I can conquer these dreaded student loans and that it won’t be too difficult to finish the course. Do you have any suggestions of where to teach in South Korea (whether it be where you taught, or somewhere you heard was the best)?

  10. Robert
    June 25, 2014 at 9:09 am #

    That’s awesome, congrats!! I started the TESOL but never used it as plans changed. It can always come in useful if you do need to use it at some point! Best of luck!

    • Seattle Dredge
      July 14, 2014 at 10:54 am #

      Thanks! Yeah, I think I’ll probably use it for a couple years now, and then get back to it after another few years of travel writing. Plans are always changing!

  11. Amanda
    July 9, 2014 at 10:33 pm #

    Hi Seattle!

    Curious to know how you are liking U of T’s TEFL Certificte 120-hour courses? I am thinking about enrolling! Thanks 🙂

    • Seattle Dredge
      July 14, 2014 at 11:04 am #

      Hi Amanda, we already had a conversation on Facebook, but I’m going to paste my reply here, just in case other readers are wondering the same thing 🙂

      Seattle: You should definitely enrol! I’m not too far along yet, but I’m already loving it. It’s pretty easy, you can do it at your own pace, and I’ve had no problems doing it while on the road.

      Amanda: Awesome! Glad to hear it’s pretty easy Do you feel that you will prepared to teach and have no issue getting a job abroad with just the certificate?! I fear getting the certificate and then not being qualified enough with it to get a job!

      Seattle: Well, U of T has the benefit of TeachAway, which will help find a placement for you upon graduation. Obviously you will be less prepared in a sense of not having hands on practise that you might get in a classroom situation, but I think the real practise comes in your first few weeks of teaching anyway. And, that’s what training is for once you arrive at your placement :]

      Thanks for your questions, Amanda!

  12. Emily
    August 6, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

    Hello! I’m in my 2nd year of high school, could I still take the course or do you have to be 18 years or older? I’m thinking about being an ESL teacher when I get older 🙂

    TEFL and TESOL were the courses you mentioned…. do you have a preference? Do in-class hours matter still? And is it possible to take them not only online but in-class too?

    😛 Sorry for all the questions

  13. Emily
    August 6, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

    Hello! I’m in my 2nd year of high school, could I still take the course or do you have to be 18 years or older? I’m thinking about being an ESL teacher when I get older 🙂

    TEFL and TESOL were the courses you mentioned…. do you have a preference? Do in-class hours matter still? And is it possible to take them not only online but in-class too?

    Sorry for all the questions

  14. Racheal Lizzy Briggs
    August 20, 2014 at 5:33 am #

    Congratulations on getting started with your TEFL career! I decided to do my 150 hour course here in the UK instead of the 120 hour just for the peace of mind. Ultimately Teaching English has been very rewarding and one of the best career changes that I could have opted for!!

    I used the TEFL Org UK job centre (http://www.tefl.org.uk/tefl-jobs/) to find my first job placement, a summer camp teaching 5-9 year old children in Normandy,France, and have never looked back. In the last year I have been over to Bogotga,Columbia and found both staff members and pupils exceedingly welcoming.

    Once again I hope you have great fun with your TEFL career 😀

  15. Ally
    February 28, 2015 at 7:27 am #

    Congratulations. You’re my new inspiration in my own TEFL journey.

  16. Stephany
    October 23, 2016 at 5:09 pm #

    Hi Seattle!
    I started the same course about a month ago. Im curious as to how you are doing withthe tefl certification?

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