Myth #1: You must relocate in order to teach
While it is true that many TEFL opportunities are outside America and other English-speaking countries, this does not necessarily mean that there is a dearth of teaching positions in your area. People learn English for a variety of reasons, including a new arrival in an English-speaking country.
If you live in an urban area, there are likely adult learning facilities, cultural centers, and other organizations that help immigrants acclimate to their new homes. This is a great way to begin a TEFL career without traveling overseas.
If you live in a very rural area, or an area without many opportunities, try searching for online teaching jobs. Many companies—both here and abroad—hire short- and long-term TEFL teachers, and your location will matter less than your internet connection.
Myth #2: You must be able to speak another language
When teaching English, it can be of some benefit to speak another language, but it is by no means a prerequisite. Many students come to English lessons with some level of prior skill, which they hope to strengthen. Moreover, there is no guarantee that you will be teaching a class in which everyone speaks the same language. For these reasons, you should primarily be able to speak English well, and you should have the ability and patience to teach it to others.
Myth #3: You must teach children
When most people hear the word “teacher,” they picture an individual teaching children. But there are many adults who, for various reasons, need or wish to learn English—and this means that you have options when it comes to choosing who you teach.
If the idea of teaching children does not appeal to you, there are many places that cater to adult learners at various levels. For example, if you would like to teach business professionals, foreign companies may have opportunities for such a teacher. Similarly, if you would like to help adult refugees learn English, there are plenty of opportunities in cities around the world where you can do so.
Myth #4: TEFL is not “real” teaching
For some people, the idea of teaching English as a foreign language can seem like a paraprofessional or temporary job. While there are part- and short-term positions in this field, teaching English is in fact no different than teaching any other subject, and there is thus no reason to view it as being different from any other teaching position.
Teaching English as a foreign language can be a life-long, rewarding career. Regardless of whether or not you ultimately make it your career, TEFL requires the same commitment and passion that one puts towards any other teaching field.
David White is a contributing writer for UniversityTutor.com, the world's largest global marketplace for finding independent tutors.