When you choose to become a TEFL teacher, your students wouldn't just be a group of teenagers preparing for their college or adults improving their language skills in search of better jobs, but at times could include young kids right out of their diapers and precocious turnips hiding chalk and making rockets out of paper.
Sure, you could choose to not deal with young learners and retain your sanity by just teaching adults but then you'll be missing out on one of the most exciting learning experiences of your TEFL career.
Keep in mind that teaching for young learners is a specialization and is quite lucrative as well. TEFL teachers capable of handling young kids are highly in demand, with a number of schools struggling due to a woeful shortage of qualified teachers. This demand means, you can juggle two or more schools at the same time and earn quite a bit as a side income.
Even if the money isn't incentive enough, the evolution and development of your skills as a side effect of your experience alone ought to be worth a fortune.
To keep a classroom full of kids with short attention span interested in your subject requires you to juggle everything you've learned with innovative ideas and in depth class planning. You can't talk about liberty to a class obsessed with dinosaurs, can you?
The composition of your class plays a role as well, with you facing a boisterous motley of 4 year olds one day and 'too big for the chair' 12 year olds the next. So you need to tailor your approach differently to reach them.
One of the biggest differences between teaching kids and adults comes in the form of addressing objectives of the class. With adults, one is usually focusing on the practical aspects of the lesson and how they can use it in their daily life. With kids who've never gone to the bank and dutifully paint walls with crayons, your whole mindset ought to undergo a change.
This doesn't mean you patronize them, for though they maybe young, they score over adults with their unceasing imagination and rapacious desire to be active and try out a new activity. You'll find them making animal sounds during a lesson on pond animals and connecting it with their mammalian friends.
You also start using subtle ideas to imprint the English language into the kids minds such as planting words and lessons as a part of a treasure hunt, or throwing a grammar party, rather than pointing at the title "phrasal verbs" in a power point presentation to half asleep adults. Even if you move into a distant field in your career path, this kind of learning and experience can greatly aid in all aspects of your work and life.
Sure, young learners may not be focused or knowledgeable as adults and could get on your nerves at times, but the joy and fun you have in teaching them is unsurpassed. Everyday is a trip to a magic wonderland, and lessons are made with your imagination, unleashing the creative prowess within you.
Kids are also very open, in a way few adults are and you have an unique opportunity to mould their minds, and steer them to their passion. There's enough time for them, and for you, to grow up, but for now maybe a 100m sprint with a 7 year old and her pet dinosaur might just be what you need to crack a smile.