An ESL teacher is responsible for instructing non-native English speaking students. An ESL teacher’s duties may include assisting students with speaking, reading, and writing in English.
Teachers may also have the opportunity to educate students about the culture of English-speaking countries like the United States.
If you have considered this opportunity, here are some guidelines on how to prepare for and find an ESL teaching position.
An ESL teaching job can be a fascinating opportunity. An estimated 250,000 English speakers head abroad to teach English in more than one hundred countries around the globe each year.
These positions offer a unique chance for international travel, multi-cultural training, and job satisfaction. Not to mention, the job outlook for ESL teachers is very good. Most statistical information points toward continued growth in this field.
ESL teaching positions are great for those under twenty-five with a more flexible lifestyle. A lot of college graduates are opting for these positions as an opportunity for time to settle upon a career path, and/or decide on attending graduate school.
If you think an ESL teaching position might be a good option, you need to evaluate the educational requirements, research the various opportunities, and decide whether this lifestyle is a good fit.
It would help if you also considered the pros and cons of teaching and living abroad. While there are many pros involved in teaching abroad, like immersing yourself into a new culture, gaining invaluable work experience, and growing your international Rolodex, there can be some disadvantages.
Most of these positions are fairly low paying positions. It would help if you considered the cost of travel and the cost of setting up once you arrive. The work can be strenuous, and you may experience some loneliness or culture shock.
You will most definitely need a bachelor’s degree in preferably education or English, in terms of education. The minimum educational requirement is a four-year degree. Some employers, however, may prefer an ESL teacher with a graduate degree.
You will also need to obtain a certification in ESL teaching. Several different programs are available both in the classroom and online. Make sure to carefully evaluate the certification course you are considering ensuring it is a quality program.
When you decide to pursue an ESL teaching position, you should probably allow yourself about six months to complete your certification, research various countries, apply and interview for jobs, obtain a Visa, and make travel arrangements.
With jobs available in many countries around the world, you will have a lot of options to research. When researching the country, you would like to teach; you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I meet the minimum educational requirements?
- Does this country requires a Visa? If so, do I have time to get one?
- Do I need inoculations, or does the country have other health requirements?
- Does the average salary in this country work with my lifestyle?
- What is the social, political, and economic climate in this country? How will this affect me?
- Does this country appeal to me? Can I imagine myself living there for some time?
There are several ways to find an ESL teaching position. If you have previously traveled abroad, you can tap into these contacts for job leads. Social Media is another great way to track down job prospects.
Communicate with ESL teachers already overseas by following them on blogs, forums, Facebook, and Twitter. Tap into a job search advisor at your college, if one is available. There are also many job websites available for those looking for ESL teaching positions.
Once you are offered a position, make sure to have a clear idea of your work responsibilities. If you’re hired through a company, you may want to research the reputation of this company online. It is also a good idea to have one to two months of living expenses saved as you won’t receive a paycheck immediately after starting your new position.
An ESL teaching opportunity can truly be a great experience with opportunities to travel to exciting new places, gain invaluable experience to add to your resume, and positively influence many students’ lives.
The most important aspect of obtaining an ESL teaching position is research, research, research.
Tap into the knowledge and experience of anyone you know who has experience teaching abroad. As St. Augustine said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”