If you love the English language and want to help others master it as a second language, becoming an ESL teacher might be the right career path for you. Whether you’re changing careers or are just starting out, here’s what you need to know about teaching English as a second language.
How Teaching Has Changed
The ways to teach English has changed dramatically over the past few years. Previously, students were confined to a classroom where they were taught English on a rudimentary level. There wasn’t much in the way of real-life scenarios or topics that dealt with daily life. Lesson plans consisted of grammar basics, which as usual as these are, really didn’t give students the hands-on experience they were looking for.
When it comes to teaching English to others, lessons are completely different. While the core pillars of grammar remain the same, teachers are making lessons engaging and entertaining. As an ESL teacher, you can create lessons that your students enjoy and feel inspired by. You can also customize your lessons for each student’s needs and wants, so as to avoid teaching at the wrong level. For example, some ESL students might excel in grammar but not be able to hold conversations as well as they would like. Others, might speak relatively well but not fully understand the difference of verb tenses.
In most cases, you will need to hold at least a bachelor’s degree. That degree doesn’t necessarily have to be in English literature, but you should have a deep understanding of the English language and its grammatical principles. You also need to earn your TEFL or TSOL certification. This can be accomplished either in person or online.
Both certifications teach the methodology behind teaching non-English speaking learners. You also learn how to create lesson plans that address individual learning roadblocks and those often seen in group settings. To complete your certification online, all you need to do is find a program you feel comfortable with and sign up. Many certification programs offer payment options in which you can pay over time.
If you don’t have your bachelor’s yet, you can always consider going back to school. You can then choose a major that you want to study and apply. If you’re not sure you can afford it, you can take out a loan from a private lender. In addition to offering better repayment options, private lenders generally offer lower interest rates as well. You can learn more about student loans from private lenders on this site here in order to get started.
Benefits of Teaching
Teaching does more than give you a feeling of personal enrichment. Becoming an ESL teacher also opens the door for travel. It’s not uncommon to find teachers all over the globe. Some of the most popular countries to teach English is Japan, Italy, France and China. In addition to earning a regular paycheck, you might also have your housing costs covered or at the very least, pay a reduced rate.
Some teachers who choose to travel abroad stay with host families and work as an au pair. This means they live with their host family while teaching them or their children English. You can also choose to work in a traditional school setting. Another perk of going abroad is being able to live like a local. You get to do what you love and get to experience other cultures that you may not have been able to explore otherwise.
Whether you choose to remain local and teach online or go abroad, teaching offers job flexibility. Typically, teaching English online to foreigners means they’re in a completely time zone, so that gives the freedom to work in the evenings or on the weekend. If you do choose to travel, you can also set your own schedule and work on days you choose, unless you work in a school. Whether you work a set schedule or only a few select days is completely up to you. While teaching is not the only way to earn cash online, the flexibility of schedule is something that sets it apart from other options.
If you teach online, you can make between $15 and $26 hour. In fact, depending on your clientele, you could earn upwards of $35 to $40 per hour. This is seen most commonly in the corporate sector. If you work for a company, they could also offer perks and paid time off. Another positive is that the upfront cost of getting started is relatively low. Aside from having a stable internet and reliable computer, if you teach online, you can find a slew of free resources online to use. And if you teach in person, you can also print of free worksheets or lesson books for just about every skill level.
Further Your Career
Another major perk is that you gain valuable experience and skills that are transferable. If there comes a time when you prefer to teach in public schools or in a university setting, most employers see your previous experiences as a plus. You can even use your experience to teach others how to become a teacher.
Help Those in Need
Although you derive no monetary benefit, knowing you are helping others is rewarding. This is especially true if you work in a different country or with those who immigrate. Children are particularly delightful to work with since they are eager to learn and open to change. Working with adults can be equally rewarding, as long as they are willing to study and put in the work. Since children learn languages three times faster than adults, it is important to emphasize this from day one.
To do a job well, you need to be happy. So, if sitting in front of a computer all day makes you miserable, teaching English is a great option. Being able to interact with others, set your own hours and earn a good salary is what job satisfaction is all about. Finally, it’s also important to note that you don’t have to completely quit your full-time job until you’re ready. If you stay close to home, you can always work part-time until you feel confident enough to increase your hours.