Before You Decide to Become an ESL Teacher

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Becoming an ESL teacher offers a unique multi-cultural opportunity. Job benefits include international travel opportunities, multi-cultural training, and job satisfaction. One of the biggest advantages of getting a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) qualification is the chance to work abroad while thinking about what you really want to do. Of course, there are some negative aspects—including pay. Here is a guide to what to consider before deciding to become an ESL teacher.

How Much Opportunity?

Before deciding, it's best to understand the ESL/EFL teaching market. Put simply, there is a lot of demand for English teachers out there.

Getting up to Speed on the Basics

Getting informed also requires a certain amount of basic understanding about how ESL is taught to see if it's a right fit. These resources provide information on the general challenges you can expect, as well as standard ESL jargon.

Specific Teaching Areas

Once you understand the basics of ESL, you'll also want to consider the main areas you'll be responsible for teaching. The following articles discuss some of the core issues for grammar, conversation, and listening skills.

Choose Your Weapons

Now that you have a basic grasp of what you'll be teaching, it's time to learn a little about choosing your teaching materials as you'll be expected to develop your own lesson plans.

Take a Look at Some Lesson Plans

It's probably a good idea to take a look at some lesson plans to understand the process of teaching English to speakers of other languages. Lessons provide step-by-step instruction. They are representative of a number of free lesson plans you can find on this site:

There's More Than One Way to Teach

By now, you've probably noticed that there are a lot of materials to cover and a number of skills to learn. The next step in understanding this profession is to take a look at various ESL EFL teaching methodologies.

Pros and Cons

As in any field, it is important to first establish your objectives before working towards meeting your goals. The ESL/EFL field offers different levels of employment, from local classes given by volunteers, to fully accredited university ESL programs. Obviously the opportunities and required education for these different levels vary greatly.

Getting Qualified

If you've decided that teaching ESL is for you, then you'll want to get your teaching qualification. There are different levels, but these resources should help you find something that fits your career objectives. Basically, it boils down to this: if you would like to teach abroad for a few years, you'll need a TEFL certificate. If you would like to have a career in the profession, you'll have to get a Master's Degree.

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Your Citation
Beare, Kenneth. "Before You Decide to Become an ESL Teacher." ThoughtCo, Aug. 29, 2020, Beare, Kenneth. (2020, August 29). Before You Decide to Become an ESL Teacher. Retrieved from Beare, Kenneth. "Before You Decide to Become an ESL Teacher." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 21, 2023).