How to become an ESL teacher
There’s no denial when I say that teaching is a incredibly precious job, especially ESL Teaching! Most English teachers love their job, Although it may be a rocky road at times, most of the TEFL journey will be full of fun, adventure and exciting students and you can absolutely be a part of it! So if you want to know how to become an ESL teacher, Then this article is most definitely for you.
You made an Excellent Choice!
So you have decided to become an ESL teacher, That’s Great news for you and an excellent career choice as well, especially because this is the golden age for ESL teaching! You can make a good amount of money without dragging yourself to school every morning if you choose to teach ESL online,
Or if you choose to become an ESL teacher abroad, then you will find yourself with a ton of incredible financial and personal benefits at your disposal as well, You will truly feel the adventurous Feeling once you start teaching students English onsite abroad and the students will absolutely LOVE you!
Both teaching ESL Online and abroad have their own unique benefits and bonuses, some ESL teachers might like to work from the comfort of home(or work and travel), while others love the adventure of teaching Students onsite in a foreign country, both are amazing opportunities! and the choice is in your hands.
The good, the bad & the ugly of being An ESL Teacher
Okay.. maybe there is no Ugly… But Once you become an ESL teacher, you will encounter a ton of happiness, excitement & some nervousness and sometimes you may even feel some anxiety and sometimes frustration, But it’s part of the adventure as well and most ESL teachers will endure it, even the most experienced ones!
Since you have just made your first steps and started researching about becoming an ESL teacher, you might find it intimidating or even scary at some point, But trust me, you will feel good about making this decision once you’re on your way and your adventure gets started.
So don’t be afraid, trust in your decision start the most amazing adventure in your life.
Throughout this article we will be discussing these 5 topics:
- The requirements for ESL teaching
- What happens when you become an ESL teacher?
- Tips for becoming an ESL teacher
- Common misconceptions about ESL teaching you will encounter
- Everything you need to know about ESL
- Some Helpful resources for you to use
Lets Get Started.
How to become an ESL teacher – Your Journey Begins Here
1. The Requirements for ESL Teaching
So in most cases there are certain requirements you need to have(or do) in order to become an ESL teacher. You will find different requirements for different online schools and schools abroad,
The most common requirements are:
- A bachelors degree or higher in any field(Doesn’t count for all schools or countries).
- A TEFL Certificate.
- And in some cases 2 years of teaching experience.
As you just read above, one of the requirements for becoming an ESL teacher is a TEFL Course and they will also differ per course provider, as each provider is unique and usually offer it differently, Anyway, let’s talk about the TEFL course in the latter section of the article, for now, let’s stick to talking about ESL teaching and its greatness.
2. What happens when you become an ESL teacher?
Even if you have already decided to become an ESL teacher, it is better to learn more of the benefits of becoming one.
- You will have a flexible schedule
(for online ESL teaching)No matter how old you are, it is not easy to get out of bed early in the morning. So this is the best part of becoming an online teacher, you get to select your schedule. If it is a 9-5 job, you would have to deal with lazy mornings and commuting time, but when it is online, you have no such issues. Also, if you prefer, you can increase your working hours as per your schedule.
- Your job location broadens
Online teaching is an excellent opportunity for you to broaden your job location. The English language is dominating the world in every market, Students are lining up to learn English! If you have the required qualification, you will be able to reach beyond the limits to help the students, It will be an excellent chance for you to expand your job location.
- You can enjoy student diversification
during your ESL adventures, you will welcome students from different regions and different countries, and that will be a very unique experience, You will hardly feel bored when working with such diverse and dedicated students and You are not going to associate only with teens or youngsters, but possibly adults as well.
- You get the chance to learn new cultures
It is not possible to explore different cultures without traveling to different countries. But teaching ESL will help you learn about different cultures as you get along with students from different cultures. And that will not cost you money; instead, it will bring you money.
- You can easily get the TEFL certification
When schools that are looking for ESL teachers, for the ones who have completed the TEFL course get selected when compared to the ones who have not done it, Also, getting your TEFL certification is not complicated if you find the right course provider(which you can check out here). Therefore, this is one of the perks of becoming an ESL teacher.
- You can fine-tune many skills
There are many careers in the world, but not every career helps to improve different life skills, But this is one of the best part of becoming an ESL teacher is that you get to enhance various skills. Some of the skills are such as organizational and communication skills, team-building skills, managing skills, and much more.
- You have the liberty to be creative
Lesson planning and the curriculum Can be provided by the school or you can create it yourself, Thus, your level of creativity in teaching can be taken into the next level. If we consider traditional teachers, they need to stick to the curriculum. They will not be able to utilize their creativity because of the curriculum.
But once you become an ESL teacher, you have the liberty and choice to be creative, You can decide your curriculum without anyone’s interference.
These are some of the most prominent benefits that you can gain by becoming an ESL teacher. But there’s so much more to the whole process of becoming an ESL teacher and you’re going to find it all out,
Now let’s focus on some of the tips on becoming an ESL teacher.
One of the most top and high paying Online teaching companies who hire both native and non native teachers without college degrees is Called Preply and you can learn more about them by clicking here.
3. Helpful Tips for Becoming an ESL teacher
Now that you know the benefits of becoming an ESL teacher, it is time to focus on some tips to make your ESL teaching adventure go as successfully as possibly.
Here we go!:
- Communication should be consistent and clear
ESL teachers will handle students from different cultures, ethnicity, and linguistics, Even though these changes are part of the job, most students will not be familiar with English, so communication should be consistent and clear, Sometimes, you may some complications handling their simplest needs, even though there are assistant teachers present most of the time.
However, If you can figure out how students can open up to your teaching style, you will be able to help them learn English sooner. Before you begin your classes or any teaching content, you need to teach them to ask if something isn’t clearly explained or not(more for older students). Your job is to help students to communicate with you because they might not be comfortable with speaking English in the initial stage. Your teaching should not only make communication more straightforward and transparent, but also fun and interactive,
If you are teaching Younger students, then the best way to teach them is through games and cards, children are very playful, so a playful way of learning English will work best for them.
- Asses the students regularly
Keep a close eye on your students progress and how their English is improving, There are different ways to assess the students, and some of the tools are illustration, thumbs up, and explanation.
If you have taught students any new words, you can make them illustrate the word to check whether they understood it. You can use this tool to check their standard of speech. Overall, it is pretty easy to evaluate the conceptual understanding of the student.
In the middle of a teaching session, ask the students to confirm their level of understanding by showing “thumbs up.” If they have not understood, they must show “thumbs down,” so that you can explain once again. Moreover, the “thumbs up” sign will help you to visually check whether the students are ready to continue to move forward in the class.
Making your students reteach or explain what you taught will help you to understand the students’ performance, you can do this by putting them into groups or pair up, This can be followed when checking their understanding of grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and punctuation. Their knowledge can be reinforced through this tool.
- Analyze every student’s ability
Every student is different from one another, so as a teacher, you must learn to differentiate their ability. Two main fundamentals to check the student’s ability are results and questions.
If you want to analyze the level of the students, you need to understand them individually. To do it, you need to set different tasks to check the results. Based on the results, you can find the level of the student. Doing so will help you to plan for the next step, which is checking their ability. For example, you can create worksheets at different levels, but all of them with the same goal or task. Once the students are done with the worksheets, you will be able to discover their ability and teach accordingly.
When you are conducting speaking or listening sessions, focusing on questions will help you decide the level of your students. Once the session is completed, you can shoot a few questions to check whether the students have understood the lessons or not. Initially, ask a few simple questions because they are just starting to learn English. Moreover, this method will help you to analyze the students’ ability in conversing.
⦁ keep the same lesson plan
Even though you will be dealing with students from different backgrounds and cultures, your lesson plan should still always be the same, perhaps you could test the students on different levels, but the classes should remain mostly the same regardless.
Using These few tips can definitely help you in teaching students English much more successfully and with it your ESL teaching career as well.
But now it’s important to learn about some of the misconceptions related to teaching English as a second language so that they won’t impact your decision on becoming an ESL teacher or not.
4. Common misconceptions ESL teachers will encounter
Even if you are a native English speaker, these misconceptions can ruin your mindset about teaching ESL. Therefore, it is better to learn them beforehand.
- Teaching English as a second language is difficult.
This is an apparent misconception because ESL teaching is definitely not difficult It is one of the most rewarding and easiest career choices, however for some ESL schools the workload might be more, for example: Teachers need to plan, mark assignments, grade students and include some extracurricular activities as well. But these are just some of the schools. most of them have their own curriculum and lessons plans.
Also, a teacher’s dedication cannot be counted in several hours worked. They do all the possible things to help the students and may include a little more hours in the beginning, this may be a little more time consuming for the new ESL Teacher, but once you become more and more experienced, then this will gradually become no work at all.
- Speaking English is enough to teach English
There are both native and non native English speakers who teach ESL, but most of them don’t understand whether students are thorough with their explanation or not. They might be confident in teaching grammar, but they are not clear with teaching techniques. For example, if a student makes a mistake, a native English speaker might spot it easily, but explaining the reason why it’s wrong could be challenging. This is why teacher training is essential.
You will not be able to teach just because you are a native speaker. Teaching consists of planning, classroom management, and much more, so to do all these, a teacher must have the required training or experience. Therefore, you should definitely focus on doing the TEFL course and become a true Certified Teacher(which we will talk more about later on).
- You don’t need another language
Well, this is not actually a misconception. You will be able to manage even if you don’t know another language. But knowing another language is always a good option. For example, if you are handling only Japanese students, it is a nice plus to learn the Japanese language, However your main objective is to have a fully functional English class environment, so even if you do know the same language as your students, try not to use it, keep the English Class an English Class.
- Students love to learn English
The English language is learned only out of love is one of the main misconceptions. Well, you shouldn’t assume that all your students love to learn English, but it’s definitely true that a lot of students love to interact with foreign teacher, so that is mainly where this misconception comes from. However you can definitely use this love for foreign teachers to your advantage!
Different students have different purposes for learning English.
Moreover, you will be dealing with students from different age groups so the purposes will differ, too. Also, some of the students(like children) that you deal with may not be so motivated to learn by themselves when you teach online. Therefore, positive feedback, support, and encouragement are essential in learning English online.
- Students’ poor performance is entirely their mistake
Generally, if students don’t perform well, teachers are to be held responsible. But when it comes to ESL teaching, it is assumed that the fault is entirely on students. Well, this is somewhat another misconception that you will come across in ESL teaching. If students are not performing as expected, it is partly teachers’ fault too and the assistant teacher that might be present at that moment.
Just like traditional teaching, teachers are still responsible for students’ performance, although the assistant teacher will help you to manage the class if you are teaching kids abroad, you will still need to make the class as fun and interactive as possible and try to be more motivating when working with adults.
Once you encounter that students are not performing as expected, you need to work on improving it. You must analyze and find out the reason for poor performance and help them become better. Especially when learning online, some students might not grasp the techniques that easily. Therefore, spend more a little more time on such students.
So these misconceptions are commonly associated with ESL teaching. Thus, knowing these misconceptions can help you to stay away from them.
The next section of the post is absolutely crucial. Yes, it is going to be about the TEFL Certification!
5. Everything you need to know about TEFL
So I saved the biggest requirement for ESL teaching for the latter section of the article. Which is Getting certified to teach online or abroad and it’s the biggest requirement that all teachers will need. How do you get the certification that allows you to become an ESL Teacher? And What is that certification?
Well, TEFL is one of the most common certifications you can consider even though there are some others like it. TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). This certificate has international recognition, so you will be able to make your dream come true.
If the recruiters know that you have TEFL certification, it will help you get selected over other applicants, even when you have a college degree.
Teaching overseas is also another pro factor. So, if you select the right program to follow, you will be able to pursue a teaching career successfully.
TEFL certification is beneficial for both experienced and inexperienced teachers who are interested in working abroad or online.
With this certification, a teacher gets:
- Qualified for jobs related to teaching if you have a Bachelor’s degree or higher and TEFL certification, you would have the minimum job requirement for a lot of jobs abroad.
- You can get the skills needed for teaching online. Through the TEFL course, you will enhance English language skills, lesson planning, grammar concepts, and much more.
- Even if the recruiter hasn’t mentioned the TEFL course, you still have the chance to stand out among other applicants. It is an excellent asset for you when applying to jobs.
- TEFL certification helps to make better income through higher salaries and more benefits.
- The knowledge and confidence he or she needs to feel like a true ESL teacher.
Sections covered in a TEFL course
The sections covered by the TEFL course include grammar, language skills, classroom management, lesson planning, and more.
Some of them are:
- The grammar section includes simplified grammar teaching techniques. The techniques are, especially effective for English language learners.
- The language skills section includes speaking, reading, writing, pronunciation, and listening.
- The classroom management section includes the way to handle students’ behavior, safe learning system, and more.
- The lesson planning section will be about objective teaching. Through objective teaching, productive learning among students can be developed.
- Discover different teaching styles to meet students’ demands.
- Helpful tips for finding digital teaching materials so that you can use them to improve the overall teaching system.
So by completing the TEFL course, you will be able to gather all the required knowledge to become a great ESL teacher. But you might be confused as if to consider in-person or online TEFL course. Let me help you there.
In-person or online TEFL courses?
Online TEFL Courses
Deciding whether to follow in-person or online courses depends on your personal preference. But currently, everyone is interested in learning online as it is flexible and easy to handle. If you consider an online course, you don’t have to spend time commuting to the classes or lectures. Instead, you can study at home.
To make online learning successful, you need to have a steady internet connection and a good PC or laptop. If you have these tools, you can easily make online learning successful. Moreover, a lot of the teaching materials are the same as the in-person course. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about missing out on vital content, however there still is a strong difference between online and some onsite courses which we will get into a moment later.
For a person with a very busy schedule, the online TEFL course would be much better and convenient. The online formats will make things simpler, so you wouldn’t find it complicated. The best part about an online TEFL course is that if you are already occupied with work, family commitments, or anything else, you can still do the course alongside.Above all, you will be able to save some money by doing an online course instead of the in-person course.
Onsite TEFL Courses
Compared to online courses, onsite courses are much more thorough and personally taught, it’s also usually done within groups, making it much more fun and interactive, you can communicate with other prospecting ESL Teacher and even make good friends before you even start your journey into ESL,
Further more some onsite TEFL Courses are held abroad, for example SEETEFL’s onsite courses are held in Thailand and their curriculum also holds observations of Real ESL teaching classes performed by other foreign teachers. next to that, doing an onsite course with this company is simply much more realistic and possibly much more effective as well, as you will learn the trials and errors on the spot and they can also help you find ESL jobs or internships there once you’re finished and you can gain some Valuable Experience.
Onsite Courses are also usually considered much more valuable than online courses, because of the direct experience, but still both options are definitely good to go for, just choose the one that fits your situation the best.
Lets now move on to some helpful resources
6. Some helpful resources for you to use
- The Internet
(Well Duh, of course the internet!)There is no better resource than the internet. Even if you are following an online TEFL course, you need the internet. Moreover, by using the internet, you can increase your knowledge and teaching skill.
The Dictionary is a forgotten resource, even though it carries a lot of benefits. You can check the dictionary to find meaning, word origins, antonyms, and pronunciations. Therefore, make use of the dictionary even if English is your native language. There will be a lot of details that you didn’t know about English.
- Experienced teachers
If you have contacts with experienced ESL teachers, it must be the best resource you have. Also, your co-workers can be of great help, too. Therefore, you shouldn’t think twice about seeking help from experienced teachers. They will provide the best explanation related to teaching ESL.
In this era, Both the internet and YouTube go hand in hand. Nowadays, when a person is trying out something new, they tend to use YouTube to clear doubts and increase knowledge. You can use this when you are trying to become an ESL teacher, there will be a lot of resources for you available on it.
In fact you can check out an example of a good ESL teaching video resource here below.
Even though you have a lot of resources, you may still feel frustrated to begin your journey as an ESL teacher due to the lack of knowledge. But trust me, it is going to be fun and exciting despite any complications you may encounter.
For teaching Abroad:
- For China: Check out our page Top Teaching positions (Click here).
- For many different Countries, including Asian Countries: Participate in one of ITTT’s Many available Online or Onsite Courses and get a job! (Click here).
- For China, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan and South-Korea: participate in LETSTEFL’s 120-hour TEFL course and get a job! (Click Here).
For Teaching Online:
Wrapping it up
Hopefully, this article has been incredibly beneficial for you and that the information provided here has helped you with all you need to know, follow the steps outlined in this article and you can start your ESL teaching career in no time at all!