Tips for Becoming an ESL Instructor

Tips for Becoming an ESL Instructor

A large part of humanity’s beauty stems from its diversity. Each culture has different languages, traditional clothes, architecture, sayings, poetry, legends, and religions. Variety is indeed the spice of life, as our struggle to adapt to different regions has developed distinct identities worldwide. 

However, cultural and language barriers can impede cooperation and the dissemination of information. Like Latin before it (and to some extent French), English has become the new lingua franca. 

People from across the globe use English as a common tongue to share information, conduct trade deals, and establish personal relationships. It has never been more important to have a working knowledge of the English language, especially in the age of instant communication. 

But how can get a job in this type of industry?


Jobs in Education

If you are looking to work in education there are several different career options including:

  • Becoming a teacher
  • Writing

You can find roles full time, part time and freelance. Some professions find jobs writing papers, exams or freelance writing for websites like speedypaper reviews. Working freelance can be a very lonely profession though and for little money compared to other jobs, and, understandably, many people want to use their English skills in another manner like becoming a language teacher. 


What is ESL?

ESL, or English as Second Language, is a term that defines the instruction of non-native English speakers. The goal is to reach fluency in English, either for professional or personal purposes. And to help with this process you can apply to work as a teacher. There are jobs all around the world, popular destinations include Asia, Europe and the Middle East. You can even teach online.

As an ESL instructor your main role will be teaching beginners, intermediate, and advanced-level of language learners notions. The best ESL teacher not only teaches a classroom version of English but can also give you cultural tips, advice on jargon and sayings, and so on.

There are so many benefits and reasons to teach English abroad, here is how to get started.


How to Work as an ESL instructor

Those interested in becoming “English as a second language” instructors will be pleased to know that the barrier for entry is comparatively not that high. You will not need to spend half your life in school to get a positions. Yet, specific accreditations are still necessary, and you must plan to get them.

For most positions, no previous teaching experience is needed, but you will need a bachelor’s degree in addition and usually some certifications. This varies though depending on the recruiter and destintion.

Here are some top tips how to achieve the goal of becoming an ESL teacher.


1. Get a Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree represents the entry-level barrier to teaching ESL in most destinations. Most recruiters usually require instructors to have a degree in any subject, but even better if in an area like writing, English, education, or ESL teaching. Some specializations put a heavy focus on bilingual instruction. Relevant and practical coursework includes learner motivation, incorporating tech into the process, instructing those from diverse backgrounds, making lesson plans, and instructing those with various disabilities.


2. No Criminal Record

Most countries and recruirers require teachers to be subjected to a background check with a clean criminal record.


3. Get TEFL Certified

A teaching license (otherwise known as a TEFL certification) is required for regular school teaching and “English as a second language” instruction. You will usually not be able to work as a professional if you lack this license.

There are lots of different TEFL and TESOL (Teaching English to speakers of other languages) certifications available and these courses give you all the basic skills required to succeed as a teacher. You will need to be able to teach grammar, practice and expand student’s vocabularies, and work on conversational skills.

Some ESL certificate programs are targeted towards people who have already earned a teaching license. Other programs do not demand any prior teaching experience. Aspiring ESL teachers should select a program tailored for their circumstances and qualifications.

The requirements are diverse, and they can be different across country and state borders. Aspiring ESL teachers are encouraged to do their homework and research their local legislation and conditions.

While the rules vary, most places will ask you to have a bachelor’s degree. In addition, you will be required to have completed a teacher training course that is recognized as valid.


4. Practice and Experience

It takes a special kind of person to become a successful ESL teacher. Teaching is a very result-oriented profession, and you will be judged based on experience. Prior experience is not exactly obligatory, depending on the job at hand. Still, it is the most important asset on your resume. 

First, you must have an affinity for the act of teaching itself. Regardless of what is being taught, the teacher must convey information and make it enjoyable. Second, you must have a broad, expansive vocabulary and a knack for the subject at hand.

Finally, ESL teaching requires instructors to be comfortable in multicultural environments and be sensitive to all factors. A very flexible and astute mind is necessary to put yourself in the shoes of people from other cultures.


5. Improve Your CV

The teaching industry, like other jobs, is competative. You will need to put together strong applications and have a very up to date CV to help you stand out from the crowd.


6. Get Experience

If you are lacking experience then there are lots of educational and teaching internships and volunteering programs available. This is a great way to boost your experience and see if you enjoy this type of work.


7. Learn a New Language

It is not mandatory to know another language when applying to teach abroad, but it does give you an advantage to get hired. Foreign language skills are always appreciated in a field that deals with the intersection of different cultures. It is up to you to decide if you should take tje step to learn a new language, but we highly recommend it. 


“ESL Instructor” is as much a character type as it is a profession. It attracts a particular kind of person who wishes to teach, has a command of the English language, and is sensitive to other cultures’ particularities. The requirements for those who wish to follow this career can vary. Yet, most recruiters will insist on a bachelor’s degree at minimum, in addition to an TEFL certification. By deciding to embark on this career, yo can get a really rewarding career and the opportunity to work all around the world.


By Laura C Fields