How Do I Become an ESL Teacher?

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Teach ESLIf you love teaching and want to help others learn how to speak, read and write English, you may be interested in becoming an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the demand for ESL teachers is increasing. Read on to learn how to become an ESL teacher.

Earn your Certification

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is a certification that can be earned by someone who already has a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a subject like English or linguistics, or it can be a program of study. If you already have a degree in education and are interested in teaching English to speakers of other languages, whether in the U.S. or abroad, employers generally require at least a TESOL certification, which trains you in specific techniques and methods. Many TESOL courses can apply towards a Masters in Education degree.

Get Experience

Many employers want to hire someone with experience, rather than a teacher freshly out of school. The good news is, opportunities abound for someone interested in becoming an ESL teacher to volunteer their services. Many non-profit and community groups are looking for people willing to teach a non-English speaking population in small settings. Teaching ESL is often non-traditional. An ESL teacher could be working with adults in an evening setting, or with minors in an elementary or secondary school. Many ESL classes are conversational in nature, where the teacher and class speak only in English. This immerses the student in the language and helps them learn faster. Be prepared to play games and talk about life rather than assigning vocabulary lists and conjugating verbs. Volunteering not only builds your resume, but can also be personally rewarding.

Decide Where You Want to Teach

Determining where you’d like to teach is an important step towards becoming an ESL teacher because doing so helps you figure out which educational requirements and certifications you need to meet. For example, if you opt to become an instructor in a U.S. university or college, you will likely need to earn a Master’s degree.  On the other hand, individuals who want to teach English in a non-English speaking region generally find that they only need to obtain a Bachelor’s degree. Unless you have already obtained teaching experience, it’s important that you take a minimum of one college-level course in ESL. Make sure you research prospective jobs to decide which may be a good match for you. You may want to work close to home, or you may opt for a bigger adventure and work in a country that’s unfamiliar to you. If you want to become an ESL teacher, you should know that doing so can provide you with the personal fulfillment and professional opportunities that help improve the quality of your life. The demand for ESL teachers is increasing, so taking the steps needed to earn your certification, gaining experience and deciding where you would like to teach can be well worth it.

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