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Can I be a TESOL trainer?

If you have a TESOL qualification and have been working as an ESL teacher for a considerable time, you might be ready to change direction. There are several options available to experienced teachers and one of them is to become a TESOL course trainer. TESOL trainers are responsible for ensuring that the next generation of ESL teachers are fully prepared for everything that the classroom has in store and it can be a very rewarding career. The pay can often be good and it can also be a route into management or even starting up your own language school. But what do you need in order to become a TESOL trainer?

What are the basic requirements for becoming a TESOL trainer?

The most important qualification required is to complete a TESOL certification course. This will ensure you have a good insight into the training involved and all the skills and knowledge that needs to be passed on to your future trainees. However, it is by no means essential that you sail through the course without any trouble. It can actually help if you found some sections of the course tough as this allows you to develop empathy for your future trainees and the drive to help them overcome their own hurdles. After the course you will then need to further develop your skills via teaching and additional study.

What advanced qualifications are required by a TESOL trainer?

The English language is a very complex subject that very few know inside out. However, in order to teach it effectively and pass it on to new teachers you will need to have an in-depth knowledge of many areas, such as grammar, phonetics and phonology. There are also a wide range of teaching skills that you will need to pass onto your trainees if they are to become good teachers themselves. In order to reach the level of understanding required you will typically need to complete at least one advanced level course such as a Diploma in TESOL. Additional qualifications such as a certificate in teaching business English, teaching young learners, and teaching online will also help to expand your knowledge into the most common specialist areas of ESL teaching.

Will I need classroom experience to become a TESOL trainer?

Obtaining a range of teaching qualifications will certainly help build your understanding and knowledge and they will look good on your job applications, but in order to suitably impress potential employers you will need to have a considerable amount of teaching experience. Ideally, this experience will cover a wide range of age groups, language levels, and class sizes, across more than one school or language center. Any other training or mentoring of new teachers you can get involved in while teaching will also look good on your CV/resume. It is also worth mentioning that employers are typically not keen on teachers who have only short-term jobs on their portfolio as they prefer to hire trainers who are likely to stay in the role for a reasonable amount of time.

How do I find vacant TESOL trainer positions?

Once you have plenty of experience and have completed some advanced-level TESOL qualifications, you might think you have done all the heavy lifting. However, the biggest problem that potential teacher trainers are usually up against is the small amount of suitable positions out there. There are only a limited number of trainer positions at any one time and people do not give them up easily. The best approach is to identify the countries where you would like to be based and then draw up a list of all the training centers you can find in that area. You can then contact them all personally with your portfolio of work, or, if you are already in the country, you can visit them in person which is certainly going to be a positive if they have any vacant positions. If they like what you have to offer but there are no immediate vacancies, you might find you can secure some part-time work to get your foot in the door.

Another option that can be effective in this situation is networking. By joining online teaching groups and forums, signing up for seminars and conferences, and even hanging out in places where you know you might come across the right people, you will give yourself a better chance of finding vacant positions before they are filled. As there are a limited number of potential teacher trainer jobs out there, there is no one straightforward route you should take. Finding the right job will take time, patience, persistence, hard work, and probably a little bit of luck.

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