Becoming an ESL teacher provides a one-of-a-kind multi-cultural experience. International travel opportunities, multi-cultural training, and job satisfaction are all job benefits. One of the most significant benefits of obtaining a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) qualification is the opportunity to work abroad in an exciting new country and culture. However, there are also some things you should consider before making the move.
What is ESL teaching?
ESL is a term that is commonly used to refer to teaching English as a second language. It can also refer to the training required to teach English as a second language. Teachers with such credentials are in high demand all over the world.
In today's world, English is one of the most widely spoken languages. It has the third-highest number of native speakers of any language, and it is also the most widely spoken second language worldwide. One out of every five people can communicate in English in almost any part of the world. The sheer prevalence of English in the fields of media, business, and technology means that there is an incentive for almost anyone to learn the language in order to improve their job prospects.
There is a healthy market for teachers who can pass an industry-standard 120-hour ESL qualification course and bring their expertise to English learners, whether you want to travel to other countries to teach English or connect with international students online.
How much opportunity is there for ESL teaching?
If you want to succeed in ESL teaching, you have to understand the English teaching market. Luckily, there is a high demand for English teachers around the world. However, some areas see higher demand than other regions. In general, Asia is one of the regions with the highest demand for qualified ESL teachers. China, for example, is the largest market for this type of teaching. However, countries such as Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan also have a long history of employing large numbers of foreign teachers, and positions are generally abundant.
Another region to look into is the Middle East. If you want to make as much money as possible while teaching English abroad, the Middle East could be the place for you. Several countries in the region have high starting salaries and generous benefit packages, such as tax-free salaries. However, this region also has some of the strictest requirements for its foreign teachers, including a university degree and prior teaching experience.
Europe and Latin America are two other popular regions for ESL teaching. However, both do not offer the highest salaries. Considering that Europe also has a high cost of living, it can be a difficult region to live comfortably in as an ESL teacher - but it is not impossible.
So what do TEFL, TESOL, and TESL mean?
You have probably noticed that there are quite a lot of terms used in the field of ESL teaching. Let's break them down:
- ESL: English as a Second Language.
- TESOL: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. An umbrella term covering both of the next two terms.
- TEFL: Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Teaching English in a location where it is not the native language spoken (e.g., teaching English in Spain to Spanish speakers).
- TESL: Teaching English as a Second Language. Teaching English to non-English speakers in a location where English is the native language (e.g., teaching English in America to Spanish immigrants).
- CELTA: Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. A teaching qualification provided by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES).
- DELTA: Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. An advanced teaching qualification provided by UCLES.
What skills and qualifications do you need to teach ESL?
To be a successful ESL teacher and get hired in language schools around the world, you should obtain an ESL teaching qualification, such as a TEFL or a TESOL certificate. This kind of certificate will allow you to apply for the majority of English teaching jobs worldwide. The 120-hour TESOL certificate is a great place to start. This standard online course teaches you all the necessary skills to shine in an ESL classroom.
A recognized ESL certificate, however, is not the only thing you should have. You will also need to draw on other skills learned from your ESL course or other work experience to help you stand out from the crowd, especially when applying for highly sought-after positions. These so-called "soft skills" include good communication, adaptability, patience, empathy, and a love of learning and sharing knowledge.