ESL: An Introduction to an Adventurous Career Path
If you had learned English as an adult, what would you have been struggling with the most? For non-native speakers, that question is a grammatical whirlwind: a third conditional using past perfect and perfect continuous clauses. Learning English as an adult is daunting, and that is why ESL is so important.
ESL is the study of English as a Second Language. Most ESL classrooms typically have about four to twelve students. This creates a comfortable atmosphere for learners to not only befriend each other, but also the teacher. A single classroom often has students from several countries having come to learn and immerse themselves in English, so it always makes for an interesting group.
This atmosphere is important for the type of work done in class. Instead of everyone keeping their heads down as they fill in the blanks of grammar sheet exercises, ESL classes focus on group projects and engaging activities. The teacher spends little to no time lecturing, but instead introduces a grammatical concept at the beginning of class. Through role-playing games and group activities, those grammar rules are mixed with practical and real life situations.
These classes are found in private colleges and public schools around the world. Teaching ESL is a rewarding career that will allow you to meet wonderful people from all over the globe. If that is something you want to explore, start by finding English tutoring and teaching opportunities. These could be paid or volunteer work, as either way they will give you the valuable experience schools are looking for.
You will also need ESL teaching credentials. It can be hard to choose a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) program, as there are a myriad of them. Most are short programs and of little value. Instead, choose one affiliated with TESL Canada. Certification requires the completion of an affiliated TESOL program and an undergraduate degree. You will be qualified to work in ESL colleges across the country. TESL Canada is also recognized worldwide, meaning you can even work in ESL schools abroad!
Many teachers will use their credentials to find teaching opportunities in other countries. It is a great chance to explore the world while getting paid to do it. It also looks great on your resume for future opportunities. If you are inexperienced, South Korea is the place to go, as there are many reputable schools in the country regularly looking for instructors. You will likely sign a one-year contract, so if you are okay with leaving your life here behind for that long, a great adventure awaits.
As English continues to be such a vital language in the modern world, the ESL industry remains full of opportunities. You are already on the right track by being in an undergraduate program. Seek out small teaching opportunities to build experience, and look for TESOL programs in your area, and you will be well on your way.