Teaching English as a Career

Teaching English as a Career

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

The English language has a lot of short, easy words. Just think of words like “run” — a short, three-letter word that is easy to spell and easy to learn. But are they really that easy? Think of how many meanings words like “run” have. You can run a race or get a home run in baseball. A newspaper has a run, and you can run out of time. How can non-English speakers ever learn such a complicated language? That’s where English as a Second Language (ESL) or English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers can help.

Teaching the English language can be a good career option, especially for anyone who enjoys travel. Over 400 million people around the world use English as their first language, which is the main language that they are most comfortable using. However, over 700 million people use English as a second or third language, and the number is growing all the time.

English is spoken all over the world and is the standard language used in many businesses, in technical and scientific studies, and for transportation on airplanes and ships. You might even hear a German-speaking airline pilot talking to a German-speaking airport employee, not in German, but in English. Most communication by computers and even traditional mail is in English, and use of the English language is still growing.

As the need for English skills is increasing, the need for English teachers is growing as well. This kind of teaching goes by several different names which often reflect the needs of the students. Teaching English as a Second Language is often about teaching immigrants how to speak with their neighbours and co-workers. Practical vocabulary and grammar are important parts of each lesson.

In other countries, English as a Foreign Language or English as an Additional Language (EAL) are often the terms people use. Without the chance to use English every day at home or at work, the students often have to work harder at getting a chance to practice their skills. The kind of help the students need is normally the focus of the classes. Lessons could focus on conversational skills or grammar or both.

What does it take to work in TESOL (Teaching English as a Second or Other Language)? In North America and many other parts of the world, a Bachelor of Education with an emphasis on teaching language to non-English speakers is probably the best option. In some cases, a TESOL certificate or local training might be enough, especially if the school where you want to work has its own training program.

Teaching English can be a good option if you love variety and adventure. You can teach in Japan, China, Mexico, or right in your own city. You can work with young children, university students, or retired people. You can teach in a classroom or tutor people at home. Wherever you go, teaching the English language can be a rewarding career for anyone.

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