Should I Become An ESL Teacher?
While a lot of people say “I just want to move to another country” and the first thought is “I could teach English abroad.” It behooves one to consider this article’s namesake: “Should I become an ESL teacher?”
Teaching English in another country is a wonderful and rewarding way to immerse yourself in another culture. You will learn more about the culture in your first week teaching than you would in a month’s worth of travel. That being said, it’s also a real job with real responsibilities and real stressors.
I’m writing this article to highlight some of the things that you should consider before cashing it all in for the life of an ESL teacher.
1. Do you like the idea of teaching and/or have you ever taught?
I want to start by saying that this is certainly not a prerequisite to getting a TEFL certification or teaching ESL – it’s simply a question worth asking yourself. Think about standing up in front of 15 to 30 people and interacting with them in an educational and engaging way. Does this sound like fun? Ok, now you’ve thought about it.
2. Do you like children?
Again, this is not a requirement for being an ESL teacher. However, you will have a much easier time landing your first teaching gig if you like children and are open to working with them. Hopefully you will be exposed to teaching both young and young adult learners before accepting your first job offer. By being comfortable in a number of environments you are more marketable and it increases your chances of being a successful teacher.
3. Do you consider being an ESL teacher a serious job?
For some people one of the most frustrating parts of being a new ESL teacher is learning that it’s a REAL job. Some people sign up for what they think will be an easy way to make a few dollars and travel the world. While you can certainly travel the world teaching English, you’re going to have to work for the money you make.
Just like any other teacher, you will have to create lesson plans, grade papers, and do some classroom management. It’s not always the most fun part of the job but it’s certainly part of it. Most people realize that the personal fulfillment of being an effective ESL teacher far outweighs the “work” involved in delivering the material.
4. Can you commit to a year?
You don’t need to commit to teaching English for the rest of your life, but you will need to commit Newly hired ESL teachers are often asked to commit to a twelve-month teaching contract. Like everything else there are exceptions but this is pretty standard.
It’s going to take a new teacher a couple months to get into a rhythm and understand their students’ individual needs and idiosyncrasies. After that, a teacher can become effective at imparting some English language skills! Schools want a new teacher to stick around long enough to get through the growing pains and be a valuable part of the faculty.
So there you have it – a few things to consider when considering teaching English in a foreign country. You can take a look through some TEFL certification programs to get a better idea of what you’re getting into.