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How to become an ESL teacher- Advice & Guidance.

Embarking on an adventure around the world as an ESL teacher is a great way to spend a year, or even a lifetime. The question, “How to become an ESL teacher?” is a relevant one as being a native speaker is not an automatic qualification for being an English teacher.

The first thing you’ll need to do is get qualified, just like any other profession. Teaching English in most places in the world will require you to get a TEFL certificate. This certificate, if a good one, will give you all the skills and confidence needed to be a great ESL teacher.

What should you look for when choosing a TEFL certificate? (teaching English as a foreign language).

The first thing to ask yourself is what is the instructor like? What experience do they have? How many students have they graduated? Are they approachable, engaging and knowledgeable? Can they convey difficult topics easily?

You also need to look at the curriculum of the course. Most employers look for a certificate that has at least 120 hours of training attached to it, with the course covering at least 2 different teaching methodologies and practice in lesson planning for both. There should be units on areas for teacher development, such as, classroom management, teacher language, board management to name just a few.

A good course should also not just have an anonymous tutor giving you short generic replies to your questions and assignments, but an instructor open to video conferencing, so you as a student can clarify concepts and ask questions to make you feel comfortable that you are on the right track.

An engaging course should also not be text heavy. There should be many video tutorials which engage you as the learner. There’s nothing worse than sitting through hours and hours of units presented in plain text!

On a personal level, anyone who is interested in being an ESL teacher should be aware that there are many important characteristics that some people have naturally and others need to work on. Being patient and available to your students is important. As well as being engaging and energetic in the presentations of your lessons. Being comfortable being firm, but fair with your students is also vital. Using your voice, in terms of projection, speed, intonation are all learned skills.

As you can see there’s more to think about when deciding how to become an ESL teacher than most people realize.

Once you’ve graduated from the course and you are qualified to be an ESL teacher. You biggest decision then is choosing the best places to teach English abroad. This is the easiest decision of them all, as wherever you choose, you know you are in for the adventure of a lifetime!

April 3, 2015

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