Is it or is it not a real profession? Many critics would be quick to answer “No, ESL teaching is not a career,” but in all actuality it really depends what the individual ESL teacher makes of it. Yes, of course there are those secondary school graduates who are looking to take a Gap year, there are those people who may even use it as a sabbatical, but then there are those people who dedicate their lives to teaching foreign language speakers English just like a regular secondary school English teacher may dedicate their life to teaching A level English. So many people of all ages and backgrounds at some stage enter into the ambiguous world of ESL teaching. But what is it about teaching ESL learners that’s so appealing?
Teaching is a vocation. Any teacher, no matter what the subject is, teaches for the love of it, not the money. Certainly, there are a few countries and perhaps government jobs with more attractive salaries, but just like regular teachers in public and private schools, it’s generally not well-rewarded in terms of money. So, if it’s not money that’s drawing the masses to teach different nationalities how to say “Hi” and the difference between the present simple and the present continuous, what is?
Today, with English being the world’s number one important language to know for education, business, and tourism purposes there are literally millions of people needing to learn how to communicate well in English meaning ESL jobs are plentiful. Making the choice to pursue an ESL career can be a rewarding one and there are a number of attractive benefits when it comes to teaching English as a second language.
As English language learning is spreading further afield, more and more ESL jobs are popping up across every continent. If you’ve got a particular place you’ve been dreaming about living in, do a quick Google search and there’s a good chance there are a couple of ESL jobs there.
Okay, so you may not take an early retirement from ESL teaching, but it’s not all about money. ESL language instruction can be extremely challenging especially when it comes to getting your ESL students to learn how to speak, read, write, and understand English for the first time, but once they ‘click’, you’ll feel great joy knowing that a lot of that was your work.
Remember that you’re helping your ESL students achieve some major goals. Your students need English for a number of reasons – for work, for family life, for immigration purposes, for English proficiency exams…the list is almost endless. All the time you’re helping your ESL learners achieve their English language goals and you can feel good knowing that you’ve played an important role in helping them get there.
It’s really not necessary to know any other language when teaching ESL; in fact it’s not encouraged; however, if you’ve got a passion for leaning languages yourself, it may be the perfect opportunity to pick up a new language or even better, practice a 2nd language you already know.
One of the major benefits of ESL teaching is the ability to see almost instantaneous results especially if you’re working with lower level ESL learners or children. Children are particularly quick as they’ve got the tendency to pick up other languages quicker than adults.
It doesn’t matter whether your passion lies in ESL teaching per se or traveling the world, there’s no doubt at all that teaching English as a second language can be an extremely rewarding career choice.
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