We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.
What has drawn you into this article? Maybe you wish to find out exactly what it is that ESL means, or is it the offer of a ticket to see the world? It's a lofty claim but one that's backed up and confirmed by many who are currently participating in this booming industry.
So What Exactly Is ESL?
ESL is an acronym meaning English As a Second Language. ESL is a form of education provided to students all over the world whose primary language isn't English. It's taught at all ages and levels. Kindergarten, primary schools, middle schools, high schools and universities all of which employ people to teach ESL to their students. You can also find many private language schools catering to any age that wishes to learn english as a language. Taught in many countries all over the world, ESL teaching is a great career choice if you love to travel.
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What Are All These Acronyms?
The certification that you gain when you wish to become an ESL teacher may have other acronyms in its title, along with ESL there are many other titles, all basically with the same meaning
TESOL - Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
TEFL - Teaching English as a Foreign Language
EFL -English as a Foreign Language
So Can ESL be A long Term Career Choice?
Well the answer to that question really lays with you. It can certainly be lucrative depending on the country you choose to teach in of course. It can also be extremely satisfying and fun. There is certainly no shortage of positions and most places of employment actually include nearly all your expenses including your return travel once every year back and forth between your home country and work place. Accommodation is nearly always supplied, utilities all paid for and general medical insurance taken out for you. As far as wages go, it can depend on your location, your decision whether to teach at a private company, university, private or public school. It can also sometimes depend on how many years experience you have and what kind of ESL certification or higher education you have obtained. It can often be the case that you see people scoffing at the idea of doing ESL as a long-term career, but for many people it really is a case of, "Why Not? I am genuinely helping people so the job is satisfying. I get a great wage, comparatively speaking, and everything's paid for. I can travel the world if I do so wish and I even get free airfares back home every year...What's not to like?"
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How Do I Become An ESL Teacher?
It is relatively easy to become an ESL teacher and there are many ESL training companies either online or in your local city who offer courses offering a "Certificate in ESL" at its completion, such as this one called ATA (Australasian Training Academy). You do not have to have any qualifications to take part in a basic ESL course and complete and gain your ESL training certificate, however, in some countries that you may want to teach in, it may be that you are required to have some other form of higher education in the form of a degree or diploma. This is not the case for all countries, sometimes all you need is your ESL certificate, the want to go experience a new lifestyle and whole lot of guts, strength and determination to actually get on the plane and do it! When you have done the training and picked up your certificate, It really is a ticket to jet set your way to a job, teaching different races and cultures.
Decisions, Decisions... Where Shall I Go?
It can be an obvious decision deciding where you would like to go. For instance if you've always had a dream to see China and climb "The Great Wall", or would love to embrace the harsh cold winter in Siberia, then it becomes a very real and exciting opportunity for you to embrace. If you're really not too sure where you would like to go, it can also be exciting surfing the net and checking out which country, city or even a remote little village in the middle of nowhere that might take your fancy. The company with which you have trained, can sometimes directly help you with finding a job or at least give you all the internet sources advertising the positions available worldwide. There are many choices for locations and lifestyles that suit any of your destination desires.
So What Does Being An ESL Teacher Entail?
This can vary of course from school to school, but the basic requirements are planning and presenting lessons that aim towards getting the students to actually speak. Usually the students already have a good knowledge of grammar from their everyday english classes, what they often don't have is a chance to put their english into practice. It must be pointed out that this job, whilst satisfying, can be extremely tiring. It can often seem that you need performance skills to go with your teaching skills, especially when teaching ages through from kindergarten to middle school. It could also be the case that when you arrive at your new job, you actually have no workbooks and little materials to work with, this means many hours searching the internet for teaching ideas that are not only informative but interesting enough to keep the students motivated and happy to learn.
I Like The Sound Of This But I Don"t Particulary Want To Travel
If this applies to you, you can still teach ESL in your home country. As we know, the world is a big melting pot of races and many of these people arrive in your country with a need to learn the local language. It may however be the case that you will need a higher form of certification to teach ESL in your own country where as teaching ESL overseas, in some countries, requires nothing more than your ESL certificate and your résumé, which in turn then gets you your working visa.
At The End Of The Day
Remember that even though you get to wing your way to amazing places around the world, it is work. In fact it is hard, tiring but satisfying work. The whole experience of being an ESL teacher and visiting different places, gives you a tremendous opportunity to grow as a person. Life challenges come up that you could never have imagined. You can see how people live in countries, that are so different to your own, it can feel like you've accidentally flown to another planet rather than a different country. To get a return flight included in your job package, you usually need to work a 1 year contract. 3,6 and 1 yearly contracts are available. If this appeals to you, if you need a change in direction or if you want to do something completely different whilst you are in a transition period in your life, this could be just what you're looking for!