Category Archives: Teaching

How to Get an ESL Teaching Job

Finding an ESL teaching job is a lot like finding any other position in education. There are steps that must be completed to be eligible for these positions. Future educators must complete a bachelor’s degree, specialized ESL courses, spend time in the classroom, and complete a semester of student teaching before graduation.
Preparing for an esl teaching job

Anyone hoping to get an ESL teaching job needs to begin by earning a bachelor’s degree. It can be a Bachelor of Arts in English or a Bachelor of Arts in Education with a concentration in bilingual learning. These degrees require many courses in English, literature, philosophy, history and culture, and mathematics, and general college courses. Those training to be teachers learn how children and adults learn best and how to develop lesson plans that meet their needs through their education courses. They learn effective and proven ways of instructing students of all ages, and they concentrate on students in the age group that they plan to teach. Their future license will reflect this training. The license may be for early learners, elementary education, middle school, high school, or adults. Job applicants are not considered for an ESL teaching job without a teaching license.

Learning a second language
Future teachers who will be looking for an ESL teaching job may also learn a second language that they will use when then teach their students. Many school districts do not want ESL teachers speaking the students’ first language in the classroom, but it is helpful to know the language in case it is necessary to explain something that requires students’ understanding in their language. It may be necessary to explain school rules and customs, and to answer students’ questions in their own languages. Also, teachers are able to understand students’ conversation when they are talking to one another, which can be very helpful. Even when students are told to speak English only in the ESL classroom, they will inevitably speak their first language at times.Although it is not always possible to speak every language, many ESL teachers specialize in Spanish because of the influx of Spanish-speaking students into the United States. Those who plan to teach overseas often learn Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or another language that is spoken where they plan to teach.

Student teaching in the ESL classroom
Before a future instructor can be licensed to teach in his or her own classroom, the educator must complete supervised student teaching. This occurs in an ESL setting where the student teacher practices various teaching strategies with students. These must focus on the age and mental development of the learners. This is especially important with students learning English because the language development of their first language may still be developing as a preschool child, yet a teen’s language is almost fully developed. When the student is taught on their learning level in a teaching style that is appropriate for his or her age, learning will occur more easily.

Earning licensing or certification
In addition to earning their bachelor’s degree, future educators must take classes on how to specifically teach ESL students. A Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program is usually completed in the senior year of college, or it is sometimes finished after a bachelor’s degree is earned. Some states require a master’s degree, and in this case, the TESOL courses are completed in three to four semesters to earn a Master’s Degree in TESOL.After completing these courses, teachers are able to take a test to be licensed in their state. Each state has different licensing requirements, but all states require future educators to pass a test that shows that they are ready to begin teaching because they have the understanding in the area in which they will be providing instruction.

Continuing education for the educator
All instructors must complete continuing education to keep their licenses. ESL teachers often complete courses in TESOL that lead to a master’s degree. They also attend workshops and conferences that are held specifically for the thousands of ESL specialists who teach in the United States. Educators often subscribe to specialty journals that pertain to ESL, and they meet regularly with other language specialists and teachers of other subjects that their students must complete to discuss best practices for an ESL teaching job.

The ESL Teaching Guide

In this ESL teaching guide, we will discuss the basics of teaching English as a second language to students from pre-school age to adults.

Basics of the ESL teaching guide
English is a very difficult language to learn. The basis of this ESL teaching guide is that the language needs to be made as simple as possible. Any language needs to be started by learning the basics, and this is especially true with English. That is because of the numerous verbs with multiple meanings that can cause confusion. The verb tenses of past, present, past perfect, and future cannot just be memorized to learn English. They need to be acquired through speaking and learning the language, not the verbs. Anyone learning grammar learns best by using the words in context. The content should be relevant and interesting to the age group. It also needs to respect the culture of the students learning the language.
Learn language, not grammar

Babies and young children learning English as their native tongue often use improper grammar, but they understand what they mean. Understanding is the first step in any ESL classroom and a basic of the ESL teaching guide. For beginning students, grammar is not important. It will be learned naturally through conversation, listening activities, reading, and observing. The learner will realize that the correct verb tenses as time goes on. Just as a baby says, “I go bye bye,” an ESL learner may say, “I go to the store last night.” Although this is not the correct grammatical word form, the student demonstrates that they comprehend the meaning of the verb in the way it is used. The next step is to teach the past tense of “went” to the student. Students eventually pick up the correct usage as they mature in their understanding of the language. Reading will also demonstrate the right way to use words.

Teachers should avoid using idioms at all costs
Idioms are so common in the English language that teachers may not realize that they are using them. They need to be very careful to not use them with students. This is another basic of the ESL teaching guide. It takes a very mature understanding of the language to know the meaning of an idiom. Teachers should skim over all reading passages that they are considering for their lesson plans to make sure that they are free from idioms. If not, the students’ comprehension will be negatively affected. The same applies to practice activities and other assignments. The best way for teachers to keep learning simple is to put themselves in their students’ position as the learner. They need to stop and evaluate whether or not the material they are using in a lesson plan will be easily understood or more confusing to students.
Visual aids help students learn

Many students learn through seeing an image or graphic of what they are learning about. This is helpful for all students in general, but especially for the ESL student. When the learner sees an object, he or she will naturally say the name of the item to themselves in their native tongue. Then, as the teacher tells them the word in the language they’re learning, the connection between the two is made in the brain. If it is repeated several times, along with visual aids, the chance of the student retaining the word and its meaning is greatly increased. Reviewing the word routinely can be helpful, but using the new vocabulary in conversation and in the written word is even better. New vocabulary should be used in the classroom each day in some form. Word walls are also helpful because students see the words and review them by themselves throughout the day.

Add humor and fun to the lesson
Another basic of the ESL teaching guide is that learning must be enjoyable for students. When the teacher adds an occasional touch of humor to the lesson, students’ attention span is increased. It is possible to add fun to lessons through the use of clip art on PowerPoint presentations and on worksheets that teachers give students for practice. Even older teens and adults appreciate a lively lesson that is interesting, challenging, and somewhat humorous. Humor is not being off-task if it is being used as a teaching method. It is actually building a communication bridge between the teacher and student. Humor and fun are powerful motivators that will encourage students to continue learning. That is why they are important in this ESL teaching guide.