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.