Your Pathway to Success in ESL Teaching


Worldwide, the demand for English as a Second Language or ESL teachers is growing year-on-year. That means following this career path opens up a wealth of opportunities for those who relish a challenge and who are eager to make a real difference in the lives of others.

Becoming a teacher of ESL isn’t too difficult in itself, but it’s significantly harder to be an excellent one. If you want to do the best job you can and really enable your students to achieve, you could benefit from some signposts to the pathway towards ESL teaching success.

So, let’s take a closer look, not only at how to become an ESL teacher in the first place but also how to bring out the best in your learners and excel in your chosen career.


Teaching ESL Is A Life-Changing Role

If you’re considering becoming an ESL teacher, the first thing you need to understand is that it’s not like any other job. You’re empowering people all around the globe to make international connections and open new doors to opportunities. But what does the role involve? And how do you embark on this exciting and rewarding profession? What should you know about ESL teacher training?

As long as you’re proficient in the English language, and preferably a native speaker, you have many of the basic skills to start training. While having a university degree is an advantage, it isn’t always a requirement – the most important qualification that you’ll need is the internationally recognised TEFL certification.

This certificate demonstrates that you’ve obtained the right knowledge and skills to teach English as a Second Language. It not only ensures that you’re well-equipped with the correct understanding of how the English language works, but also that you know how to impart that knowledge to others effectively and in a way that learners can engage with.

Where Can I Teach ESL?

Once you’ve obtained your TEFL certificate, you’ll then be ready to follow your chosen career path. That may involve teaching non-native English speakers in your home country to improve their communication skills or working online as an ESL teacher or tutor to individuals or groups of students. Alternatively, you may decide to head overseas to work in a public or private educational institution or language school, teaching either children or adults as they develop and hone their speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills.

No matter which type of learners you’re working with, or what setting you’re teaching in, you’ll face unique challenges that require you to tap into your inner resources and come up with creative solutions. It’s the ability to do this that will make you stand out as a successful ESL teacher. So, what do you need to know to excel in this field?

Creating A Positive Classroom Environment

One of the most important things you need to know to become a successful ESL teacher is how to create a positive classroom environment where all learners feel confident, safe, and welcomed. Your students should feel able to ask questions, speak out, embrace creativity, and engage with their classmates and you without experiencing any anxiety or fear of embarrassment.

No matter whether you’re teaching in a virtual setting or a physical classroom, it’s possible to create an environment where all your learners know that they are able to express themselves and make mistakes on their learning journey without any worries or concerns.

Talking Time Is Crucial

While it’s vital to deliver your lesson content to your learners and ensure that you are teaching them the vital grammar and vocabulary that they need, it’s also important to remember that your input isn’t enough to foster effective learning. Your students need to practice what they’re learning by talking and engaging both individually and as a group. You should aim for your students to talk for a minimum of 60% of each class, and preferably 75%, while you stay quiet and listen.

Make Learning Fun

One of the best tools to harness to be a successful ESL teacher is humour. The more fun you can make learning, the more your students will engage with the lesson content and the more they’ll understand. Introduce funny yet interesting discussion questions to the group, implement creative exercises and play some games with your students so they feel as if they’re enjoying themselves, not sitting in a dull lecture. The more active, fast-paced and fluid your lessons, the more effectively your learners will take in the information that you’re trying to impart and the more comfortable they will feel in sharing that knowledge with the group.

Seeking Out Feedback

All good teachers will reflect on the lessons that they deliver. It’s fair to say that not every class will go as planned, and some may fall short of your expectations. But it’s important not to allow the things that went wrong to overshadow the next day’s classes. Take the time to reflect on everything that worked well and the things that could have gone better and decide why that was the case. Seeking feedback from your students and other professionals is also crucial in any ESL classroom, so discuss with your colleagues, share your resources, encourage others to observe your work, and even ask your learners their opinions to inform how you approach future lessons.

Enjoy An Exciting And Rewarding Career

Working as an ESL teacher is an extremely rewarding experience that allows you the opportunity to gorge genuine and positive connections with other people from all over the world. Yet it’s vital to understand that the pathway to success in this field involves lifelong learning and willingness to adapt and change. With the right approach, you’ll learn just as much from your students as they learn from you, and that’s one of the aspects that makes ESL teaching such an exciting and engaging job. So, if you’re ready to embrace the challenge, there’s no time like the present to embark on this thrilling adventure of education!

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