Chances are you will have seen ESL (English as a Second Language) jobs advertised before and wondered whether or not this is something that you would like to give a go yourself. In this rewarding yet sometimes challenging role, you get the incredible opportunity to teach non-native speakers the English language – and there are a number of key skills you’ll need to do the job well, which this specialist program will teach you.
First, What Is an ESL Qualification?
Getting an ESL certificate means you will become qualified to teach English as a foreign language, which will allow you to travel around the world, working in classrooms in different countries and helping people understand the complexities of the English language.
However, the qualification also enables you to teach at home, too, giving tailored English lessons to non-English speakers living in your country. Plus, specialist ESL add-on licenses for already-qualified teachers also exist, affording them an extra avenue of teaching to pursue alongside their duties – one that’s particularly rewarding.
Whatever the case, be you a qualified and working teacher already or a fresh-faced beginner in the education sector with no prior experience, you’ll need to enlist yourself in an appropriate ESL program before you can take on such a role, whether at home or abroad.
Of course, there are numerous ways of getting ESL qualifications, such as in-person classes or an online ESL program offered by universities. Still, despite the various options designed for different people at unique stages in their professional life, each ESL program teaches you the following foundational skills, all of which are absolutely vital to becoming a standout ESL teacher.
Imagine you have taken to the classroom one day with a well-thought-out lesson plan that will teach students a fundamental in the English language. You stand at the front of the class and begin unwrapping the plan that you’ve worked so hard on, and absolutely nobody understands anything. Students are starting to become restless, confused, and perhaps even bored; now, it’s up to you to save the class.
This common teaching issue forms part of what an ESL program will teach you to handle. Not only will you learn about teaching English as a foreign language, but you will understand how to harness your instinct and try new things in class when it doesn’t seem to be going your way – all in ways that are creative and appropriate to the students you’re teaching so that they can learn effectively under your instruction.
Problem-solving like this is a skill that you see people in the classroom constantly refer to, and you’ll learn these crucial abilities, including how to stay calm under pressure while you discover how to overcome issues quickly when your students are struggling to understand or soak up information in the classroom.
If you’re teaching English as a foreign language, this will mean going up in front of a room full of people every day and being able to convey information to them confidently and clearly in a way they understand and extract from. Naturally, everyone has a slight fear of public speaking; as such, the idea of doing this at first is enough to make anyone uncomfortable. However, fear not, for this will be addressed in the ESL program of your choice.
Over time as you use the skills you learn in the ESL program, you will find yourself becoming a lot more comfortable with public speaking and will become confident in doing it every day without feeling so nervous. This is an important skill you will find invaluable not only in your role as a teacher but also in your everyday life.
The bottom line of teaching is communicating in such a way that people can understand what you say and learn from it – and remember, the people you will be teaching may not speak English at all, which makes your job all the more challenging.
However, as challenging as it may be at times, you’ll learn to properly harness your communication skills in an ESL program. You’ll learn how to convey a message to a room full of five to 30 or more students with minimal English abilities so that they can grasp what you say and take away key points of information from it as well. You will also learn about body language and how much this contributes to your overall public speaking, which is equally as important as your speech and teaching methods.