Maybe you’ve had some experience teaching ESL and are looking to make a career out of it or are simply exploring your options. Teaching others the valuable skill of speaking English is a worthwhile and satisfying opportunity, but can it actually be financially supportive?
According to the 2012 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook, the median pay for ESL teachers was 48,590, at $23.36 per hour.
This number is a bit lower than the average salary of high school teachers but, while the occupational status of high school teachers has a projected job outlook of 6%, which is lower than average, ESL teachers have a projected outlook of 9%, which is equivalent to average. What does that mean? Essentially, between 2012 and 2022, the demands for this position will increase along with the national average, so there will be more job opportunities available.
Salary is not the only important factor in the decision to commit to TESL, so let’s brush up on a few details about the position.
Most states require ESL teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree, though the subject does not have to be specific to TESL or teaching. In addition to that, there is the option of taking a TESL course, which gives you an introduction to TESL strategies that will prepare you for entering the classroom. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recommends that you contact your state’s State Director of Adult Education to learn about the specific requirements in your state.
The majority of ESL teaching positions are held at junior colleges and elementary schools. These positions are oftentimes part-time and, when teaching adults, are usually timed around the work schedule, making evenings a very common time for class.
Teaching ESL is unique because you may not have a working knowledge of your students’ native language, so you’ll have to be up to the challenge of breaking down those barriers as you teach, being patient and acting as a guide when students face struggles with their language acquisition. Getting creative with your strategies is important to keep your students’ attention and make learning easier. LRNGO has links to many of today’s top, free ESL resources on its site, which make for a great guide to new teachers.
If you’ve got the travelling bug, TESL also gives you the opportunity to work abroad. The positions are oftentimes temporary, ranging from three months to a year, with a salary that varies from country to country. Popular destinations for teaching ESL include South Korea, China, Japan, Chile, and Quebec, amongst others, so you can use your talent to travel the world!
TESL is a rewarding occupation, no matter where you’re teaching it. You’ll get to help people grow in their English skills, which is a valuable tool that they will carry with them throughout their life.
Photo Credit: InterExchangeUSA
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