7 tricks for landing a GREAT job teaching English as a second language and
keeping it

Have you dreamed of living in a foreign country, traveling
around the world, or meeting new people and experiencing new cultures?

Maybe you have, and thought that it was inaccessible or out
of reach. Let me tell you, it’s not!

Like you, I had a keen interest in international travel,
and wanted to get out of the USA.

I was a somewhat seasoned IT professional. Life was great,
until the bottom fell out of the IT Market in the 90’s. . . I realized that I
was competing against people from all around the world, in a market I wasn’t
really that interested in, and that if I wanted to stay ahead, it was going to
require continual study, certification and re-certification for the rest of my

So I decided to take off. Initially, I worked for a
management consulting company in India that outsourced Contact and Call centers
from the West. I did really well, and ended up being a vice president of that
company. Later, I taught English in China, India, and finally, in Thailand,
where I’ve stayed ever since.

Teaching English or ESL can be a very rewarding experience
for the right person. In many cultures, teachers are held in very high esteem,
and you’ll make a great salary, that will allow you to live a very comfortable

If you want to land that dream ESL Teaching jobs, there are
a few tips that will help you out immensely.

Look for jobs in the country where you want to teach.
It’s relatively easy to find jobs in China, Korea, Japan, etc. online, but you
never know what you’re getting into until you’re there. It’s a great idea to
go ahead and get a “lay of the land”, take a look at the school in question,
and meet and talk with some other ESL teachers who you will work with.
They’ll be able to give you lots of great information on the potential job
that will help you make a better decision.

In some countries, like Thailand
and many others, it’s difficult to get hired from outside of the country. So
just plan on a short vacation, that may turn into a long term stay, and be sure
to take enough money to return home, or to another country you’re interested in
if things don’t work out.

Dress to impress! You don’t need to show up for an
interview wearing a three piece suit, but you need to look like a teacher. A
nice, ironed/pressed shirt, a pair of slacks, and ALWAYS a tie should serve you well.

Bring copies of all of your qualifications with you to
an interview. You’ll need copies of your original Bachelors degree, any TEFL
or ESL teaching certifications you have, and in some countries like Korea,
you’ll need originals of your transcripts from university.

Get a ESL/TEFL teaching certificate! There are lots out
there. The most recognized is probably the CELTA, offered through Cambridge
University at many locations throughout the world. The CELTA is a four week
course with an observed teaching practicum. If you’re looking for the better
jobs in the EFL/ESL world, CELTA is definitely the way to go. There are lots
of other certificate programs that you can choose from, and even many online.
Just remember – If you’re interviewing against similarly skilled and
experienced candidates, the better your credentials are, the better your
chance of landing the position!

Emphasize ANY teaching and/or training experience that
you may have had on your resume. If you taught a Sunday school class at your
Church, have trained people at work, or have any relevant experience with
children or education and training, this is much more important than being the
A1 bean-counter of the year at your previous position.

Talk with other teachers and learn about their classroom
management style. This is a key factor, especially in teaching young
learners. You may bet the worlds most gifted grammarian, but if you can’t
lead a classroom of energetic 10 year olds, you’ll be lost, or burn out very

Try to learn all of the subtleties of the culture that
you can, and especially the ones which will affect your job of teaching ESL!
For instance, in many Asian cultures, children are VERY reluctant to tell you
the names of their parents, because the other students will call them by their
parents name. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but for the students,
its something of an insult to their family and specifically their parents.
So, if you have an exercise in your course material where the student tells
their name, their favorite food, the names of their family members, etc. you
may want to adjust this to fit the specific culture you’re teaching in.

Once you begin teaching ESL, you’ll learn to rely on your
colleagues who are more experienced, and who are successful as ESL/EFL
teachers. With young learners, make classroom management your main priority
from the start, and you’ll reap the rewards of a great class later on!

If you’re interest in more information and articles about
teaching English as a second language or English as a foreign language, please
visit the public website of The World ESL Society at

There are many different English as a Second Language jobs in the United States and abroad, which all have varying educational requirements and job specifications. English as a Second Language (ESL) is also known as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL). All of the teaching English as a Second Language jobs are focused on teaching English to people who have a different native language that they currently speak in. Teaching English to people in the United States and in other countries can provide many benefits to the students, and in U.S. schools it is often necessary in areas with large immigrant populations.

If you are seeking English as a Second Language jobs, you will have many different opportunities and many different routes to choose from. Since there are so many different job environments and locations one can work in within this area of the educational world, many different types of people can get ESL jobs as a result. If you want to travel and see the world while earning a salary, for example, you could search for ESL jobs overseas. There are many opportunities to teach English to students in other countries through various employment agencies. There is an abundance of work in Asian countries such as South Korea, so if you have an itching to get immersed in Eastern culture this is a great way to do so.

More conventional options include domestic teaching English as a Second Language jobs, where the students live and learn in the United States. Most jobs are at public schools, but there are also ESL jobs at private schools. In areas such as the Southwest and Texas, many Spanish speakers from Mexico and South America need specialized instruction, but this career is not only a job for teaching English to Spanish speakers as some might imagine. Immigrants and refugees from all over the world might require special help adjusting to the English language upon moving to the United States.

There are also English as a Second Language jobs online, so whatever your career goals and preferences, there is an ESL job for you.

When one is looking for a way to learn a English it can often be a difficult task to find a decent course. In such cases, it will likely be beneficial to that person to know about some of the tips of finding English course that exist. This article goes through some of the key such tips in detail so that a person who is looking to learn his or her second language will find it easier to get the right course.

Contacting a local library can be a fantastic way of finding ESL courses. Many libraries actual host these lessons. If this is not the case, however, they will likely be able to direct a person in the right direction in order to find a course. Thus, going to such a location can be very useful to a person.

With the growing importance of the internet as a place for information, it is generally very recommendable to check there as well as in other mediums. There are, for instance, many job boards and forums that can provide key information about language courses in ones area.

A type of course that is becoming more and more popular in many areas is the distance learning course. This can offer people the opportunity to learn their desired language from home or while traveling and where ever else they might find themselves with a couple of minutes spare time. Hence, for example, if a person is at work for large amounts of each day, he or she may be able to study these courses on lunch brake. These courses can be inquired about on the internet.

Colleges and schools can be great places to find language courses. In many cases the teacher at such a location will be very well trained, and probably a native speaker of the language that is being taught. As well as this, colleges and schools will be able to direct a person in the right direction to learning a language.

Phone directories are often great places to find language courses. Many people will often advertise their courses in these books. One might be able to find smaller courses here such as one-to-one learning. Thus, this can be a great place to look for more intimate ways of learning.

Before any course is selected, one of the first things that it is probably best to do is make sure one has enough time set aside to have lessons. Knowing this information will help a person to better know which courses are for himself or herself, and which are not.

Several useful tips of finding Study English in Toronto course exist. These include: contacting libraries, colleges and schools to get advise and help. Phone directories can also be great for finding courses. And, the internet is often host to much information that might point a person in the right direction. Keeping all of these options in mind can help a person to be more able to know where the right courses exist, and how to apply for them.

Do you have any plan to pursue your further education abroad? Will you need English for your career or your education? If so, you may wish to investigate your options for learning, or improving, your English skills.

The TOEFL Test: TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language) is a test used by many colleges, universities, government agencies and exchange and scholarship programs in the US, UK and Canada as a means of evaluating the language skills of a person whose first language is not English.

You can find TOEFL study guides easily online with other recommended resources listed. You may be able to access some of the sample tests and prepare with personal study. Or you may look for a class with an instructor to help you prepare for the test.

ESL Classes: ESL classes are a common means for students to learn English with group of classmates. These can be in the form of an evening class with various individuals attending or may be part of a college program during the day.

The course length and the topics covered will differ from country to country and school to school. Some summer programs are geared for international students to gain a basic grasp of the language before starting studies in English taught classes of the college or university.

Since the standards of passing a course, or the course material itself, will vary drastically, some students may feel that the language skills gained upon completing the course does not equip them to handle school work or social interactions adequately.

Some schools offer students and alternative of home-stay programs for students. Home-stay programs benefit the student by placing them for several weeks or months with a host family that speaks English. The student is then able to immerse him or herself in the culture and social speaking of the English country they are living in. There are also online ESL programs that may be suitable for distance education, especially if programs are not readily available in your area.

Private Tutors: Another popular method of learning English is with private tutors. The materials and methods used by ESL tutors will vary greatly and it is important to establish what material will be used and to feel comfortable with the tutor. Asking friends or other students for references can be helpful in finding a good tutor.

A combination of these English learning methods will be effective as well. You can take a summer course while staying with a home-stay host family and then arranging for private tutoring during the school year. Making an effort to use your new language skills regularly in social situations will improve your progress regardless of the program or course you are using.

Teaching English as a second language is an increasingly popular option awaiting adults in the US and Canada. It allows the teachers an opportunity to get to know people from other cultures and also to learn their culture through immersion. Such programs are abundantly available in local communities to help natives who want to learn English. This article, however, will concentrate on teaching English abroad.

So why would someone want to teach English in another country? First, it is an opportunity to learn another language through immersion, and get paid for it! Unfortunately, the pay isn’t always that great so don’t plan to get rich. It is, however, an opportunity to use a learned language daily and this is the best way to make a language one’s own. Students who have learned a language in school often find it a giant step to use it in daily living. Teaching English abroad is a great chance to learn how the people use their own language.

Second, it is a great chance to get to see other cultures first hand. A culture is a combination of many factors, including language, that make a people group unique. Experiencing it in the country and with the people is the best way to learn it. That is exactly what ESL teaching positions offer. Third, think of the reward you will experience as you help others not only to learn English, but also to understand what Americans are really like!

Most Americans are already qualified; they know English! Of course, that doesn’t mean they know how to teach it. Therefore, most opportunities demand a minimum certification such as TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language, Canada), or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). One example of ESL training is offered from ITTO (International Teacher Training Organization). In four weeks of intensive training in Mexico, they guarantee certification and a job in Mexico! Programs available in other countries are similar. A host of other certification programs are also available.

The first step to prepare for future employment as an ESL teacher is to learn English grammar well! Volunteer to work with local ESL children and adults. This will hone your skills in English. Read good English literature that uses grammar correctly. Tell friends to correct your grammar if they notice an error. In short, get to know your own language as well as possible. Then, take courses in community colleges or universities that prepare you for ESL certification. One school offers 12 additional hours of classes (beyond a B.A.) just dealing with ESL teaching. This seems to be typical. Online courses are also available.

English is now the universal language and is spoken by people all around the world. Being an English teacher in a different country is a rewarding experience. Each country has its own uniqueness as well as their own language. It is indeed interesting to note that 75 countries world wide opt for English as their first language. Countries like Japan, China and Russia choose to teach only their native language. Even in countries like France, Germany and Italy people speak only their native tongue and not English. Due to this they have lagged behind in the advancement in technology world. Since computers are in English these countries have a draw back (as they don’t know English) and unable to compete in the global arena.

Indians have moved up the ladder thanks to their expertise and fluency in English language and have taken the IT world by storm. All the software’s are in English and programmed by Indians and Americans only because of their proficiency in English. Realizing the need to learn English, many foreign countries are recruiting native English speakers to their country to teach English. Once you move to a foreign land opportunities widen and you may even move on to other spheres of life. Businesses attach importance to youngsters who have taught English in a foreign country. This is due to the fact that they are exposed to various cultures and learn to imbibe it into their lifestyle giving birth to creativity. Being an ESL teacher adds weight age to their resume.

As a young educated person becoming an ESL teacher is great because it helps to gain a new perspective on life, to quickly pay off your student loans, to travel to exotic locations, or to be immersed in an unfamiliar culture. The decision to teach ESL is to earn money, and explore the world. Later when they choose to teach at university this foreign teaching experience comes in handy. In countries like United States of America or United Kingdom, where there are students of all ethnicity and races it is indeed useful for an ESL teacher if he/she has foreign teaching experience. Understanding and bonding with students is most important for a teacher.

Being an ESL teacher in a foreign country is a valuable asset and gives a competitive edge to the individual. Since English is the official language for business communication, even countries who never recognized it before are recruiting teachers from abroad to teach English. They don’t wish to lag behind due to this handicap. If you become an ESL teacher in a foreign country for at least one year you will be awarded with a certificate that helps in you attaining future jobs. Or if you wish to study further and complete your doctorate, this teaching experience helps you in attaining experience and exposure to various cultures. Becoming an ESL teacher in a foreign country opens doors to opportunities wide for higher education and job opportunities that were unattainable before.

Besides free accommodation and boarding, you also can take your spouse along and lead a wonderful life that you have always longed for. Not to forget that the remuneration is very good. Both of you can teach, as many schools prefer to have couples so that accommodation can be shared.

Experiencing culture shock is natural when you move abroad – here’s what you can do about it.

The moment I stepped off the plane in Osaka, Japan I was already bleary-eyed and bone-tired. I had spent the trip flying across the world in a half-sleep because my seat on the plane was so uncomfortable it felt like a tee-shirt wrapped around a stadium chair.

This was nothing new for me. I had become used to the 15 hour flight because my role as a recruiter for a private educational company focusing on ESL and teaching English in Japan to children. Our recruiters from our offices in Los Angeles, Toronto and Chicago have meetings with our corporate staff in Okayama, Japan throughout the year. These short business trips are tough on my body but they are a breeze compared to my first cultural transition in 2003 when I first traveled there to teach English in Japan.

When I first moved to Japan as an instructor teaching English to children in an EFL setting, I found my train ride after my flight arrived a bit nerve-wracking. The signs were all in Japanese and English at first as my guide books promised but the scrolling electronic menus of arriving stations on the train were only in Japanese and so too were the voices over the intercom and the billboards we zipped past. I remember asking the clerk at the newspaper stand how much it cost for an English newspaper in my simple Japanese and he stood there smiling, unable to comprehend what I had said. It was official, I was illiterate in Japan. I was immersed in the cultural shock every travel book describes.

Moving abroad is a unique challenge and if you would someday like to live abroad – especially if you desire to teach English in Japan – it is critical to become actively involved in a key cultural transition, your own.

If you plan someday to work in Japan or teach English in Japan, keeping in mind the following steps will help anyone ambitious enough to leave their own culture for another.

– Get serious now, so you’ll have fun later. If you are applying for a job that requires you to move abroad, do your research before the interview about the country. This is especially true if you plan to teach English in Japan. Talk to acquaintances and friends who have lived abroad in the country where you would like to go and listen to their experiences. Ask questions and then when it is time to interview you’ll be that much more informed. Don’t just limit your research to chat rooms on the internet. Even though there are websites with postings from the legions of ESL teachers teaching English as a second language, these places are helpful for prescient information can sometimes be trolling grounds of the misinformed or disenfranchised. Go to the library and find a good travel book and write down the books on the suggested reading list and start reading!

– Take responsibility. No one can better organize your departure and imminent arrival in a new country better than you. Quickly the tasks will mount and you could end up feeling overwhelmed. Don’t worry this is common. Start small and write everything down. Now once you compile this list of tasks, start working your way down and check them off one by one. However, if you are within a month from departure make sure it is all about the practical side. How will you be bringing money? Where will you get your prescriptions filled? What shots do you need? These are important questions to answer during your last month. Also, if you can’t fit it into your checked luggage while packing, don’t bring it! Put your overflow into a box that a family member can send you or bring with them later on when they come for a visit.

– Accept a helping hand. The candidates we send who apply as English teachers in Japan begin their journey abroad as soon as they accept their position in their home country. We begin a paper work process with them at this point but it should also involve learning about the culture, history and values of their destination. Hired candidates who actively pursue this information early on in the process adjust better and have a stronger understanding of what is going on around them, even if they don’t yet know the language. These candidates, of course, become more effective English teachers. Most companies implement their own orientation process prior to departure; make sure the company you’ve been hired by is one of them. We do our best to help our candidates adjust initially when they arrive. The assumption is that they will take over the process after they get moved in.

– Getting settled is no small thing. Our hired English teachers who have made the transition well are flexible and not easily rattled. They possess this confidence because they have thoroughly done their research and they are dedicated to making it work. There will always be rough days so account for them! How will you reach your family or friends when you have a difficult day at work? You can skype, blog, instant message or text your friends if you already have a way to get in touch with those that are important to you while you are adjusting. Teachers who move into the apartments we provide as a company and get settled in quickly also adjust much faster. This is a simple task but a very important one. Put those pictures up on the wall. Find a great local store that you can purchase food you like. Find a great place to work out or get a decent haircut. These are simple tasks but no small thing when adjusting abroad.

– You’ve gotten this far, go the distance! Probably one of the most frustrating things as a recruiter is when I had an English teacher who was homesick give up and head back home. Having a hard day here in the U.S. is an occasional occurrence but one that we often have to endure. The same is true for when you are living abroad. Candidates who have adjusted well find what they like to do in the country that they are living in. Do you like to play sports or go for a run? Are you interested in traditional arts and culture? Do you want to find a faith-based group to communicate with? All of these elements of our daily life are things that we underestimate the importance of until we live abroad and they are not readily available. The key thing is to not wait for your new life to come knocking at your door. You have to get up and go find it using the same determination and boldness that got you there in the first place.

As you can see, achieving success when you get to another culture is dependent on what you have accomplished before you left. Get started today with your great adventure by finding out where you’d like to live and work someday so you don’t get lost in the transition.

An ESL Student’s Checklist for Systematic Self-Editing of Written Work (aimed at high school and university but should be used earlier).

Writing is difficult for the beginner and doubly so in a foreign language. My checklist covers the basics. This page was developed in South Korea, at Honam University, but can be adapted for writers the world over.

Korean English teachers (and the droves of instant ESL teachers) do not have the time and often do not have the skill to edit (correct and critique) their students’ written work. This is a fact of life in crowded high schools, colleges and universities. Editing written work is so time consuming because the quality produced by students is often very low. A full re-write is often needed and that is not the teacher’s job. The problem is being passed through the school system and goes uncorrected. Yes, class size is too large in the high schools and universities but I see the main problem being teachers who are not organizing students to self-edit their own and their classmates’ work. Every class should make and boldly display the following checklist on the wall, and every student’s notebook should have a copy pasted on the first page for reference. Teachers cannot expect students to guess their way through the editing process. Let’s all be systematic.

1. Use spell-check or a dictionary.

2. Capitalize: names, countries, states, provinces, county, business names, 1st letter of a sentence, days, months, etc.

3. Punctuation marks: .,”!?/{[(:;

4. Plurals: leaf/leaves horse/horses this/these a/an.

5. Check sex/gender: My mother he is a hard worker.

6. Check positional (prepositions) and article words (in, on, under, at, of, to, a, an, the).

7. Tense: present, past, future (or general past with had and have). Simplify: Avoid using have and had as it is more complex.

8. Eliminate redundancy: e.g… It was a big, large, gigantic, sizable house.

9. Shorten sentences: Avoid long rambling statements; old fashion and may confuse.

10. Avoid overuse of a word. Check the thesaurus and avoid being a bore.

11. Avoid too much generality. Give specifics. Give useful data in your compositions.

Wrong: I have a brother and two sisters.

Right: I have three siblings, Jennifer 2, Cindy 5, and Bob 14 years.

12. Your composition (story/ report) must have logical flow. Check logical order (see #11 next).

13. Use paragraphs and headings. Headings will give logical order and flow. They are like an artist’s sketch lines or a movie maker’s story boards.

14. Avoid ambiguity (words with 2 or more meanings). Ambiguous words/expressions confuse your readers. Eg.. article means a thing and a story in a magazine.

15. Think of your readers, your audience, when you read your own work. Who will read it? Will they be confused?

16. Think of the tone or message. Is the writing meant to be funny or serious?

17. Korean grammar is quite different from English so students cannot construct common English grammatical sentences unless they read, listen to and use 2-step translations.


Korean: Ad-u-she, kim-bap du-gay jusa-yo.

step#1 Direct translation: Mister, rice-rolls two give me.

step #2 English grammar: Mister, give me to rice rolls (please).

Students get mixed up when they try to go directly from Korean to step #2.

Poetry often breaks all the rules, so disregard the above!

Teachers of EFL, English as a Foreign Language, are almost constantly strapped for time and fresh materials to use in their English classes. If they teach in a non-English speaking country, the situation can reach critical proportions quickly and often. With the advent of the internet, however, authentic readings in English are now only a few mouse clicks away. But what to do with these snippets of information can be perplexing – even overwhelming, especially to fairly new, inexperienced EFL teachers. ESL, English as a Second Language teachers in an English-speaking country usually have a much easier time of getting materials. But, let’s look at a short historic passage of authentic English and explore some ways it could be used and re-used multiple times for a variety of didactic purposes. Here’s a 175 word complete article for starters:

A Day Well Spent

Business boomed in Cooperstown, NY. on the July day in 1805 when George Arnold, a local resident, was to be publicly hanged for murder. Merchants and street vendors did a capacity trade with the thousands of visitors from the countryside who came to witness the spectacle. At noon a brass band enlivened a procession of uniformed troops, noted citizens, and the condemned man, who was riding in a cart, to the newly erected gallows. There, a minister preached a sermon, dignitaries made speeches, and Arnold spoke his last words. The sheriff put the noose around the condemned man’s neck – and then announced regretfully that this was as far as the ceremony could go. A reprieve from the governor had come early that morning, the sheriff explained, but the town officials had let the preparations go on because they hadn’t wanted to disappoint anybody. While the crowd howled, Arnold collapsed and was carried back to jail – there to serve a life term – and Cooperstown counted the day (and the visitors’ money) well spent.

So, what could be done with this piece? Lots, that’s what. For example:

o Extract key vocabulary to make crossword or word find puzzles

o Take out the key vocabulary to create a fill-in-the-blanks exercise

o Create a cognitive pairs or matching exercise

o Work with a grammar point like reported speech based on the passage

o Use the passage for regular or irregular verb exercises

If you’d like to use the passage elements for further research you could easily:

o Create a web quest for students online

o Recommend additional related readings on history or topical information

o Have students write a different ending or plot twists for the passage

o Use the passage or its elements as a spring board for further discussion

o Investigate related themes such as methods of execution

o History and geography of the locale are other good possibilities

o Look for pictures and photos related to the passage and topic areas

But there’s more that might be done with even this short, basic piece. To generate speaking you might want to use activities

o to promote pronunciation practice

o to have students generate dialogues based on information in the reading

o have students enact scenes generated from elements in the reading

Then there’s always the possibility of making up some “standard” exercises based on the reading passage like:

o multiple choice questions

o true – false questions

o sentence or word unscrambles

o re-ordering of the sentences

o give sentences from the passage as “answers”, students write the questions

Additionally, you can always have students write a composition or opinion essay on the passage itself or some particular aspect of the passage. Had enough yet? Well you get the idea. Deepen and expand on one or any number of related topic areas to extract the maximum from any piece you come up with and you’ll be a lot less hard-pressed for ideas and materials. Don’t forget to have fun while you’re at it too.

Avalos and her colleagues published an article in the December 2007 issue of the Reading Teacher that discussed how they modified guided reading groups (MGR) for English Language Learners (ELLs). 

Certainly many of us follow a Balanced Literacy framework of Modeled Reading, Shared Reading, Guided Reading, and Independent Reading to teach reading in our classroom. The question now is how to accommodate for our ESL students in our guided reading groups?

ESL and ELL students can benefit from some very specific instruction (delivered by guided reading):

   1. detailed vocabulary instruction,

   2. information (variables) concerning second-language (L2) text structure (i.e. semantics, syntax, and morphology)

   3. Targeted (Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP, i.e. academic language vs colloquial / social language) instruction

   4. cultural relevance

   5. reading, speaking, listening and writing practice.

As teachers, the reality is that we have many Special Education students and ESL students integrated into our regular classrooms. Here is one way to modify a guided reading lesson for our ESL students:

   1. Determine objectives based on instructional needs

   2. Group students by name and oral L2 instructional reading level

   3. Select guided reading book based on objective and reading level

   4. Analyze the text and identify challenges for ELL students

         a. Semantics: vocabulary, figurative language, homophones

         b. Grammar: complex syntax, punctuation

         c. Text structure: narrative, expository

         d. Concept (cultural relevance)

         e. Strategy instruction (think alouds, prediction, etc)

Although many of us with ESL training will automatically by finding ways to adapt our reading program for our Engilsh Language Learners, it’s still important to remember that explicit instruction of reading strategies is best practices for everyone – ranging from ESL students to our Special Education students to our mainstream students in the regular program.