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

This is a standard topic to teach in ESL/EFL classes. Beginner teachers do not do a good job of it and I have seen students get mixed up or confused in Korea and Kuwait. In essence, a teacher’s job is to classify and explain two lists of words…





























chopped vegies









After teacher reviews the two lists with the class the students get the hang of it. Then ask the the class to classify the words into groups by circling them in coloured pen. They will need help. Basically, non-countable nouns are very small things like grains and flour and dust, as well as liquids/fluids and wet or messy or finely chopped foods. Countable nouns are big enough to be seen and counted easily and individually or things in containers like packets, boxes, bags,cans or standard units like kilograms. Note that sugar and ice can be be cubed and made countable.

Ask students to provide more examples of nouns and add them to the board.

The next step is to introduce the following English words which are generally used with countables OR non-countables.

*Some rice (non-countable)

*A spoon or plate of rice (countable container)

*Some soup (general non-countable)

*A cup or bowl of soup (more specific amount and in a countable container)

*A few apples, bananas, steaks, people etc. (countable)

*Many oranges/children (countable)

*Several mangos (general countable)

*A bit of flour/sugar/oil/dust (non-countable)

Note that we can say SOME people and also SOME dust. This special word, SOME, is not definite and can be used with both countables and non-countables.

After introducing this subject to a grade 11 Kuwait class I thought the students had a pretty good understanding. But then I gave homework asking students to use:

A few…, Some…. , A little… , A bit…., Several…, Many…. each with three examples of food. Some students made zero mistakes and others botched it badly. It was necessary to go over examples again and show that these words have to be used carefully and sometimes exclusively together with countables/non-coutables.

Finally I told a little canibalistic joke they liked. I said we can use the expressions “a bit and a little people” only if we chop them finely.

I hope somebody finds this useful.

Communication plays a vital role in today’s global challenge, be it in business or personal affairs. Among the often used mediums for communication, the English language serves as a pivotal force in bridging barriers in communication which can make or break international relations and state of affairs. Of the thousand or so business transactions that occur around the world in any given day, English dominates the front lines.

A Senior manager from Canada instructs business partners in the Philippines and Korea. An office manager from the United Kingdom drops a phone call to his contact in Japan, inquiring about his shipment of computer chips. In both examples, English primarily directs a surreptitious existence in the formation of global awareness and progress.

English is definitely a widely spoken language, brandishing 400,000,000 individuals who speak it as a second language and 350,000,000 or so claims it as their native tongue. Though the numbers do not necessarily imply the dominance of the English language or the exact number of users, it does, however depict the significance of English in the mainstream of universal growth.

If you’re from the United States, Canada or from any other native English-speaking nation, and you happen to visit an Asian country like Korea or the Philippines, you’ll never feel left out as more and more people today try their hardest to attain a command of the English language. Proficient speakers of English, as a second language, can be found everywhere.

Most paradigms have shifted, giving importance to the English language, as it had before. Schools have begun to focus on providing quality English instruction to students in elementary, high school, and even college to prepare their students to be globally competent. Schools in Korea have made it a point to hire native English speakers to properly educate Korean students in English. This task is met with the goal of producing quality English speakers, who can communicate and be equally competitive in the business arena. Among those institutions that stand out in their drive to educate students in the English language; Worknplay (worknplay.co.kr), provides quality ESL training to it’s teachers. It strives to provide quality English teachers to schools all over Korea, making students competitive in their academics and understanding of international affairs.

With this in mind, Asian countries should also take the foothold in improving the linguistic skills of their students, primarily the English language. Mastery of various languages will prepare everyone to be globally competitive.