TESOL & ESL Teacher Career

TESOL Teacher Overview

TESOL stands for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. This is a kind of teacher who is fluent not only in the English, but in various forms of English language culture communications, such as conversation, which might also include mores and hand gestures. Individuals who choose this line of work often have the opportunity to travel to different countries and to learn about different cultures. At the same time, TESOL teachers also can teach in their own countries to individuals from other countries who are learning how to speak English and how to adapt to their new environment.

While many people who become TESOL teachers also have backgrounds, degrees, or certificates in other kinds of education, it is not necessary. In most cases, a person who wants to pursue this path must have a bachelor’s degree and must take special classes and pass necessary standardized exams.

TESOL Teacher Job Description

A person who becomes TESOL teacher is an individual who works individually with students and who also teaches classes. This person often is responsible for choosing a teaching style, picking education materials, and even in some cases choosing learning environments. Much of this depends on the kind of environment in which he or she is working and the kind of objectives he or she has set for a class.

Here are some common concerns of a TESOL teaching professional:
• English language grammar education is essential and might require many challenging one-on-one sessions with students
• Basic writing education, covering issues such as clarity, syntax, research, resources, and even formatting can be taught in classroom environments, though this often also requires one-on-one tutoring.
• Conversation is an essential part of English language education. Students must be encouraged to speak with one another in English, with native English speakers, and with TESOL instructors. The idea is that students should learn conversation through concepts of immersion.
• Vocabulary includes the learning of new English words. Perhaps just as important is that students learn to use words correctly and in the proper context.

TESOL Teacher Education and Training

The educational requirements for an aspiring TESOL teacher are going to vary among programs and regions, though in almost every single case, individuals can expect to have to go through intensive educational programs in which they read plenty of TESOL pedagogy, explore various teaching methodologies and resources, and study case studies.

It also is common for TESOL trainees to have much firsthand experience prior to certification. For example, these individuals are required to work under the supervision of established TESOL teachers then they will be expected to conduct sessions on their own. In many cases, students who choose to teach to certain groups might have the opportunity to travel to relevant countries. For example, if you are interested in working primarily with Chinese students, you might get to spend a few months working closely with individuals in China.

Individuals who want to become TESOL teachers must also pass certification exams that not only demonstrate their knowledge of the English language, but also their understanding of TESOL pedagogy and teaching methodology.

TESOL Teacher Requirements

To become a TESOL teacher, it is necessary to:
• Have excellent communication skills and an interest in working closely with others
• Have a genuine respect and interest in other cultures. This kind of job often is a great learning experience for the teacher as well!
• Have a strong understanding of the English language, including an understanding of grammar and basic writing construction.
• Be able to keep up with new developments regarding teaching techniques and methods.

TESOL Teacher Outlook and Earnings

The good news is that if you are qualified, you certainly will find opportunities to become a TESOL teacher. You might even have the opportunity to travel the world, learn about different cultures, and have an all around fulfilling experience. Many people in the United States and all over the world would like to learn English since it is such a common language. With that being said, many TESOL teachers do get paid relatively less than many other kinds of teachers. Keep in mind, however, that this varies by organization and qualifications. If you have a master’s degree and years of teaching experience, for example, you might find that you make quite a bit more than a person with a bachelor’s degree who has no prior educational training or experience.


  • http://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/index.asp
  • http://esl.about.com/od/esleflteachertraining/bb/bydecidetefl.htm