A TESOL teacher quite simply is someone who Teaches English to Speakers of Other Languages. You may have seen similar acronyms online, such as ESL, TEFL and ESOL. But, they are all the pretty much the same thing.
You have probably read across the internet that TESOL teachers travel, teach around the world and enjoy experiences that many boring 9-5 desk jobs can’t offer. This is only partly true. TESOL can’t be defined under such a large umbrella. In fact, TESOL is many things to many people. If you want to travel and enjoy the world, you can do this, but you will have to work as well; no one will pay you to do nothing but travel! For others, TESOL is a profession, a profession that is trying to break stereotypes and establish itself as a science, or at least something as respectable as traditional teaching. In recent years, the TESOL evangelists have succeeded in the latter. TESOL teachers are becoming increasingly respected in western countries, as well as developing countries. Today, you can forge a career in this industry, and it is a career that many people love.
Here is the worst kept secret in the world; the English language is HUGE! This means opportunity, opportunity, opportunity. As a TESOL teacher, you can find work across the globe, teaching English to kids, teens, adults, businessmen, businesswomen, online, offline, to officials and dignitaries, the list goes on! English is likely to be around for a while yet, and with that, so will the opportunities.
If you’ve made it this far, hang on in there! You’re about to find out how you can change your life forever. Follow these steps, and you’re golden.
The cost of entry for most international jobs these days is a bachelor’s degree. Your bachelor’s is the paperwork. It represents 3 to 4 years of sweat and tears, but more importantly, it proves that you have attained a high level of education and you should be competent enough to teach, or be able to learn how to teach.
To become a TESOL teacher, you will need a TESOL qualification. 120 hours is the minimum requirement across the board these days, so it is recommended that you complete a course of this length. Additionally, most jobs offer some training, and if you join EF, you will get plenty of it.
You will want to consider the cost of living, access to amenities and safety. China has been at the top of the list for the past decade or so for many teachers. The country is relatively safe and the cost of living is low. In recent years China has had massive infrastructural improvements making it easy to get around, and there are most signs now have English as well as Chinese. Southeast Asia is also a cheaper option, with Thailand once being the very popular, but Indonesia is rapidly becoming a go-to destination.
At this stage, you should be pretty committed to the cause, and you have made up your mind (don’t turn back now; you will probably regret it later in life). When choosing a company, it is important to focus on more than just the money. Some companies offer big bucks to entice you to move abroad, but you need to think about other benefits and support. Make sure that you get full medical insurance, a legal working visa, and some training and accommodation for the first few weeks.
There’s not much more to it. Pack your bags, make sure you have everything, and enjoy your last few weeks or days with family and friends. You’re about to go on a life-changing journey.