Pros of Teaching ESL at Home

Do you want to make a difference in people’s lives without leaving your friends and family behind for a foreign country? You may want to consider teaching ESL in your own home country. Teaching ESL domestically is not a glamorous choice for ESL teachers, but it’s a career path with many hidden benefits for you and your students.

The Benefits for You

Teaching ESL at home doesn’t quite give you the same bragging rights as going to Eastern Europe with the Peace Corps, but it still has plenty of perks to offer as a career path. Below are some benefits to choosing to teach ESL in your home country.

Summer vacation!

ESL teachers in public schools, private schools, and universities get the summers off. [1] Unlike your fellow teachers volunteering in high schools abroad, you truly get a break during the summer if you stay at home. You’ll probably have some professional development courses to attend, and you may choose to take on an extra certification or update your license, but there will be a few weeks every summer that are yours for relaxing. You don’t have a local language to learn or a new city to figure you. You aren’t going to find yourself cooped up in your room in your host family’s house because you haven’t made any friends yet. As a domestic ESL teacher, you can reach out and help others without leaving the comfort and relationships of your home nation behind. If you want to travel, you can go anywhere you want, and you won’t have to worry about working while you’re there.

Do what’s right for you

There is more than one way to teach ESL domestically. Being a classroom teacher in a public or private school is only one of many paths a local ESL teacher can take. If you don’t like working with children, you can teach ESL at a community college or university. If you don’t like getting up in the morning, you can private tutor after school or on weekend afternoons. There are numerous private language schools, tutoring agencies, and community resource centers looking for ESL teachers. So there’s no need to resign yourself to working at a public high school if you don’t want to. Take your time, do your research, and choose a job that satisfies both your financial and your lifestyle needs.

Meeting new and interesting people

ESL teachers have the unique opportunity to meet students from all walks of life. [1] Whether you’re private tutoring visiting business people or working in a public elementary school, you’re in the convenient position of meeting people from all over the globe without having to leave the borders of your hometown (or at least, the city you work in). Your students could be foreign exchange students from Dubai, teenagers who grew up in French-speaking Quebec, or toddlers whose parents just immigrated from Poland. No matter what kind of job you choose, you’ll inevitably build close personal relationships with people from all over the globe, and you won’t have to travel any further than your daily commute.

Beyond the traditional classroom

Though many domestic ESL teaching jobs are more traditional classrooms in public or private schools, there are a variety of options for ESL teachers who choose to stay in their home country. Below are a few non-traditional methods of teaching ESL at home.Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

Private tutoring

Private tutoring provides domestic ESL teachers with flexible work schedules, more autonomy over their lessons, and often more money. If you’re not thrilled about being on the 9-5 grind, private tutoring allows you a lot more control over your schedule. You can teach in the morning or at night, during the week or over the weekend. You can tutor adults, children, teenagers, or a mix. Since most private tutors teach only one or two students at a time, they are better able to tailor their lessons to meet their students’ learning needs and goals. As a private tutor, you may also find yourself building closer personal relationships with your students, and sometimes with their families, partners, or co-workers. Private tutors also tend to make more money per hour than classroom teachers, while simultaneously providing their students with a cheaper, more convenient alternative to enrolling in ESL courses at a local university or community center.

The virtual classroom

Supplementing your income by teaching ESL online is a great way to earn extra money without the hassle that often accompanies juggling two jobs. [2] This is a particularly good option for teachers who truly love to teach. Teaching a few classes online before you go to work or for a few hours on your weekend can add a significant bump to your weekly income, flex your teaching muscles in new and interesting ways, and open up the opportunity to meet people who live all over the globe. More and more colleges and universities are adding online courses to their catalog. [2] Getting contracted with a local university to teach virtual ESL courses is an interesting teaching option that offers you the convenience of working not just in your hometown, but literally inside your home. Teaching online courses with a university is a much more respected way to teach ESL than freelancing, and is something you can put on your resume as teaching experience if you want to get a better job in the future.

How to Get Yourself Started

It’s much easier to find a job teaching online or abroad than it is to teach ESL at home. [3] But don’t let that stop you. The extra work that domestic ESL teachers have to put in at the beginning will more than pay off in terms of job security, income stability, and the potential for professional development.

Degrees and Certifications

Different US states and English-speaking nations around the world have different minimum qualifications for local ESL teachers. Your first time should be to do your research and figure out what the requirements are to teach in your desired state or country. That being said, a bachelor’s degree, TEFL certification, and a teaching license are usually the minimum requirements to teach ESL in an English-speaking nation. Some states or countries will accept foreign licenses or licenses from other states. Other regions are more strict. Some individual schools will require a master’s degree, others won’t. Take a look at a variety of job postings in the state or country you want to teach in to get a feel for what most schools are asking for.

Teaching Abroad

Abroad? But you want to teach ESL at home! Though it may sound a little paradoxical, sometimes the easiest way to get a job at home is to go abroad. Experience teaching abroad looks amazing on any resume, and will not only open doors to more ESL jobs when you get back home, but it can also open doors into careers in diplomacy, foreign affairs, and international business. [4] Like it or not, many domestic ESL jobs will prefer to hire teachers with prior experience. This can make it incredibly difficult for teachers who are just beginning their ESL careers to find work in reputable, accredited schools. Doing a year abroad, however, not only gives you that much-needed experience, but it proves to potential employers that you can positively interact with people from different cultural backgrounds, [4] a skill essential for all ESL teachers, no matter where or how they want to teach.

Finding a job

There are a variety of education institutions looking for ESL teachers in English-speaking nations. Working in a public or private school is only one option. Community colleges and universities also offer ESL programs. If you have a lot of experience teaching ESL, you may even consider teaching other teachers as part of a TEFL program or the ESL department at a local university. Community resource centers often offer ESL classes for local children and adults whose native language is not English. Immigration centers desperately need ESL teachers, as the process of becoming a citizen of the US or UK can be extraordinarily difficult for people who don’t speak or read English well. At home, you can teach literacy, tutor young children after school, or even run classes in prisons or hospitals. Get creative, do your research, and don’t feel boxed in by one option or another.

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Cheat Sheet and Key Takeaways

  1. Teaching ESL at home may not seem as exciting as going abroad, but it offers more benefits than you might think.
  2. Teachers in public or private schools get the summers off.
  3. There is more than one way to teach ESL domestically.
  4. Private tutoring or teaching virtual ESL classes with a local university are two non-traditional ways to teach ESL at home.
  5. Different US states and English-speaking nations around the world all have different minimum requirements for domestic ESL teachers.