Your career prospects as an ESL teacher

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The trainee or novice ESL teacher might often wonder about what sort of career lies ahead in the world of ESL teaching.

With patience and experience, the novice ESL teacher will discover that ESL teaching can offer a very rewarding and varied career. Here is a simplified description of some of the typical career paths that an ESL teacher can follow within the field of ESL. The first career path would necessitate you remaining in the school system. After several years of teaching, the first step on the career ladder will lead to the post of deputy head of department’ or ‘head of department’ (HoD).

In addition to ESL teaching, as a (deputy) HoD you will also be responsible for supervising and directing other ESL teachers and ensuring the smooth running of your ESL department. The next step on the career ladder is the ‘director of studies’ (DoS) post.

This is quite a ‘high powered’ post in the world of TEFL: as a DoS, you will be primarily responsible for the management and delivery of the school’s ESL curriculum. Promotion beyond this post will lead to the post of ‘deputy headmaster/principal’ (DH) or ‘headmaster/principal’. The (deputy) headmaster is responsible for the entire running of the educational institution. For those that do not intend to remain in the school system but still desire to work in the field of ESL, there are three other career paths: working as an ESL teacher trainer; working as an ESL author and working as an ESL university lecturer. Don’t be surprised if you come across people who engage in all three activities.

Even if you are just a general ESL teacher, if you have the right number of years of experience in teaching ESL along with some further educational qualifications – you could find yourself working in a college training ESL trainee teachers. Working as an ESL author can be a very rewarding experience: especially if your books become used internationally. If you are lucky enough to work as an ESL author for a well-known publishing house, you will also make a name for yourself.

Being an unknown author, you should start as an e-book author. Working as an ESL university lecturer is an occupation that carries a lot of cachets, but it is the hardest career path to follow: primarily because you will need a PhD. Although this is a difficult career path to follow, for those of you that are exceptionally talented – it is a career worth pursuing. As can be seen, ESL teaching can open a variety of interesting career paths: you don’t have to stay in the classroom for the rest of your life – unless you wish to.

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