So you have decided to become an ESL teacher. You might still have many doubts regarding your skills or employability. In this article you can find answers to many questions that aspiring English teachers often ask themselves.
English is the only language I speak. Can I teach foreign students?
ESL classes are composed of students from many different countries. That means you can easily find classes where students speak ten or even fifteen foreign languages. Of course, it is not possible for an ESL teacher to understand all of these languages. So how can a teacher effectively teach a class of students speaking numerous foreign languages? Well, ESL teachers are not expected to speak foreign languages. English is the only language they need to be proficient in. Of course, knowing one or two foreign languages might make their job easier, but it is not necessary. While teaching English, you are supposed to speak only English. If your students do not have a decent level of proficiency in English, they might it difficult to follow your classes. But they will soon pick up. The best thing about language is that we automatically learn it when we are exposed to it.
That said, having proficiency is more than one language is helpful. People who speak more than one language tend to have a better understanding of the way languages work. If you plan to teach in a foreign country, a decent understanding of that country’s language and culture will definitely make life easier for you.
Are there any age limits for TEFL?
It depends. Some schools prefer mature teachers who already have decades of experience in teaching. Some other schools are more interested in recruiting younger teachers. If you are old, you should try looking for a school that recruits experienced teachers. Remember that no matter how old or young you are, the ESL teaching market is wide enough to accommodate all of you. That said, people under 21 and over 50 may find less opportunities than others. Also note that in some countries, there is a compulsory retirement age of 60 or 65. So if you are above 65, you can’t find employment there. You can also improve your chances of employability with a good TEFL certificate.