Were you recently thumbing through your college catalog in search of the perfect degree program for you? Have you eliminated many choices that you instantly knew did not suit your interests or your professional goals? Did you come across a degree program that said ESL and you were instantly intrigued even though you didn’t know exactly what this stood for? If you answered yes to these few questions, then you have definitely come to the right place. Keep reading below to learn all that you need to know about this potential career path so that you can make the best, most informed decision about your future.
First and foremost, the acronym ESL stands for English as a second language and in a professional capacity you would be teaching English to individuals whose first language was something other than English. Regardless of whether you are working with students whose primary language is Japanese, Russian, French, or Spanish you will be responsible for ensuring that they know how to adequately speak the English language, write the English language, and read written context in the English language. In many cases you will even be expected to teach your students comprehension techniques as they read and respond to a passage of English content. In some situations you will have the opportunity to teach ESL students within an educational setting inside the United States. However, if teaching English in an abroad setting is more your ultimate goal, there are many employment opportunities in that area, also. Keep in mind, should you decide to work in an abroad educational setting, you may be labeled as an EFL (English as a foreign language) teacher.
As an ESL teacher it will be possible for you to work within an elementary school setting, a high school setting, or even at the post-secondary level. Generally speaking, to be qualified to work as an ESL teacher you will need to have completed a teacher education program and specialized classes with regards to the English language and appropriate methods that can be used to teach this language to students. Start your foreign language degree training today from an accredited school. Similar to the responsibilities of other educational teachers, it will be important that you ensure that all of the learners within your class have the option to learn and that you deliver differentiated instruction that adequately addresses all types of students.
Of course, in order to be able to successfully communicate with your students you will also be required to be fluent in another language besides English. On any given day your instructional methods may include video segments for your students to watch and respond to, computer software programs that require your students to perform certain tasks, real life role playing activities, quizzes to assess their knowledge and level of understanding, and a series of rote pronunciation techniques. As you might expect, if the need arises you may find it beneficial to include additional teaching techniques to increase your students’ level of understanding and performance.