This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as a Teacher of English. This page details the following Information:-Other useful Teacher of English Work Information
Finding Suitable Work
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Working Duties Expected
Teachers of English as a Foreign Language teach English to people whose first or main language is not English. There are many reasons why people want to learn English: to help with their work or business; to get into college or university in an English speaking country; or to prepare for an exam.
Teaching English as a Foreign Language is widely known by the generic term TEFL. The teaching takes place in different settings, such as commercial language schools, further education colleges and language centres throughout the UK and overseas. This usually involves teaching small groups of students.
Teachers prepare language lessons and activities that are instructive, but also enjoyable. Normally, only English is spoken in class, and lessons cover reading, writing, listening and speaking. Teachers may use resources that are already available, but may also produce their own. Teachers set and mark tests and exercises for students.
Some TEFL jobs involve more than classroom work, particularly seasonal work for commercial language schools. Teachers may be expected to take students to sports and social events, trips to other towns, cities, local shops or museums, or organising drama or art activities. The aim is always to make the learning of English enjoyable and practical at the same time.
Some teachers concentrate on teaching English for business and other specialisms - known as TESP (Teaching English for Specific Purposes).
Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) is related to TEFL. It is for people whose first language is not English but who need to learn it for everyday purposes because they are living in the UK long-term or permanently. Both TEFL and TESL are covered by the term Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).
Hours and Environment
Hours can vary depending on the organisation or type of job. Some jobs involve evening and weekend work. Teachers spend many hours preparing lessons and materials, as well as classroom teaching. In some jobs, particularly in summer schools, teachers spend a lot of time supervising sporting and social activities. Some jobs are residential and involve living-in.
Most of the work is indoors in classrooms, but some time may be spent outdoors, eg on outings.
Skills and Interests
To be a teacher of English to speakers of other languages you should:
- have a good knowledge of English, particularly grammar
- have strong verbal and written communication skills
- be a good listener
- have lots of confidence and a lively personality
- have energy, patience and a good sense of humour
- get on well with people of all ages and from different backgrounds and cultures
- be able to adapt your teaching style to suit your students
- have the creativity to devise interesting lessons.
There are no set entry qualifications needed to teach English in a commercial language school, but many employers expect teachers to have a degree. No particular degree is required but some are more useful than others. English, linguistics, modern foreign languages and education are very helpful. A high standard of English is essential.
To get on to a degree course you normally need at least two A levels/three H grades and five GCSEs (A-C)/S grades (1-3) . Other qualifications may be accepted in place of A levels and H grades.
For details of qualification equivalents see:
Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
Scottish Qualifications Authority
An Access to Higher Education qualification may also be accepted for entry to certain courses. If experienced in a related field, you may be able to gain recognition of skills through Accredited Prior Learning (APL). Please check with colleges or universities for exact entry requirements.
There is no upper age limit for entry to this work. Many entrants have had experience of other types of work and some have lived abroad.
You normally need to train for teaching EFL , and many universities, colleges and private language schools offer courses. The following qualifications are widely accepted:
CELTA (Cambridge Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) - you need at least two A levels/three H grades (or the equivalent) and must be at least 18 years old (20 in some cases). Courses last four or five weeks full-time or 16 weeks to one year part-time.
CELTYL (Cambridge Certificate in English Language Teaching to Young Learners) - this is very similar to the CELTA course (with the same entry requirements), but specialises in teaching younger learners.
CertTESOL (Trinity College London Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) - you usually need A levels/H grades, or the equivalent, and must be at least 18 (20 in some cases). Courses last between four and ten weeks full-time and three months to a year part-time.
There are higher level courses and these can be helpful if you want to aim for a higher level or management position, or wish to write EFL materials. They include: DELTA (Cambridge Diploma in Language Teaching to Adults) and the Trinity Licentiate Diploma in TESOL. You need EFL teaching experience and must normally have a TEFL certificate qualification. There are also a growing number of MA degrees in TEFL or TESOL for which you need a first degree.
To teach EFL in a college of further or higher education or a university you will normally need a degree and a TEFL qualification.
Most people who train as EFL teachers do so as a means of working and living abroad. Many of these jobs are on fixed-term contracts of between nine months and two years. The main employers include: commercial language schools; government departments; voluntary organisations; large companies; and The British Council. Overseas opportunities are good in many countries.
Work is available in the UK in commercial language schools. These are found throughout the UK, although there is a concentration of them in certain areas - London, the south coast of England, and Oxford and Cambridge. There is a shortage of EFL teachers and there are many vacancies for qualified people. However, most of the work is seasonal, the busy period being between Easter and autumn. Many of the jobs are on short-term contracts. It is difficult to get a permanent or long-term job.
Some EFL teachers work in colleges and universities in the UK. With experience, it is possible to gain promotion to a senior or management position in a commercial language school or a college, but such jobs are scarce. Other possibilities include:private tuition; training other people to teach EFL; opening a language school; writing books and other EFL materials; and setting and marking examinations.
The annual income section is intended as a guideline only.
Teachers working full-time could start on around £12,000 a year.
In language schools overseas the salaries vary widely from country to country, and can be very low.
Teachers in colleges of further education earn between £16,030 and £35,460 a year.
Teachers in universities and colleges of higher education earn between £17,793 and £36,355 a year.
As a director of studies in a commercial language school it is possible to earn up to £24,000 a year.
There are no set salary scales in commercial language schools in the UK. Meals and accommodation are sometimes provided for free.
Association of Recognised English Language Services (ARELS)
56 Buckingham Gate
Tel: 020 7802 9200
University of Cambridge ESOL Exams
1 Hills Road
Tel: 01223 553355
Trinity College London
89 Albert Embankment
Tel: 020 7820 6100
10 Spring Gardens
Tel: 020 7930 8466
International Association of English Language Teachers of English as Foreign Language (IATEFL)
3 Kingsdown Chambers
Tel: 01227 276528
Other Useful Teacher of English Work Information
We have a section available at this site on Teacher of English job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.
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