One thing is certain – the current recession climate will only serve students of English to tighten their belts and reconsider private tutoring or taking language classes at all. Many companies have already resigned from or spend significantly less on language tuition. All this will of course increase the competition among English language teachers, some of which might find themselves opting for new career paths in the industry. Still, English is today a standard language for global communication and the demand will always be there, so it’s high time you brushed up your ELT resume and furthered your career in the field. Here are five tips to help you do it right now.
1. Identify your preferences and career goals
Finding the right job without having first researched yourself is near to impossible. Define yourself as a teacher – write down all aspects of the job you like and don’t. Think a moment about your personality traits that make you a great teacher. Analyze yourself and identify key skills, qualifications and knowledge, which is required by employers. Understand yourself and your goals to push your career in the right direction.
2. Improve your qualifications
The easiest way to instantly enhance your career prospects is gaining internationally recognized ELT qualifications. If you’ve got an initial teaching qualification, you can choose to complete an in-service qualification, such as DELTA (Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults) or DipTESOL (Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).
Other qualifications you should look into are Cambridge ESOL Teaching Awards or Trinity College TESOL qualifications. You can take preparation courses full-time, part-time or even through distance learning on online platforms.
3. Differentiate yourself
Make sure that your job is challenging and allows you to demonstrate a wide range of skills and abilities. Try to take as many varied classes as possible – teaching general English all week long is admirable, but hardly original. If an area of ELT interests you, try to find opportunities for volunteering. Once you gain enough experience in this field, you can apply for the coordinator position in this area. If your employee doesn’t provide one, suggest its creation.
4. Be an active member of teaching community
ELT can become a solitary profession, which is a feature that makes it attractive, but which can significantly impact your professional growth. After all, positive feedback from students won’t be enough to reinvigorate your teaching style. To get some fresh ideas, ask others to allow you to observe them teach.
If a training opportunity comes up, take it. Get involved in the teacher community. Spend more time in teacher room and share your experience with others. For instance, make a coursework writing or attend ELT conferences, such as IATEFL, TESOL or BESIG to network with fellow teachers. That’s where you can also give a talk to gain recognition of the teaching sector.
5. Become an examiner
Adding examiner to your resume practically guarantees a career boost. There are several types of examination options, for instance Cambridge ESOL, IELTS or Trinity College. If you’ve got the opportunity, take it – you’ll usually need three years of experience in teaching and take a course to prepare for the position. Even if along the way you find out that being an examiner isn’t really your dream job, the status and experience will impress employers.
Today’s economy provides a perfect canvas against which you can reassess your ELT career and search for opportunities that are more in line with your interests – use the tips listed above and you’ll be on your way to revamping your career in a meaningful way.