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Teaching English as a Second Language


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2 Becoming an English Teacher

So, how do you become a teacher of English as a Second Language (ESL)?

The answers are many and various and range from strapping on a backpack and buying a plane ticket to an exotic destination through to taking a Master’s degree.

Teaching is very much a practical skill and you will find that no matter how academic study you’ve completed you will feel pretty overwhelmed when you encounter your first real learners. Don’t panic, you’ll quickly get better with practice. And, if it’s any reassurance even experienced teachers sometimes give dogs of lessons.

Try to build a rapport with your students and to develop an awareness of how a lesson is being received. Is the topic too easy or too difficult? Are the students interested or bored? You should have some sort of plan for every lesson, ie what you want the students to get out of it and how you hope to achieve it. With a goal in sight, learning a second language is easy. However, if a lesson isn’t working, don’t be afraid to tear up the plan and improvise according to the needs of the moment.

The important thing is to be your own harshest critic. If a lesson doesn’t go as you intended, ask yourself how you can make things better. Remember, if your learners have been exposed to real English - and better still used some themselves - the lesson has been worthwhile.

Next: Teacher Training

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