** Just for Controversy **
"Teaching ESL in North America"
Being a new ESL teacher is difficult. Career ESL teaching in North America is not easy and not available overnight with most professional organisations.
Most ESL schools are marketing organisations. They like to sell their school as the best (in everything) to the international students. The schools like to present themselves as established, well organised, professional, with highly qualified & experienced teachers, proven curriculums, lots of resources and a history of happy students.
If you want to teach ESL in the competitive private school industry then you have to realise that as an ESL teacher you are part of a packaged commodity. For most ESL teachers to get a job in North America you have to have a combination of personal qualities, education and teaching experience.
The ESL schools that try to cover 10 levels, 45 electives, activities; and self-directed programs are usually stretched because of budget restrictions. Many schools are on low-margin, high-volume programs and cannot afford to make hiring mistakes. The ESL schools are risk adverse and concentrate on revenue retention.
To be a successful career ESL teacher you can look at the stages most teachers go through. The start can be wonderful or ugly. It depends on your preparation.
Many successful career ESL teachers tutored while they finished their university and teacher education programs. As a tutor you can really learn how to help a student. You can see their struggles and provide the solutions.
The next step is the classroom. The leap from one student to 25 is major and requires all the theory and methodology necessary to operate as a classroom professional. You have to do this in person. Get the practicum supervision and corrections necessary to teach ESL professionally.
Experience can be gained in North America as a community volunteer, operating your own classes, coop classes, teacher observation, or travelling internationally where experience is not required.
After two years of mistakes and corrections, continuing education, workshops, professional exchanges, brainstorming, team teaching, collaboration, students calling you wonderful, others not so happy - then the higher paying professional organisations consider you job - ready.
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Original Post: December 2001 : http://www.eslincanada.com
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