If you’re still debating whether or not to become an English teacher, think again. When it comes to picking a career, we are usually guided by what we enjoy doing or by the financial benefits of a job. Teaching English, in my opinion, is the ideal mixture of the two: it is a joyful career (you will never be bored) and there are numerous opportunities to make good money.
Another advantage of selecting teaching English as a long-term profession is the variety of choices for transitioning from teaching to other sections of the TEFL industry: you can become a DOS, create your own language school, move into materials creation and TEFL writing, or teacher training.
It’s entertaining. Nobody can deny that teaching is enjoyable; every day, you meet new people from various countries and backgrounds who you get to know and learn from. I’ve been asked if it’s dull to teach the same grammar/vocabulary year after year, and I’ve always responded no since language is a living thing that grows, develops, and evolves. As a result, I am not teaching the same material over and again, and even if I am, teaching it to various people in different situations makes it feel different.
Travel is something you should do. What other job can provide you with such incredible opportunity to travel and learn about different nations and cultures? You can spend a year in one nation, then move to another, and so on until you find the perfect area to settle down or opt to return home.
There is a lot of variety. Teaching English can mean a variety of things to various people: for some, it means working with children in kindergartens and schools, while for others, it means working with teenagers and adults in language schools. There’s also teaching in academic settings such as colleges and universities, teaching in the workplace, delivering private lessons, or teaching online… You can specialise on General English, Business English, EAP (English for Academic Purposes), ESP (English for Specific Purposes), exam preparation, and so on. You can stick to what you enjoy teaching the most, or you can mix and match what you teach, how and where you teach, and who you educate. The options are virtually limitless.
Adaptability. You can always work part-time or freelance if you need time off for family or other pursuits.
You must pay. Although teaching English is not the highest-paying job in the world, it does provide you with a unique opportunity to control how much you earn: your salary will be determined by the country you choose to work in, the company/school you work for, your level of qualifications and experience, and the number of hours you teach.
Job security. Being a TEFL teacher ensures that you will always have a job – even if job opportunities in your town/city are scarce, you can relocate to another city or country, start freelancing with some private students (a number of language schools have started out this way), or teach online from the comfort of your own home.
Cons (and why they’re not all that bad):
Teaching is one of those careers where you frequently have to work from home – correcting students’ homework, tests, essays, and preparing for lessons might feel daunting, but with a little careful planning, you can stay on top of it. If you work at a language school with space, resources, and an internet connection, you can always stay after lessons to do your preparation and corrections for the next day, eliminating the need to bring work home. You can accomplish this at home whether you are teaching in-company, working with private students, or working online. But why not take your work and your laptop to a cafe and pretend you’re one of those digital nomads or a famous writer, sipping coffee and working away while people stare and spending quality time with yourself?
Burnout is a state of exhaustion. Teaching, like any other career, can lead to burnout. Not because it is a demanding or high-pressure profession, but because it is fairly intense. It entails communicating with a variety of individuals (which can be especially difficult if you are an introvert), assuring client satisfaction, and a great deal of planning. However, there is a solution: take a break. The academic calendar will provide you with that opportunity on a regular basis, and even if you believe you’ve had enough and will never return to teaching, never say never. After a while, you may realise that you miss teaching and how gratifying it is, and the nice thing about teaching is that it is really easy to get back into it. A teaching career allows you to take breaks, try something else, and then if you haven’t found anything else that you like doing better, it will welcome you back and you will be an even better teacher with all of the experience from other jobs you’ve tried (for example I like telling my students about my experience working for Google and I think it gives them a motivation to improve their English and an ambition to find their dream job.)
Transitions and professional advancement
From teaching English, you can go into a variety of fields within the TEFL profession, depending on whether you want to try something new or advance your career.
Preparation for the exam .This is a very specific topic, and if you become an expert in specialised test preparation, you may assist your students pass examinations such as IELTS, TOEFL, Cambridge examinations, and so on that they may need for academic, professional, or personal reasons. Every language school has a great demand for this qualification.
Become an examiner. You can become an examiner and work in your local exam centre, or you can work remotely correcting and marking written exam sections.
Material creation. If you enjoy the creative aspect of teaching and are always on the lookout for new and intriguing materials and resources for your pupils, you may want to consider a career in materials development. A increasing number of online schools and institutions are looking for experienced specialists that can create both general and customised courses for their customers. Because of the popularity of online and blended learning, there is a need for specialists who can build well-structured courses employing a range of media, such as PowerPoint presentations and video classes.
Teacher education. Teacher education is another intriguing transition area. If you consider yourself an expert in teaching and want to share your knowledge with other teachers or individuals preparing to become teachers, this is your opportunity. To become qualified, you will need to complete an advanced course, which will allow you to work as a CELTA trainer, for example, or in your local teacher training school.
Getting a job as a DOS. If you wish to advance your career, the next level is Director of Studies, where you will transition from teaching to planning and administration, arranging and assuring the smooth operation of your language school’s educational process, as well as employing new teachers. Qualifications such as DELTA or a Master’s degree in TEFL will help you gain the position, but there are alternative methods to become a DOS. You can start as a DOS in a summer school to get a flavour of what the work is like. Experience is typically all that is required for this; it will look good on your CV and provide you with the necessary experience to advance to management.
Starting your own company. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, you may start your own language school. You can start small and be a jack of all crafts – teacher, DOS, and school director all rolled into one – then gradually recruit additional personnel and expand your firm. If you have enough money, you can even acquire a fully operational school in any country (check out businesses for sale on TEFL.com)
Teaching English, in my opinion, is a long-term career that may be started at any time, placed on hold at any time, and resumed at any time. It is incredibly adaptable and diverse, with several options for growth and development, career advancement, and migrating into other areas of the industry.