Mastering the Art of Teaching English as a Second Language

Mastering the Art of Teaching English as a Second Language

Whether you’re looking for your first job or you want to change careers, becoming an ESL teacher is the best idea. Teaching students English as a second language is an excellent option as it offers you an opportunity to help others. ESL (English as a Second Language) instructors provide English language lessons to non-native English speakers.

Teaching kids

They typically work in schools and other educational institutes and teach children and adults. The main responsibility of a TEFL-certified is to prepare interactive course materials. As an ESL teacher, your primary responsibility is to create a positive environment in the class.

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Assessing the progress of students and writing reports is another responsibility of an ESL instructor. To transition into the role of an ESL teacher, you should have a TEFL certification. One of the many great things about being an ESL teacher is that there are numerous job opportunities. A TEFL certification and the job role of an ESL teacher will also let you travel worldwide. English is an international-recognized language adopted by businesses and governments worldwide. 

ESL teachers, therefore, are needed in English-speaking and non-English-speaking countries. Teaching English to non-native speakers helps in bridging the language barrier. You can directly influence the lives of your students by teaching the intricacies of English to them. As more and more people are relocating and immigrating, the demand for ESL teachers is increasing rapidly.

Universities around the globe are preparing their students for future job opportunities. So, English as a second language has become the core subject in their curriculum. Here are some essential aspects to learn about teaching someone English a second language.

Understanding the Importance of Teaching English as a Second Language

Teaching English as a second language

For educational reasons, learning a foreign language has become necessary. English is the most-spoken language worldwide. It is also the international business language. Moreover, it is the official language of many international agencies, such as the United Nations.

As an ESL teacher, you will have to refer to a range of course books and materials to simplify the complex concepts in English. Usually, ESL teachers work in commercial language schools and universities abroad. With a range of teaching strategies, you can help non-native students to enrich their English language skills. Listed are some of the reasons why teaching English language as a second language is gaining prominence.

  • You can Effectively Manage your Schedule
    We all know that a 9-to-5 job comes with certain stress factors. However, things are pretty different when you’re an ESL teacher. ESL teachers have flexibility in scheduling their classes. You can utilize your day based on your preferences.
    So, if you have a hobby or want to supplement your income, the job role of an ESL teacher is ideal. Furthermore, there is no need to work for total hours to earn a decent salary. Do you know that some ESL teachers only work for twenty hours per week and make a lucrative salary? Getting TEFL-certified can increase your chances of becoming an ESL teacher.
  • You Can Enjoy your Vacations
    A majority of ESL teaching jobs include come with a wide range of vacations. This is possibly one of the best things about being an ESL instructor. During holidays, you can explore the new place or pursue your favorite hobby. If you choose to do another job, you’ll get a few months to dedicate to the side job. While working as an ESL teacher, you can access all types of camps.
  • Interact with New People Daily
    Teaching abroad involves interacting with new people daily. While being an ESL teacher, you can widen your network of friends and colleagues. This job opportunity also lets you stay connected with students. In other words, an ESL teaching position widens your scope of networking with other professionals.
  • Flexibility to Relocate
    The ESL teachers are in high demand nowadays. As stated, English is the most popular language spoken in the world. Most schools seek native speakers or ESL teachers who can offer students a new perspective. You can apply for numerous job positions and relocate worldwide with an ESL job position.
  • Gain Valuable Work Experience
    An ESL job is the best way to gain valuable experience. Working and living abroad shows that you are willing to adapt, learn, and pursue the challenging things in life. Moreover, the teaching position will help foster your leadership skills and confidence. It also enables you to evolve as a better communicator.
  • You can Teach ESL Online
    Getting a TEFL certification from an accredited institution will allow you to teach ESL online. Teaching English as a second language from home boosts your income. You will also get a sense of what type of teaching suits you.
    Numerous online tutoring platforms are showing a keen interest in hiring ESL teachers. You can apply for these positions to teach English to non-native speakers. You just need a laptop and a reliable internet connection to conduct online ESL classes.
  • Ability to Learn a New Language
    By teaching English as an additional language, you will get the time and resources to learn a new language. Outside of your teaching hours, you will get enough time to learn a new language. Moreover, learning a new language also adds weight to your CV.
    As an ESL teacher, you should always expect your students to come from various countries and interact in a variety of languages. Therefore, ESL teachers get the opportunity to communicate with students belonging to different types of cultural backgrounds.

Effective Strategies for Teaching English as a Second Language

Strategies for Teaching English

Teaching English Language Learners (ELLs) requires specialized strategies. Some of the most common ELL strategies start with common sense. It is also essential to have mutual respect for diverse cultures. Getting to know the students and their learning approach is an integral part of the process.

With the top ESL strategies, you can achieve better student learning outcomes. A vast majority of ESL classes aim to make students fluent in all aspects of English communication. So, it is pretty different from teaching students who grew up communicating in English.

Teaching English to non-native speakers can be challenging. With a variety of different skill levels in every classroom, you must deploy effective tactics to let each student achieve the learning outcomes. Whether the class focuses on grammar or literature, the following teaching strategies will come in handy.

Try to Develop Relationships Beyond the Classroom

English classroom

It is essential to build relationships beyond the classroom for effective teaching. When the learners feel a personal connection, they will be more eager to learn. You should create a supportive environment that appreciates diversity.

The environment of the classroom should be such that students can freely express themselves. Note that the non-native English speakers come from diverse backgrounds. Therefore, you should try to respect their cultural differences to accomplish your objectives.

Creating a supportive environment is all about cultivating an appreciation for diversity. You can boost engagement among students by allowing them to connect to a lesson or unit personally.

Establish Routines for Students

English learner

You can evolve as a successful ESL teacher by establishing routines for your students. You can familiarize students with lesson plans by making them write agendas. ESL teachers should try to encourage students to participate in various types of activities.

The ultimate aim of all these activities is to post clear objectives. The ELL students must comprehend the purpose or end goal of these activities to know about the lesson’s content. Another effective way to teach ELL students is by using examples. It can help in bridging the gap between various skill sets in your classroom.

Productive Language Skills and its Significance in an ESL Class

ESL class

In English, writing and speaking are commonly referred to as productive language skills. Both these skills require your students to produce language output. Any ESL teacher who is TEFL-certified is well aware of the importance of adequate skills in the English language. Productive language is also commonly referred to as expressive language in ESL.

Productive language skills play a crucial role in fostering interpersonal understanding. It also allows the students to express their ideas, thoughts, and emotions. So, as an ESL teacher, your main aim should be to develop productive language skills that positively influence the receptive skills of your students.

The receptive and productive skills complement each other. To optimize practical language skills, ESL teachers should develop innovative writing activities. In this manner, students can be more involved in the learning process.

Enunciate English Words and Speak Slowly

Teaching someone English second language

As an ESL teacher, you should speak slowly so that everyone in the class can listen and interpret the meaning. A lot of English language learners opine that native speakers are too fast. It can be tough for your students to understand the complete message when you are speaking fluently.

Therefore, you should always be mindful of the speed at which you communicate in class. Enunciate English words correctly so that your students can master their oral communication.

Visual Aids can be Highly Effective in Teaching ESL

Teaching English language as a second language

If you want to make learning English engaging and interactive for your students, always use visual aids. One of the best ways to do that is by engaging learners with props or visuals. With the correct type of teaching aids, you can bring the lesson plan to life.

Moreover, it will become easier for you to achieve the learning objectives. The proper usage of labels on classroom resources will help students get an idea of new English vocabulary. It is highly recommended to create a wall where words are accompanied by images. This will help non-native English speakers to match the meanings.

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Adapt to the Ever-Changing Environment

Teaching an ESL class can be unpredictable and full of challenges. Therefore, you must master multiple ESL teaching methods. It is essential to note that lessons and class activities will fail on many occasions. Consequently, you should always be flexible with your assignments and teaching approach. Understanding each student’s unique learning needs will help you become a successful ESL teacher.

Include Technology in the ESL Class

By introducing technology in the ESL class, you can make the lessons more interesting for students. Kids nowadays are growing up in a world dominated by smart devices. Including digital tools and technologies in your class will help you to boost engagement among tech-savvy students. It is also a great way to have digital literacy in the classroom.

Use Differentiated Instruction to Engage the Learners


When teaching English as a second language, it is crucial to provide students with options for grasping and processing information. Differentiated educational practice states that each student is unique and bestowed with uncommon skills.

Tailoring your teaching style to meet their individual needs should be the main priority. Many teachers think that differentiated teaching strategies are only suitable to meet the particular needs of students. However, this type of instruction technique is also ideal for mainstream students. Besides differentiated teaching strategies, you should also provide students with a choice.

Avoid the Usage of Figurative Idioms and Language

While teaching ESL, you should always refrain from using figurative idioms and flowery language. Always remember that your students are non-native English speakers. Students will end up with a literal translation that’s meaningless. Try to use words that can be easily understandable by your students. Idioms are appropriate for students with a high-level of comprehension of English.

Exploring TEFL/TESOL Certification for ESL Teaching

ESL Teaching

For teaching English as a foreign second language, you need to be TEFL-certified. A TEFL certificate is an internationally recognized professional credential that certifies that you are qualified to teach English as a foreign language.

In simple words, by getting TEFL-certified, you can teach the English language to non-native speakers online or abroad. On the other hand, TESOL will let you teach English in an English-speaking country. However, with a TESOL certification, you can also settle in a non-native English-speaking country.

Note that there is not much difference between the English language teaching certificates. All these certificates can be used to apply for job positions in your native country or abroad.

A TESOL/TEFL certificate will assist you in qualifying as an ESL teacher in educational institutes. ESL teaching is different from conventional teaching. Therefore, pursuing a TEFL/TESOL certificate is the best way to optimize your chances of getting selected for an ESL job.

Getting TEFL/TESOL certified from an accredited institution makes you employable. An accredited TEFL/TESOL course is recognized in most universities and colleges across the globe. Numerous potential employers require at least 150 hours of academics and 10 hours of live teaching practice in TEFL.

Besides providing a recognized qualification for TEFL jobs overseas, a TEFL certificate makes you eligible to teach online. The online language tutoring platforms require their students to possess an accredited TEFL certificate.

Many TEFL/TESOL-certified teachers teach English online as a way to supplement their existing income. As long as you have a reliable internet connection, you can make money while teaching ESL online. Here are some of the common advantages of getting TEFL/TESOL certified.

Acts as a Confidence Booster in Classrooms

TEFL/TESOL certified teacher

Newbie teachers are always encouraged to get TEFL/TESOL-certified to build their confidence in the classroom. Managing a class of non-native speakers isn’t easy. The online TEFL/TESOL courses will cover the basics of teaching English as a foreign language.

It is a Great Resume Booster

To stand out among your potential competitors, try to pursue a TESOL/TEFL course. The certification shows that you are serious and committed to being the best teacher for the students. It also shows that you are serious about teaching abroad.

Opens Up your Chances of Earning Higher


It is possible to get a teaching job in numerous countries without any qualifications. However, you will optimize your chances of earning higher with a TEFL/TESOL certificate. With a TEFL/TESOL certification, you can widen your job search. This is because ESL teachers are in high demand across various industry verticals.

Allows you to Obtain a Proper Work Visa

To get a work visa, you must have a TESOL or TEFL certificate. The visa application process is easier for TEFL and TESOL certificate holders. For teaching English as a 2nd language across countries legally, you need to get a TEFL certificate.

Do you know that a TESOL or TEFL certification never expires? Once you earn your TEFL certificate, you will have a professional qualification that will never expire. It allows you to settle in a new country to teach English. Moreover, both the TESOL and TEFL certificates are excellent ways to enjoy paid travel.

If a specific country requires ESL teachers, you’ll always qualify to teach there. A lifelong TESOL certificate opens the door to high-paying job opportunities. An ESL teaching opportunity makes it possible for you to move abroad and experience a new culture. It also lets you get valuable cultural sensitivity training.

Overcoming Challenges in Teaching English as a Second Language

Challenges in Teaching English

Working as an ESL teacher can be a rewarding experience for you. It is an ideal opportunity to showcase your teaching skills and experience a new culture. Even with prior experience, successfully achieving learning outcomes can be challenging.

You need to invest some time getting used to the different cultures and learning styles of your students. Here are some top tips and tricks that can help you overcome languages in ESL language teaching.

Ensure you’re Equipped with the Right Teaching Skills

Teaching Skills

Your fluency in the English language doesn’t mean that you are a skilled ESL teacher. If you are serious about teaching ESL, it is crucial to get certified. TEFL and TESOL certifications aim to enrich your teaching skills.

Besides imparting valuable teaching skills, these certifications teach you how to manage an ESL classroom. You will also learn to develop interactive classroom materials and lesson plans by enrolling in these courses.

Eliminate the Lack of Resources

Lack of resources can hurt the progress of ESL in English language teaching big time. If you are witnessing an utter lack of resources in the classroom, communicate with the higher authorities of the institution. The last thing you will want is to see your students unable to grasp the basics of the English language due to limited resources.

Emphasize Lesson Planning

Experienced teachers focus on lesson planning to make students understand the core English concepts. You need to organize a wide variety of group activities for your students in an ESL class. Effective lesson planning will help you transition to the role of an expert ESL teacher.

Career Opportunities in ESL Teaching: Exploring the Possibilities

Career Opportunities in ESL Teaching

ESL teachers perform a lot of essential duties in their everyday routine. Many of these tasks are pretty similar to the job roles of standard teachers. For instance, as an ESL teacher, you are responsible for:

  • Preparing the lesson plans
  • Grading homework
  • Completing the necessary paperwork
  • Conducting activities in the class
  • Communicating the progress of your students to the higher management and parents

However, ESL teachers are no longer limited to applying to schools. Listed below are the trending career opportunities for ESL teachers.

  • If you are TEFL qualified, you will get the opportunity to teach ESL in a wide variety of educational institutes.
  • A TEFL-certified candidate has the license to teach remotely.
  • You can work in private and public schools and language academies.
  • Even multinational companies require the services of TEFL-certified individuals to train their employees.
  • With a recognized TEFL degree, you can work as a corporate trainer.
  • Training centers are in ardent need of English curriculum developers. Applying to these positions is an excellent way to fine-tune your career.
  • In BPOs, ESL teachers are typically employed as voice and accent trainers. These job roles are high-paying and allow you to gain valuable experience.
  • As an ESL teacher, you will get the chance to work abroad.
  • You can teach and travel abroad by offering your services as an ESL teacher.

Enrol now

Get your TEFL TESOL certification

Teach English! It is the best way to earn money.
Travel, work online, get a job abroad, or be
an EFL and ESL teacher in your country.
Get it now

English as a 2nd language teaching is in high demand across most countries. Being an ESL teacher is a rewarding job and comprises an array of perks. Teaching English in a foreign country will help you prepare for the more formidable challenges in life.

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