So you’re serious about your career in TEFL.
Great! You may have already obtained your TEFL or TESOL certification. Or maybe not. You may be thinking about getting your CELTA or even DELTA. But we all now that degrees and certification take time and money, things you may not have a whole lot of right now. No worries. In the meantime, there are several things you can do to advance your TEFL career, some of which are a lot easier and simpler than you think.
9 Things You Can Do for Your TEFL Career Today
Offer to Teach a Workshop
Do you specialize in teaching kids? Young adults? Do you have awesome practical ideas to share? Offer to give a teacher training session or workshop at your school. Whether you get paid or volunteer for free, it will not only look great on your resume, it’s also a great way to highlight any of your areas of expertise. You may also want to approach local teaching associations and groups.
Establish an Online Presence
It may not be the most direct way to find new jobs or teaching positions, but these days, professional websites and ESL blogs are solid marketing strategies. Consider this scenario. Candidate A and B are in the running for a well-paid teaching position. They are both equally qualified and have the same amount of experience. The potential employer Googles Candidate A and discovers she has a professional-looking website with a blog where she regularly posts practical ideas and sound advice for ESL teachers. Then they Google Candidate B and find nothing, not even a Twitter account or LinkedIn profile. Who will most likely get the job? Which brings me to the next point…
Leverage the Power of Social Media
Social media is not just for college kids anymore. Professional networks like LinkedIn can actually offer a wealth of advice and job opportunities. Keep your LinkedIn profile updated and network with other professionals in your field. Network with ESL publishers, organizations and schools. Post interesting articles and news to Twitter and start a conversation with your peers. Share your class projects on Pinterest or videos on YouTube. When a potential employer Googles your name, they’ll find you are actively contributing to the ESL community, and that’s always a plus. But remember to keep it professional! Social media conduct can be as damaging to a career as it can be beneficial.
Contribute Worksheets and Lesson Plans
Do you have great worksheets and lesson plans to share? Why not share them, for example, at BusyTeacher.org? You may only get credit and thanks from other site users, but never underestimate the value of putting together a solid worksheet or lesson plan for others to use. It shows you have the ability to produce materials that can be used by a wide audience, and may also showcase your writing skills and ability to explain procedures in a clear, concise manner.
Join a Group
There is strength in numbers, and ESL teachers working together, sharing ideas and providing support is a powerful force. Whether you join a local group, association or club, or participate in an online forum, you’ll obtain plenty of information and advice that will surely boost your career.
If you have solid writing skills, you should consider writing for magazines, trade publications and education journals. Some writing opportunities are paid, while others are strictly free contributions. But writing, especially for online publications and blogs, enhances your online presence, makes it easier for people interested in your work to find you, gives you greater credibility and helps to establish your expertise in the field.
Take Short Courses, Seminars or Workshops
It’s very important for you to continue your education and TEFL training, but when certifications like DELTA or CELTA are way beyond your current means, consider the possibility of taking other more affordable courses, seminars or workshops. These usually entail very specialized skills like teaching pre-schoolers or teaching English for Specific Purposes, things that will definitely boost your CV and help you land better jobs.
Subscribe to a Job Board
If you’re on the lookout for bigger and better job opportunities, maybe even teaching abroad, there are countless websites with job boards and mailing lists you can subscribe to. Dave’s ESL Café has a very complete Job Center with plenty of listings, but you can also check out those available at World of TEFL or TEFL.com.
The world is moving too fast and if you stand still for even a little bit, you’ll fall behind. It is absolutely essential for you to keep up with the latest trends and innovations in ESL and teaching in general. Go to your local bookstore or library and pick up a few books on topics you’d like to learn more about. Choose five to ten ESL bloggers to follow and subscribe to their blogs to get the latest news, ideas or advice delivered straight to your inbox. And don’t forget that at BusyTeacher.org, we always offer interesting articles on a variety of topics. Sign up for the weekly newsletter and don’t miss a single article.
Apply these strategies, and you may not see results right away. But think of it as planting seeds. The more you sow, the more results you’ll reap, even if it is later rather than sooner. The key to success is the willingness to commit and not giving up. If you stick to it and are consistent in your efforts, your TEFL career may soar to new heights!