Considering Becoming an ESL Teacher? Beware… Americans Aren’t Welcome Everywhere!

If you are considering becoming an ESL teacher, you must read Zan’s Top Tip for New Teachers Joining the Industry!

In our latest interview with ESL teachers we find that Zan Raynor has been working as an ESL teacher for five years, and has a Bachelor of Education, CELTA and DELTA.

What made you choose teaching ESL as a job?

I had been teaching for 20 years but wanted asynchronous and remote work, as well as opportunities to work abroad, and this seemed like a good transition.

What challenges do you face in the school if you are working in a foreign country?

Often the biggest challenge isn’t from the learners but from the administration which is functioning under a different professional ethics and culture than the home country of the teacher and can be confusing and lead to misunderstandings and dissatisfaction with the workplace.

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What are the biggest obstacles in securing a position?

I’m an American which bars me from teaching anywhere in western Europe and most of eastern Europe.  That’s a lot of countries where my family would like to live and work for a while but we can only aim for Asia and South America.

If you are teaching in a foreign country what obstacles do you face from a cultural perspective?

The language barrier can be intense, or no big deal at all.  It all depends on where you are.  Smaller towns can be more rewarding with more interaction with locals but bigger cities have more English and opportunities that are more familiar and comforting.

What are the greatest rewards with this kind of work?

Participating in someone’s goals and helping them achieve their dreams!

What is your top tip for people considering becoming an ESL teacher?

Invest in yourself and your career early on by spending the time needed for proper lesson planning and language research.  It gets easier and faster the longer you’re at it and every minute you spend preparing pays off over the years as you develop as a teacher and English language expert.

What is a must have resource for the classroom?

Flexibility.  You can teach anything anywhere with nothing but your own body.  Don’t become dependent on materials or resources.  Stay fluid and pay attention to your students more than the plan you went in with.

What do you least enjoy about life as an ESL teacher?

“When are you going to settle down and start a real career?”  That image of backpacking nomads teaching English just as a way to fund their travels really bugs me.  There are many dedicated, experienced, and educated professionals in the industry building a career.

What are your long term career goals?

I would like to do more teacher training again.

What do you wish was covered more extensively in your training/education?

Phonemic charts/symbols.

Do you have an English only classroom? Do you think this is effective?

I’ve taught in single language classrooms and multiple language classrooms and English only is a given in the latter but considered “intense” in the former.  I find it’s as close as we can get to immersion.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on these questions and answers!

If you have any other questions you’d like answered let us know and we will endeavour to get answers from an experienced ESL teacher.

Does teaching English as a second language sound like something you’d be interested in? Find out how easy it is to get your TESOL qualification now!

The opinions expressed in this article/interview are the interviewees own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Just ESL Jobs or Travel Everywhere – Earn Anywhere. The content is as supplied to us, and no changes have been made.

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