Q&A With a 35-Year ESL Industry Teaching Veteran

Find out some of the issues affecting Christine after being an ESL teacher for 35 years. Will they affect you?

In this instalment in our series of interviews with ESL teachers, we chat to Christine B, who has been in the industry for a significant time. You can also view our previous interviews with Natalia and Jennifer as well.

What are your qualifications?

BA (English Studies), Dip Ed; MA Applied Linguistics & TESOL; Dip TEFL; Cert IV Assessment & Training

How long have you been working in the ESL industry?

About 35 years

What made you choose teaching ESL as a job?

Portable profession

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

Accepting that things are done differently

What are the biggest obstacles in securing a position?

Now, it’s my age.

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

I never had a problem – accept what is the norm and don’t try to impose your own culture, “In …. We do this”. You aren’t in …., so enjoy the adventure.

What are the greatest rewards with this kind of work?

Seeing the lightbulb go on in a student’s face.

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

Never lose your sense of humour!!

What is an important issue that is affecting the ESL industry?

Pirate companies, lack of funding, governments not taking this little gem seriously.

How do you manage cultural differences and expectations in the classroom or with parents of students?

With students – discussions. Other N/A

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

Poor salary

What are your long term career goals?

None now – more worried about retirement – can’t really afford to, but at some stage schools simply won’t want me.

What do you wish the general public knew about the ESL industry?

Most of us are REAL teachers. We have gone through the educational system and worked hard to do what we love.

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

As far as possible. It can be effective especially with Cambridge classes (CEA, CPE)

Is there a difference to the way you teach adults and children?

I only teach adults as I don’t have the patience for children

How much time do you spend lesson planning?

As much as is needed. I never time it.

How do you measure whether your students are engaged and learning?

Questions, discussions, when I hear them using the language a few days or sometime later.

Do you agree with her assessment or do you think other industry issues have a greater impact? Let us know.

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.

Further reading:

Is Doing a TESOL/TEFL Certificate Really That Easy?

Discover Why Teaching Online is Perfect for Life as a Digital Nomad!

Teach English Without a Degree? Discover how to start earning online, abroad or locally

One comment

  1. Same boat as her. I also have several masters degrees. I am looking for a route out of it though as having three masters and an MBA and having such a poor salary really messes with your self-esteem. The question is just how to get out of it at this point. With 2 years of management experience in the IT world and than all teaching experience who would want to employ me?

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