There is no single answer to this question as it can refer to different areas of the English teaching world. However, below we try to answer the most likely questions regarding the purpose of TESOL.
Why is a TESOL course an important part of gaining employment as an ESL teacher?
The simple fact is that the vast majority of ESL employers around the world expect their teachers to have the minimum qualification of a 120-hour TESOL or TEFL certificate. There are three main reasons for this:
- Firstly, from the employers’ viewpoint: They need to know that you have had some basic training relating to teaching English as a second language if you are going to teach their students.
- Secondly, from the teachers point of view: It is important before you go into any classroom and attempt to teach English that you have some understanding of the English language and some idea of how you are going to teach it.
- Finally, and possibly most importantly, from the students view: You would like to know that your teachers are competent at what they are attempting to do and a qualified teacher should provide you with some confidence in this area.
Teaching is a profession and as with all professionals, we can expect that they have at least had the minimum required training to do what they do.
What can you expect from a TESOL course?
The main purpose of a TESOL certificate course is to give you an introduction to language awareness (English grammar and so on) and some basic teaching skills. Under these two headings a typical 120-hour course will include:
- Grammar items, such as the English language tense system, parts of speech, modals and conditionals, direct and reported speech and many other grammar related terms.
- Teaching skills, such as classroom management, student motivation, lesson planning, materials creation, student assessment and testing systems, and many other teaching related terms.
- Depending upon the type of course you take you may also undertake some teaching practice, either in a classroom in the case of an onsite course, or via an online platform (such as Zoom) in an online course with that component.
How do you go about finding a job once you have your certificate?
There are two main ways of finding employment:
- Before you leave for your country of choice: As so many ESL teaching jobs require an online interview it is often possible to secure a position within an organization having conducted an online interview from your home country. This means that you can start to arrange visas and work permits (as required) from your own country where you are familiar with the language and customs.
- From within the country of your choice: If you are sure which country and even region you wish to work in, you may decide to travel there first and find employment ‘on the ground’. If you are flexible, not in a rush and willing to take on a ‘not ideal’ position initially, then this can be a good option. As you do not know how long it will take to find a job however, you will need sufficient funds to maintain yourself.
In order to get an interview, most job openings are now found online. There are many major ESL teacher recruitment organizations and your TESOL certificate course should cover these and many other employment aspects.