Kicking off your TESOL career can simply mean booking your plane ticket and getting out there. But, with schools becoming pickier about who they employ, it’s worth standing out from the crowd. Follow these three simple tips to leave the competition eating your dust.
1. Do more training
You could head out without any qualifications at all, but you won’t get paid much. You could go for the simplest TESOL course, but so do lots of other people. Just adding those extra few hours of study can make all the difference to both your confidence and your employability. A Grammar Awareness Module will improve your confidence in a tricky area, while if you know that your country of choice loves business English or has loads of opportunities for private tuition, do some specialist training.
Or you could simply add some classroom training to further boost your enthusiasm and make that first class of your own less daunting.
If you follow these tips you’ll be teaching your first TESOL class soon!
2. Get some experience
There are plenty of opportunities to get your first taste of the classroom. Volunteering abroad for anywhere from a few weeks to a few months will look great on your CV/resume: not only will it show your passion for heading out and facing the challenges of living in a new country, but you might even make some contacts who can arrange you a job for when you’ve finished.
Another great way to get some TESOL experience is taking part in a paid TESOL Internship in either China or Thailand. You’ll need to commit to a few months, rather than a few weeks, but by the end of you’ll have over 300 hours of teaching experience and your pick of TESOL jobs.
If you’d rather stay close to home, look out for literacy projects that need volunteers or even ask at your local school about spending time as a classroom assistant. Anything to give you that edge and fire you up for your first job.
3. Target your CV/resume
They say that first impressions count, and your covering letter and CV/resume are your foot in the door, so don’t waste them. Keep them simple and succinct: this isn’t a chance to show off your vast vocabulary, it’s a chance to get started in an exciting and rewarding career.
Speaking of sticking to the point, if you’re responding to an advert, make sure you read the job description and address each point in sufficient detail. Employers don’t just want to know about your “excellent presentation skills”, they want to know what you presented, how regularly and using which computer programme. And avoid lying, because you’ll only regret it when the interviewer asks about the time you “taught underwater basket weaving to the Bakongo people of Angola”.
Even if you’re just updating your CV/resume, make sure it’s tailored to TESOL by thinking about the key skills, such as leadership and flexibility, that make a great teacher.