Some Perks of Being an ESL Teacher
I think there some really great things about being an ESL teacher
that maybe is not available to teachers of other subjects.
For me I have made some of the best friends I have ever had through
teaching ESL. It affords me flexibility to teach what I want. Also,
you can delve in so many different subjects with your students, discuss almost
anything in class and it will be valid because it's English.
In addition when you teach people from other countries you get exposed to
different languages, different cultures, different ways of looking at things.
It's a great opportunity to see your own country from another culture's
point of view. This can be very valuable and can really help expand your
view of the world.
I think this helps with being more open-minded and accepting of others.
Also, it's good practice in being able to listen to criticism about your
country and not take it personally. Consequently, I really think it helps
develop one's sense of maturity and self-expression.
Learning to be flexible, spontaneous and
Another thing is it gives you ongoing practice in being able to express yourself
in English since you are a in front of a class everyday getting practice
in public speaking. Also, you learn how to keep a class' interest up and
learn how to be spontaneous.
There is a great amount of creativity I think that comes with being
an ESL teacher. You are always looking for ways to teach differently,
and do things differently, looking for new material, new articles, new slang,
idomatic expressions and all that.
Also teaching English makes you a better English speaker since you will learn
things that you never knew about the language. You'll learn how ridiculously
English is spelt and revel in the language's bizarre idiosyncratic nature
when it comes to spelling and pronunciation. It really is truly amazing.
For a laugh, check out
is Tough Stuff.
Opportunities to increase your patience level...
You will also learn patience especially with dealing with pronunciation.
So many times I have wanted to pull my hair out when I am faced with a student
who just doesn't get it.
We've had a student at the school who has stayed in level one for over a
year. She is not stupid, in fact is very smart but when it comes to
English she just doesn't get it. She can barely put a sentence together.
And it frustrates us that she has progressed so slowly and no matter what
we do, what we try she just does not seem to advance.
It is times like these that your patience really gets tested because
you might start feeling frustrated and want to yell at the student. So another
perk is you get opportunities to learn how to control your emotions.
(I see no problem with raising your voice in an instructive manner
but yelling at the student is just not Kosher and if you ever do it apologize
So there are those people who just seem to advance amazingly rapidly and
others who just seem to plod along. Some just have a natural knack
for English, others don't.
Meeting great people, making great friends...
Another great perk is being invited to visit one of your student's countries
and letting them show you around. This happened to me with my Turkish student
Ismail. We started as teacher --student and then very quickly became
very close friends, in fact one of the best friends I've ever had.
And he persuaded me to come to Turkey with him and to my surprise would not
let me pay for anything. It was truly an amazing experience. Turkey
was not on my list of places to see in my life and this friend and this
opportunity came from out of the blue.
Had I not been teaching ESL this would not have happened.
So I think the biggest perk is the amazing and sweet people that you
meet as an ESL teacher. I am constantly blown away by how sweet and beautiful
my students are.
I mean, really, that's why we do this anyway, cuz we love teaching
and we love people. There are few things that are better than