I didn’t know much about ESL when I first became an ESL teacher, and…well, I didn’t know anything. One of the things I didn’t really know was why I wanted to be an ESL teacher in the first place. I’m still not sure I know the answer to that one.
If you’re considering being an ESL teacher but just haven’t yet made up your mind, check out some of these reasons you should. It just might make up your mind and make a big difference in a young child’s life somewhere.
1 – You Want to See a New Country
I’m from Montana and the vast majority of people never go to another country, hell, most don’t even leave the state. To actually live in another country was something I did that most people I meet each day can’t say. Perhaps wherever you’re from is the same and this could be a real selling point for you.
2 – You Want to Learn a Foreign Language
The truth is I never improved much beyond my basic Chinese skills, but I could have if I’d wanted to. I spent most of my time improving my English skills, something that I’ve found to be a lot more profitable for me.
I met a lot of people living in China that wanted to learn the language. Many tried, a lot gave up. Quite a few got pretty good at it, and I can’t help but think them living there played a part in that. Just because you learn the language doesn’t mean it’s going to do anything for you, but it is a nice thing to do just for yourself.
3 – You Want to Get Out of (insert your country here)
When you’re young you want to get the hell out of wherever you grew up, and there are few places further away than a foreign country. Well, not if you’re living in Europe. But anyways, it’s a great idea.
4 – You Don’t Know What to Do With Your Life
One thing I found was that I didn’t want to live like people in China. No one made any money, at least the vast majority of people, and their living conditions were never very good. I also realized hat I sure the hell didn’t want to be an ESL teacher for the rest of my life, so in that regard moving abroad was really good for me.
5 – You Don’t Care About Money
Even if you do choose to get paid for your ESL work you wont’ get much. And don’t think you’ll be getting any year-end bonuses or huge pay annual pay increases, either. Most likely you’ll get a standard raise, if even that.
I don’t think I ever met an ESL teacher that was in it for the money. I met a few people that wanted to make money, and they transitioned into business. Quite a few made successful ESL websites or spun their knowledge off into things that made the money. I suppose I’m doing the same thing, although on a much smaller scale.
6 – You Want as Little Responsibility as Possible
The first year I was an ESL teacher I usually had another teacher in the room with me. They usually didn’t help much and I largely did what I wanted. My second year no one ever watched my classes and I did all kinds of things, especially watch movies.
When I got to training centers you’d be expected to follow a book, but really, you could do whatever you wanted. As long as you had a certain amount of paperwork done you could pretty much play games and whatnot. Those were the most popular teachers, the ones that said ‘screw it’ and played games.
7 – You Want a Job that Makes You Smile
They say interesting things, they do silly and stupid stuff, and it’s generally just fun to be around them. Now do this for a couple years and you might think differently, but for the most part it’s alright.
8 – Your Creativity Soars
I became a lot more creative by teaching ESL. Anyone who’s looked around this site can tell that there are at least a few creative ideas present, and if you look at my other site, www.bigskywords.com you’ll see even more.
The point is, you can take those silly little games, stories, and characters you’re making up in class and use, if not them, then at least the idea of them to fuel your future endeavors. Creativity is worth a lot to people, believe me, and not everyone has it. The fact that you’re teaching ESL means that you have it, whether you brought it with you or took a crash-course in learning it during your first few weeks.
Find a way to make that work for you and market its potential for you.
9 – Your Parents Have a Lot of Money
When I worked at training centers most new teachers would come fresh from overseas. They’d have to find an apartment to live in within about 3 to 4 days of getting there, mainly to get the paperwork sorted out. And usually they didn’t have the money to do this, so the company would garnish their wages for a few months with a loan.
That’s just one example of how having money, or at least parents that do, is really helpful when you decide to become an ESL teacher. And when you decide not to be an ESL teacher anymore then it’ll also come in real handy. Few ESL teachers manage to build up any kind of savings, and getting a job can be rough. After all, teaching ESL doesn’t give you a whole lot of job prospects, so expect to be sitting around for a few months upon your return.
10 – It’s Your Dream Job
If you’ve grown up your whole life dreaming of teaching kids English, then you should definitely give an ESL teaching job a try. I’m sure there are countless little boys and girls drawing pictures of grammar lessons and PowerPoint games in their notebooks in all the great schools around the world. I’ve never seen one, but it could be true.
Obviously there are a lot more reasons to be an ESL teacher than this. I can’t think of many more, even though I’ve been working on this list for a couple days off and on. I guess that’s because I’ve moved on from teaching ESL and am happier for it. Still, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today without those 5 years of teaching ESL, and maybe one day you’ll feel the same. What better reason to have your own ESL adventure?