Because English literacy is a necessity for many children and adults all over the world, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) can be a rewarding and fascinating career choice. Educators in the field of language acquisition help students of all ages develop English language skills that are essential for success in school, work and life in general.
Here are four captivating careers for TESOL practitioners.
- K-12 ESL Teacher
One rewarding career in TESOL is teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) to elementary, middle and high school students in the United States, where you will support students from different cultures as they learn to read and write English, and find success both academically and socially.
While some people who immigrate to the US already speak English fluently, many do not. Bilingual communities, where native languages are commonplace and English is the second language, make integration somewhat easier. Yet many new to the US find themselves in areas where speaking and writing fluently in English is necessary for success in school, work and life. Either way, children and adults who lack English fluency experience distinct disadvantages in adapting to life in America, which leads to inequities in education and opportunity.
TESOL is an extremely important part of continuing to foster equality and justice for all in American society. K-12 ESL teachers play an essential role in this, helping English Language Learners (ELLs) excel both in and out of school.
- Director of Studies or Academic Manager
With strong preparation and an advanced degree in TESOL, you may also work as a director of studies or academic manager of an ESL program. In this role, educators can exponentially increase their positive impact on student learning by developing and implementing curriculum content and instruction methodologies, differentiated to adapt to the unique learning needs of ELLs.
Educators in these roles can further increase the quality of education at their schools by designing and implementing teacher training. Giving an entire teaching staff the tools to develop their own competencies in TESOL will result in improved student learning for all ELLs in their classrooms and the school. Creating a cohesive, collaborative approach to TESOL throughout the whole school community will provide consistency across ELLs' educational experiences.
- Postsecondary Instructor
According to the TESOL International Association, a "master's degree in TESOL (or a related area) can be considered the terminal degree for teaching positions in English as a second, foreign, or additional language." If you have the benefit of a high-quality post-graduate degree in TESOL, you may be considered for a wide variety of teaching positions at universities and community colleges. This is rather unique in academia, given the educational attainment generally required for a postsecondary teaching position.
- Teaching English Abroad
By earning a master's in TESOL you will also be highly qualified to teach English or direct English as a foreign language (EFL) programs abroad. There are numerous opportunities to pursue, either traveling or teaching remotely online.
These opportunities offer educators opportunities to see new places, meet new people, experience new cultures and even further develop linguistic skills. You may decide teaching abroad is a lifetime career or take what you learn of foreign languages and cultures back home to improve education for ELLs in the States.
Preparing for a Career in TESOL
Earning a master's degree in TESOL offers experienced educators a great deal of versatility in career opportunities. If you dream of traveling the world, learning new languages and experiencing new cultures, teaching English abroad can help you fulfill that dream. Teaching ESL in US schools could be the ideal job if you care about helping vulnerable populations of immigrant children and adults acquire the skills necessary to succeed and adapt to life in America.
The University of Southern Maine (USM) offers an online Master of Science in Education (MSEd) in TESOL. This degree program is designed to help working educators develop the many competencies needed to effectively teach English to ELLs.
USM's MSEd in TESOL integrates the comprehensive study of linguistic theory and research methods with educational pedagogy, differentiated instruction techniques and practical application. The knowledge, skills and abilities educators will gain through this program can be of great help in pursuing a variety of jobs, whether domestic or abroad.
Sources:U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers
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