Why is teaching experience important?
ESL teaching experience is important as it can help you to build up your CV/resume and make you a more desirable candidate when you are applying for jobs at English language schools and companies. Getting experience is always a helpful tool when it comes to doing anything new in life, and the more you do it, the easier it will get as time goes on. It will give you a chance to realize how different aspects of teaching English as a foreign language will work.
Why should you look for teaching experience?
Teaching experience can be a good confidence-building step after completing your online TEFL course. It will help you understand how to use the ESL teaching theory that you have learned during your course, and how to use it in real-life scenarios.
Employers will want to see that you have carried out teaching practice, to show that you can handle learners in a classroom environment. Many teaching jobs require at least one year of teaching experience. By doing teaching practice you will get invaluable experiences that will help you get the jobs that you want.
What is teaching experience?
ESL teaching experience is a way of learning and developing your skills – in real life – of how to teach English to students, such as by volunteering, that exposes you to methods and training that you will need for future TEFL teaching positions.
What will ESL teaching practice do for you?
Teaching practice allows you to learn from other teachers who will be able to give you valuable advice. It will allow you to hone in on the skills that you already have while learning new ones, as you build more confidence teaching in a classroom, online, or in person.
Experience is always a good thing when it comes to doing anything new in life, the more teaching practice you get, the easier it will get as time goes on. By doing teaching practice you will learn valuable skills that will help you qualify for your first or next TEFL job.
Who is looking for ESL teaching experience?
Employers will look for teaching experience on your CV/resume when you are applying for a TEFL job because they will want to know that you can teach in a classroom environment and have experience doing so, it will make them trust that you can be a valuable asset to their business.
Finding ESL teaching experience in your local area
If you are looking to find English teaching experience that is close to you and in person, you have some options. You can start your research by looking into tutoring, and finding an agency that will work with you advertising yourself on an online platform that covers your area. You can also look into volunteering with local charities/nonprofits that are situated near you that work with students learning English. Contact your local youth groups to get teaching experience working with young adults. Ideally, try to find groups that have a focus on teaching or improving the English skills of their members. Some employers might not accept everything as valid work experience, according to their own preferences. So, if you know what jobs you want to apply for, check with the hiring manager beforehand if they will accept your planned teaching practice as valid experience.
What you should know before you start teaching
When you first start teaching English, you will not excel at everything. If you don’t know how to do something and you have other colleagues that you can talk to, remember to ask questions.
It is completely normal as a newly qualified TEFL teacher that you won’t know everything. Take it slowly, don’t try to do everything all at once. Do what you feel comfortable with first, you can always do more complex activities later on. Make sure to stay organized, and know what materials you will need, where they are, and what you will be using them for.
Make sure you have a lesson plan to follow for the class so that you won’t be stuck on things to do throughout the lesson. The most important thing when it comes to teaching for the first time is that you have fun and that you establish strong bonds with your students.
What are good work experience opportunities in person and online?
Fáilte Isteach is a non-profit organization set up in Ireland, that looks for volunteers all over the country to teach conversational classes to migrants. They consist of predominantly older volunteers. There are over 170 class groups set up in the country.
The hours are flexible, Just find a group in your local area and go in when you have a spare moment to do so. The main aim of Fáilte Isteach is to help migrants learn the basics of English so they can communicate with others. Teaching experience is not necessary but is always welcomed.
Teachers for Ukraine initiative is a non-profit organization set up in March 2022 by Kalina Slavova Papadimitriou, a Bulgarian English teacher currently living in Canada. The project started with her teaching students 1-on-1 but quickly grew in demand with more volunteers and more demand from Ukrainians looking to learn English online.
The Ukraine initiative asks that you dedicate one hour per week to an online 1-on-1 lesson with a Ukrainian adult(18+). Lesson materials are provided on their Facebook page, so the teacher must choose at what stage their student is and what and how they should be teaching them. They accept both native and non-native English speakers.
“I have been so impressed with A’s willingness to improve her English communication skills. In our first session on WhatsApp, we discussed her goals. We meet once a week one-on-one and the Facebook support group has been very helpful in finding answers to content questions. If you are in the field of TESOL and wonder what you can personally do to support Ukrainian families, I encourage you to step forward. Lending your expertise is a tangible way to help Ukrainian refugees rebuild their lives.”
The Welcome English language centre is a voluntary community organization that is dedicated to meeting the English needs of immigrants who are registered in the centre. They are looking for newly qualified TEFL teachers, to teach the Immigrants that are registered in the centre. Volunteers will be allowed to observe the classes taught at different levels before they are assigned to a class. They are looking for volunteers who have primary and secondary education at the least. The English language centre has only one location in Ireland.
Paper Airplanes is an online non-profit organization, that helps refugee youth learn English, Paper Airplanes was set up by Baiely Ulbricht who started teaching Syrian college students English over Skype after having spent 2 months in a town in Turkey next to the Syrian border where she had met dozens of Syrian students, that wanted to learn English.
If you apply to volunteer with Paper Airplanes you must teach for a full semester, either January-May or September-December. English tutors are asked to commit 1-2 hours per week. To become a tutor you must be 15+, although tutors and mentors are preferred to have teaching experience. All resources you will need are provided, the lessons are held online, and teaching will be held 1-on-1 over Skype.
RefuNet was set up in December 2018 to support immigrants by helping them communicate within their new environment. One of RefuNet’s main focuses is to teach immigrants who have a very low level of English, who bigger schools might not have the capacity or time to teach properly.
RefuNet allows you to teach refugees online on a flexible basis. They are looking for teachers who can help with general English, conversational English, English exam preparation, and Maths and Science for students of all ages.
RefuNet will supply you with the resources that you will need to teach, they use Zoom to conduct lessons, and they ask that you commit a minimum of an hour per week to teach. You do not need to have any qualifications to teach but they are always helpful, you must be aged 16+.
English online is a nonprofit organization set up in 2008 in Manitoba, Canada, wanting to serve the increasing number of immigrants in the area. By teaching them English language skills and growing intercultural awareness.
You are asked to commit 1-2 hours per week for 5-10 weeks. Teaching will be conducted online over Skype, or any other platform you are comfortable using. You will be asked to do a minimum of 10 hours with a student for either 5 or 10 weeks depending on how many hours you choose to do per week. You must plan your lessons with them and know how to recognise their strengths and weaknesses.
To teach English online you must have a TEFL qualification, experience with adult newcomers and the immigrant community, good technological skills, you must have the ability to work well in a team and you have to hold a clean criminal record.
CC English is a non-profit organization that was launched in July 2020. They aim to connect people from different backgrounds through learning and improving their English.
When becoming a teacher for CC English, you must commit to teaching for at least 3 months, and do at least two 80-minute sessions per week. You must be 18 years of age and have to be living in the US. You don’t have to have any previous experience to apply. Your student will be assessed for the level of English they have and you will be given a curriculum to follow.
English language learner’s in-home programme was set up by Florence Phillips. When Immigrants were coming into the US and people were complaining about how many of them didn’t have any proper English she knew she wanted to do something about it. Florence knew that these people wanted to learn English but that they had many obstacles facing them. She set up English Language Learners’ In-Home Projects because she wanted to make it easy and free for immigrants coming into the country to learn English. The programme now has over 7,000 learners worldwide.
To volunteer, you must make a commitment of at least 1-2 hours per week for a minimum of 6 months. Your main goal as a volunteer is to teach your students English to help them with conversational skills and teach them about American culture. You will also help them obtain citizenship. To volunteer, you must have a clean criminal record, be over 18 years old have a good level of English, and live in the US. Teaching sessions will be 1-on-1 and can be held in person or online.
“Learning to speak, read and write and understand when others are speaking has changed everything in my life. It has made me feel like I’m somebody now I’m more part of things.” -Yerington Student-
OpenMindProjects is a nonprofit organization both online and in person. It was founded in 2001 in Thailand. They are trying to battle the technical and educational divide in 3rd world countries, OpenMindProjects enables young people to learn English and to use computers and the internet in their Training centres and learning camps. They have a mission to fight inequality and poverty.
There are options to volunteer onsite in one of their 4 destinations (which will involve some extra cost) or to volunteer online.