Teacher of English Speakers of Other Languages

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Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages is usually abbreviated to TESOL, a similar role to Teaching English as a Foreign Language, except that TESOL is usually for people who live in English-speaking countries.

The basic idea behind TESOL is the instruction of English to adults and children in the UK whose mother tongue is not English.

ESOL teachers often work at adult education colleges, schools, community centers, or other such locations.  


  • Lesson preparation
  • English instruction
  • Developing teaching materials
  • Group lessons and workshops
  • Exam and homework marking
  • One-to-one lessons at community schools
  • Classroom support for younger students
  • Teaching Business English to migrant workers
  • Teaching English privately at student’s homes

Entry Criteria:

ESOL teachers are generally required to have a university degree, or a teaching qualification such as CELTA or Trinity TESOL. In some cases, a degree is not necessary, especially when teaching privately.

TESOL also demands quite a specific skills set, such as the ability to be organized, patient, dedicated, and entertaining.

  • University Degree
  • PGCE
  • Patience and motivation are key skills
  • Openness to new cultures
  • Flexibility

Salary Information:

Salaries and conditions vary according to the type of employer. Employers include schools, adult education centers, language schools, or even self-employment. Some language schools in the UK can pay very low hourly wages in the region of £8 to £10, but you should expect £15-20 per hour with a more reputable company.

Evening and weekend work is also common in TESOL, and it’s important to be flexible with time. Conditions are normally quite good, with teaching materials and classroom facilities being fully provided.

  • PGCE qualified teachers can expect a starting salary of around £18k
  • Colleges, language schools and private work should pay around £15-20 per hour
  • Watch out for “cowboy” schools paying low wages with poor working conditions

Career Path:

Part-time and short-term jobs are easier to find than permanent positions, so the usual career development path starts with a temporary post, such as working at an English summer school.

TESOL can lead to lecturing, school teaching, private teaching and even to working abroad as an EFL teacher.

One can ultimately progress to being a head teacher, or director of studies. A career path that leads to university work is also common. These jobs may take you away from teaching time, and more towards course and curriculum design.

  • Director of Studies
  • Head teacher
  • Lecturer
  • Private Teaching
  • Teaching English as Foreign Language

Major Employers

  • Public and private elementary and high schools
  • Adult education centers
  • Language schools
  • Colleges of Further Education
  • Community centers
  • Refugee and voluntary centers
  • Business with large numbers of migrant workers

Finding a Job:

Similar Jobs:

  • Primary school teacher
  • Secondary school teacher
  • TEFL
  • Lecturer

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