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Frequently Asked Questions

    How does a rookie teacher instruct an ESL class in China?
    Hi. I will be having my first ESL experience in China. I was wondering if anyone has any advice or a few strategies for the ESL classroom. If anyone has any tips specific for Chinese classrooms, that what also be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    • ANSWER:
      My advice to you is be prepared. Have a basic plan of things you could teach and how you will teach them to different levels.

      I myself was put in a classroom situation to teach the day after arriving at my first ESL school (in Korea) with no textbooks or course syllabus. Having preprepared class materials and lesson plans got me through that first day and from then on things became much easier.

      Knowing a few English learning games is always a great way to endear you to students here are a few examples you could use, (Board races) (Charades) (Chinese whispers, no pun intended)

      I hope this has been useful to you and good luck

    How should I set up a middle school ESL classroom?
    I just accepted a job as a middle school ESL teacher (7th-9th grade). I'm looking for any tips on how to set up my classroom, including the physical make up of the room, classroom routines, classroom management tips, reward systems, etc. This will be my first year as a teacher (aside from substitute teaching). Although I am certified to teach middle school ESL, I am used to the elementary age. Any suggestions will be appreciated! Thanks!

    • ANSWER:
      You will have to hit the ground running as far as the room; so you will want to see what it looks like. If there aren't bulletin boards, have the maintenence staff put some up. Since it is not a self contained classroom, the scheduling of the children is a hard part. You will want the children to come to you, which means, that when you set up their schedules, you don't want them to miss to many of their core subjects. To set up the schedule, block out all the periods of the day for each day of the week. Then, you have to get the schedule of your caseload and distribute their hours in accordance with their needs. Generally, a start of the year room even for upper grades has the back to school theme, but somehow you have to make it relevant to the preteen, tween age child. Also, as it is ESL, you need labels around the room. You will need flashcards, either you make or buy. For management, I suggest, copious praise for good behavior and never sit down. I don't know about your district, but I never stop moving. Also, I make hands on the desk or in view. Mostly, you have to have them learn English, so they can function and be out of your caseload. If you didn't retrieve the school issued stapler, you need that, a grade book, which they should provide, paper they should provide. This means, that whatever the procedure at the school for obtaining supplies you will need to get in the know. The same is true of copier procedures. At the school's orientation meeting, they usually tell teachers the discipline procedures and rules. They often assign a mentor for new teachers. But not all systems function as they declare. Take your time getting the room ready, spotless, then figure the schedule. It doesn't happen in a day. You will also need lesson plans, as they will probably check your lesson plans and visit your classroom for observations. You shouldn't have behavior problems, just that they are reaching an age where learning a new language is not as easy as when younger. Plus, some children are more anxious than others. Regarding rewards, it is not like elementary school with stars and the like. If there is another ESL teacher in the school, try to coordinate with her. There used to be a website for all types of teachers, but I can't find it anymore. You might try starting with the site below and see if it leads to anything. My friend teaches ESL, but she doesn't have the types of behavior problems that were seen in an urban area, and I hope that your case is similar. If so, then I think you will enjoy the older children much better. I used to block out the schedule on an open manilla folder. That gave me a big space.

    How high is the demand for ESL teachers in USA and what is the average pay?
    I am currently looking to enroll in a teaching ESL education program, and I am seriously thinking about how good my options for work will be as soon as I graduate. I live in Florida but my husband is in the military so we are constantly moving out. Does anybody know how high is the demand for ESL teachers in USA and particularly in Florida? Any suggestions about things to do in order to get a job in this area once you graduate?

    • ANSWER:
      There are a few jobs in the states for ESL teachers, but it's usually only good for working in bigger cities with a high immigrant population. San Antonio Texas would probably be a good place to work, as there is a high Hispanic population there. Otherwise, I wouldn't recommend going for ESL teaching. Most of us who are in college for it plan on going overseas to make our careers. Maybe you should just get an English degree if you want to stay in the US.

    What adjustments could a teacher make to learning materials to make them comprehensible to ESL'S?
    In other words what I mean is the Learning Materials that you provide ESL high school students and NOT the actual learning activities. So what I would like to know is what can you do with the learning materials for an ESL high school student in a case where independent readings contain concepts with multiple step processes which can be difficult and written assignments are difficult without considerable instructional support?

    • ANSWER:
      - shorten sentences
      - simplify vocab
      - use pictures to illustrate steps
      - record written texts so students can listen to them (helpful for some, but not all, ESL students)
      - make study guides that summarize the info

    What are all the requirements to be an ESL teacher abroad?
    I want to be an ESL teacher in Europe but I don't know what degree to get or if it requires a bachelor's degree or a masters or even a doctorate. I really need help! I am going to talk to my school counselor about it but I thought I should ask first. Also, what are good places to do it? Is it a high stress job? Would it be better to teach in the U.S than abroad? I just dont know. Thank you!

    • ANSWER:
      It can be hard for an American teacher to teach ESL in Europe. You will want to major is Teaching English as a Foreign Language, Education, Linguistics or English if possible. Though normally they will accept other majors as well.

      There are still some European programs that let you teach before your Bachelors.

      BEDA is a program for the Catholic schools in Madrid. It does NOT require a Bachelors (but you need to be in at least you second year of college). Technically you are not a teacher (you are an assistant) You work 16-24 hours a week and your pay varies based on the hours you work. You must be a native English speaker, older than 20 and competent in Spanish.

      Catholicism isn't your thing? OK, then just work for the government. People from the United States or Canada can apply to become an Auxiliare de conversaci n. You could end up teaching anywhere in Spain in schools ranging from Kindergarten through 12th grade. You get at least 700 Euros a month (depending on the hours this could increase) and you pay nothing to apply. It is designed for Junior and Senior College students (so no Bachelors needed) or recent graduates.

      You have no desire to be in Spain. France rocks a similar program. You need to be an United States citizen (or have a greencard) . You must be between 20 and 30 with at least 2 years of college experience.and you must be proficient in French. You make about 780 Euros a month. There is a small fee to apply.

      With the current education system in the states it may be faster to get a job abroad (though not necessarily Europe, normally Asia). Depending on the state you may or may not need more certifications in the States than abroad.

      Quite often you don't NEED any certificate other than a BA abroad. If you are a native speaker with a college degree this will already get you several job opportunities.

      Alright, to start if you aren't a "native" speaker(From England, South Africa, The United States of America, New Zealand, Australia etc) you will want to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The TOEFL IBT (Internet Based Test) is the most known now as it includes speaking and writing, though the Paper Based Test is still accepted in some places. Be sure to check before you take the test to know what scores you need and what test is preferred. This is to prove your English level to your school. While it doesn't always substitute for being a native speaker (especially if it is a visa requirement) sometimes it does.

      So that's the TOEFL (different than a TEFL)

      Sometimes schools want more than just a native speaker, they want someone who has shown some commitment to teaching and have a certificate. That's when you'll see them ask for a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

      Two of the more well known (and thus more valued) are the Cambridge Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) and the Trinity College London Certificate in TESOL. There are a lot of different courses out there, but the CELTA and Trinity are by far the two best known, that doesn't necessarily mean they are the best but they are reputable. They have hours of in class teaching and hands on time with the moderators. While the CELTA is technically focused on adults I rarely see problems with this.

      I think it is easiest to think of the whole thing and compare it to shoes.

      The TEFL and TESOL certificates are shoes and you need a pair to get where you are going. The CELTA and the Trinity are like Nike and Adidas if you tell people you have them they know you have "good" shoes.

      Now there are a lot of online certificates; I wouldn't encourage these as many schools won't take them, BUT it you already have a job and you'll get a pay raise or you are just looking at jobs that take online ones then this is great. CELTA has started to offer an online version, but I haven't heard from first hand sources how it is.

    What books or websites can help me make ESL lesson plans?
    I will start work at an ESL teacher at Japanese junior/senior high schools soon. I need help planning lesson plans. Can anyone recommend a book or a website?

    • ANSWER:
      ESL lesson plans ae below.

    What should I major in if I want to be an ESL teacher?
    I really want to be an ESL teacher, however, I do not know what to major in in college. I have noticed that there are majors at certain colleges that are 'ESL majors,' but I know that that's not required and plus, I do not want my major to be that specific. Would it be best to major in something like general education, and minor in Spanish? Please advice from current ESL teachers.
    Thanks in advance.
    Or can you major in psychology as an undergraduate and still get into graduate school for TESOL?

    • ANSWER:
      General Education is excellent as you have to learn to be a teacher before specialising in TESOL. Spanish or another language is a bonus. Linguistics would be great if it's on offer. I wouldn't advise Special Ed as ESL students have different needs. Psych would be good but you must also do Education if you want graduate TESOL.

    What are the rates for ESL teachers in the middle east?
    I need to know what I can expect to make as an ESL teacher in the Middle East, and if there's any radical cultural adjustments I need to be ready for.


    • ANSWER:
      I was an ESL teacher in Russia. Each company that you work for has a different pay scale. They also have other your rent, reimburse for tickets, etc. Of course there will be cultural adjustments, isn't that way you want to go there to teach, to learn a new culture? Good luck, I loved my experience, I hope that you do also.

    What classes do i need to take in college become ESL teacher?
    To become a middle school ESL teacher, what classes should i take in college, and how long would it take me to graduate?

    • ANSWER:
      Just get an English degree and a single subject teaching credential. You can do it in three years if you hustle, but most likely four. By that time, however, ESL will probably be built into every teaching credential anyway, because of all the illegal aliens who come here for free education. Are you sure you want to be a teacher? It really sucks. I've been doing it for 13 years in southern California and the conditions just keep getting worse and worse.

    ESL: What are the best schools in Japan to teach English?
    Meaning which ones are the best to work with in terms of assistance, living expenses, pay, hours, etc ... Applying to all types of schools excluding university level education.
    Basically, I am graduating next year and I am planning on taking an ESL course then look for a job in Japan to teach English as a second language. I would really appreciate housing/living expenses and good pay. Any suggestions?

    • ANSWER:
      If you are going for corporate esl than ecc has the best reputation for treating their employees fairly and providing assistance.

      There is high competition for esl jobs in japan right now. A lot of unemployed teachers here now already with experience.

      Companies are not offering much as far as paying for housing anymore and the job pays about 250,000 yen for full time work.

      If you want to teach esl south Korea has a better Market more perks and more money. If you are set on japan expect to male some compromises in Those areas.

    What is a good one-month ESL course preferably within the Peel District?
    I am staying in Brampton, Ontario for a month and would like to take a good and reasonably priced ESL course. I am not a citizen but am picking up my permanent residency card within the month. Are there any recommended schools/programs I can attend that is reasonably priced? Thank you so much in advance!

    • ANSWER:
      I think you could check out the Ontario Teachers Federation monthly professional magazine.It has a lot of useful information such as continuing education courses. such as ESL courses.It also will give you information on ESL job opportunities .Some courses can be done online.I would think that you could also check out the Ontario teachers professional website to give you further information regarding both courses and job opportunities.

    Is it legal to combine ESL and Special Education students in one class in Louisiana?
    Due to recent budget cuts, my school started combining ESL and Special Education students into one classroom so hypothetically they are receiving the services designated in their IEP. My question is, is this legal? I am not a certified Special Education teacher, but I am certified in ESL. I do have the Special Ed teacher come into my class for one hour a day though.

    I am asking if this is legal, because it spreads me so thin. Some days having so many students with different special needs makes me want to scream. The other teachers have no special needs children.

    • ANSWER:
      if the IEP says they will be included in a typical class and ESL is considered a typical class--they are using a loophole to make it legal..their IEP probably says they only get an hour of in class support...

      it is highly unethical and unprofessional through

    What is the difference between a physical education class that is ESL and one that is mainstream?
    What is the difference between a physical education class that is ESL and one that is mainstream? How is the lesson plan different? Are ESL students and mainstream students in the same class?

    • ANSWER:
      I've never heard of an ESL physical education class. Usually ESL students have picked up enough English to be able to function in a physical education class that is taught in English.

    How can I find ESL placement agencies online?
    I work for a university with an ESL program. I have learned that there are placement agencies that students who want to learn English can use to help them find schools. We would like to market our program on these agencies, but I'm not sure how to locate them on the web. Do you know some, or can you suggest a search term that would work?
    Please note: I am not looking for agencies that help teachers find ESL teaching jobs. I am looking for agencies that help students find places to study English.

    • ANSWER:
      I suggest asking on the website below. It's full of ESL experts. Also, a Yahoo search for "ESL Agencies" comes up with roughly 50/50 teacher and student placement agencies.

    Considering ESL learners, why is it important to consider the differences in various languages related to?
    Considering ESL learners, why is it important to consider the differences in various languages related to

    phonemic,semantic,syntactic variability?

    • ANSWER:
      If you are an education major, you really should do your own homework. Even if you do not teach the ESL class, you will have kids who are not native speakers.

      think about it: you've got a kid who grew up speaking spanish and a kid who grew up speaking russian and a kid who speaks german. Think of the differences in these three languages. What problems might the russian have that the other two may not? What would be a new concept for the spanish speaking kid that the german would not have? (English is a Germanic while Spanish is a romantic.) Besides the words, what else is different between German and English? Just apply simple logic to this.

    What certifications do I need in order to teach ESL in Texas?
    I'm a retired school teacher of 25 years in Texas. I'm looking into teaching ESL part-time. I can make a lot more money teaching ESL than I can just substitute teaching. What certifications do I need to teach in Texas and how long does it take?

    • ANSWER:
      ESL is an endorsement area in Texas. As you are already certified, you would need approximately 4 courses and the appropriate licensure test. You could fit it in within a year if you have a college nearby which is approved by the state with the endorsement area and which offers the classes on a regular basis.

    What high school courses can you take to prepare for becoming an ESL teacher?
    I obviously know english is needed and I'm taking German because I want to be an ESL teacher in Germany. I know there are plenty of college majors for this, but I would like to know of any high school classes would help me before I go to college. Thanks in advance!

    • ANSWER:
      I would say that is about all high school offers for the ESL portion. But for the teaching program, you can take things like psychology, and any education classes they offer. I know my school offers a halftime college program which really helps for people trying to get into teaching because it helps you get some of the credits you need early.

    How can I improve academic achievement of esl students?
    I am a teacher of ESL students, and I am currently working on a thesis about improving academic achievement among these studetns. I am looking for ideas and research on the topic. Any help out there?

    • ANSWER:
      I have a few ideas that I think would be good possibilities for you.

      For instance, many ESL students graduate with good reading and writing skills but their listening and speaking skills are not good enough for effective verbal communication with native English speakers.

      My company has developed a unique line of English pronunciation software programs that can help ESL students fully develop their English listening and speaking skills.

      More and more schools are incorporating accent reduction classes as part of their offerings. In fact the TOEFL has just changed to add a speaking section.

      I would love to discuss this with you. My company would also be happy to help you conduct a study that incorporated English pronunciation software. You can contact me through the contact information on my website (

      Steve Bo

    What is the guideline for instructional placement of ESL students?
    Which students should be placed with a certified ESL teacher? High functioning, middle functioning or low? I'm not ESL certified & had high students who did extremely well this year. The low students were placed with another non-certified ESL teacher while the middle functioning were placed with the ESL certified teacher. Next year, they are placing the high students with the certified teacher. This doesn't make sense to me. What are the guidelines?

    • ANSWER:
      The guidelines vary by state and by district. Check with your state board of education and your local district. It also depends on what the scoring criteria was for determining their ESL level as well as the length of time in the country and predominant home language.

    Would a BA be a solid start for a career in ESL?
    I am going for my BA in English Language and Rhetoric. I would like to possibly work in ESL.

    1. Would an English degree be a solid start for a career in ESL?

    2. What do ESL careers really consist of?

    • ANSWER:
      It's a bare minimum. On top of that, you need a certificate in teaching ESL/EFL, or, preferably, a master's degree. Go to and click on Jobs. You'll see what jobs are out there and what the requirements are.

    how much would you get paid for an ESL teacher in China?
    I am planning to migrate in China and work as an ESL English teacher. Does anyone knows the bracket of the pay. I'm from the Philippines and have almost 15 years of teaching experience from grade school to high school to college. ESL teacher for grade school is what am looking for.

    • ANSWER:
      Watch out !!!! It is a big scam they promise a lot but at the end of the day you are certainly not given what was told.
      Read this :

    How do I become an ESL teacher?
    I have a Bachelor's Degree in Communications from Illinois State (wish I took another route, but oh well) and I really would love to be an ESL teacher. I took Spanish and Arabic classes in college and would love to take more and incorporate that with my love for teaching children. I looked online and all I can find are online college programs for ESL certification. I would rather go to an actual campus than take online classes. Does anyone know how long it takes to be certified? How about the steps it takes to become an ESL teacher in Illinois or America. Thanks so much!

    • ANSWER:
      In order to become an ESL teacher one requires a professional ESL certification.

    What are the average salaries of ESL teachers in each country in East Asia?
    Which countries pay the best and worst? I know it varies within each country, but what would you say is an average salary in each of these countries? The places I would be most interested in hearing about are: Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Singapore, China, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

    I am a US college graduate without a TEFL Certificate and only minor ESL teaching experience if that helps. What could I expect to make in each of these countries?

    Answers from people who have recent experience in teaching in these places would be especially helpful.

    • ANSWER:
      Try: there are 100's of new ESL Jobs all over the world.
      Read the job descriptions and you will get a good guide to the salaries in each country.

    What are the differences between ESL and bilingual teaching?
    I'm a native Spanish speaker with a graduate degree from the U.S. (in Public Administration) living in Texas. I think that since there is a shortage of bilingual and ESL teachers, being a teacher in any of these two areas would be a good way to make a living. Do you think ESL or/and bilingual teaching can be a good match for me? What are the differences between these two areas?
    Thanks for your help! I appreciate your sharing :)

    • ANSWER:
      I am a teacher in Thailand, and so the difference between ESL and bilingual education is pretty clear. Bilingual education is where students take core subject classes in two different languages - here Thai and English. At the school I used to work at, they would take all of their core classes, math, science, social studies, even PE, in English. Then they would take all of these again in Thai. Plus they have their language classes, like grammar and writing, both Thai and English. This way students recieve the specialized acedemic vocabularies in each language.

      The expectation is that they are learning in English, but not neglecting their native language as opposed to the international schools where instruction is only in English and graduates tend to be weak in their native language (as compared to someone in a Thai or bilingual school). An ESL program is typically geared toward getting someone to be able to survive in an entirely english environment. So we had ESL at the bilingual school to help kids in their English classes and we also have ESL at the international school.

    How can I get money to pay for ESL certification?
    I'm graduating this fall and I won't have any money, but I'd like to get ESL (English second language) certified and teach overseas. However, the websites I look at all say it will cost at least a thousand dollars and I don't have that money.

    So my specific question is: Can I get loans to take the ESL certification course?

    Thanks for your time.

    • ANSWER:
      If you mean ESL certification courses that are sponsored by TESOL, the national organization for ESL teachers and administrators, then you probably cannot get money from one of the usual sources of aid for education. This is because the ESL certification is not part of a college course leading to a degree.
      However, if you enroll in a Master's in TESOL or linguistics or a related field, then you can get financial aid in the usual way. Just ask at the school that you are interested in. Without a MA in the field, you will not go far in getting good jobs.

    Can esl student in high school get international baccalaureate as same as everyone does?
    Does esl student get same benefit as everyone does. I mean esl are poor but do they get same benefit like getting ib diploma or so. Well just asking .

    • ANSWER:
      If you go to a high school that offers IB and you get into the program, then yes, it makes no difference. Take into account that there are fees that you will have to pay to do the IB. So long as you are able to pay them, it will not change anything if you are an ESL student. You will get exactly the same benefit.

    How did classrooms go from being bilingual education to having separeate classrooms in an ESL program?
    I'm trying to find out how after bilingual education ended due to Prop 227, classrooms for ESL started up. What led to the transition of these two programs?
    I'm writing a paper about how Chicanos and education, (I myself am a Chicana) I know that after Chicano movement, and the student walk outs one of the demands was bilingual education, I live in southern California and the elementary school that i was in had bilingual studies but after my fourth grade year, 1999ish... they stopped it. I though it had just transitioned into ESL.
    The point is, I'm just trying to get as much information about this as possible.

    • ANSWER:
      different demographic of kids led to a different program.
      ESL program was developed for kids who spoke NO English, but lived in a place where they need English.
      In the bilingual program, the kids spoke both languages upon entering the class.

    What is the role of ESL teachers at your school?
    I am curious in learning more about this field. I am earning my certification in Secondary Social Studies, but I have been told that it is difficult to get a job in this field. ESL is in much more demand, is it not?
    What do these teachers do all day? How does their work differ from a normal classroom teacher?

    • ANSWER:
      It all depends on your school district and what grade you teach. For example, I teach first grade ESL in Miami-Dade County. All of my students are level 1 and 2 students. I have a bachelors in Elementary Education and I have an ESL and CCHL endorsement. Because of the large ESL population in my school, each grade level has a minimum of 1 ESL self contained class. As a self contained teacher, I have the same job as a regular classroom teacher except I must provide CCHL (Curriculum Content in the Home Language - This year it is Social Studies that is being taught in Spanish). In other schools where the ESL population is smaller, the ESL teacher pulls out the ESL students for their Language Arts block. In Middle and High School, the ESL teachers teaches a course called Language Arts/ESOL. Again, this is how it is done in my school district which has a high ESL population.

      My work differs from other classroom teachers in the sense that I must submit a request for a LEP meeting if I see that a student is not meeting expectations. I must create a Pupil Monitoring Plan like other teachers but if the student is still struggling I must first request another LEP meeting and hope and pray that the school district approves the request for a Bilingual Assessment and a Student Study Team. I must make sure that I use different methods to teach concepts and I must use more visual aides to help the students understand what I am trying to convey to them. I also use a lot of hands on activities and I use technology to help them hear others speak English. Although I do speak Spanish, I limit my use of Spanish and speak Spanish only during Social Studies and when I have information to give to the students that is extremely important.

    Some tips on teaching brainstorming techniques to ESL students?
    I teach a group of ESL students in the U.S. They're at a high intermediate level. I'd like to teach them some brainstorming techniques. Does anyone out there have any suggestions?
    Thank you in advance!

    • ANSWER:
      This website has some good information:

      Another resource you might try:

      It's not ESL related, but Charles Cave has a good website on creativity:

      Happy brainstorming!!!

    What's the average salary of an ESL instructor at an Ohio university?
    I make about 00 a year (tax free) and don't have to pay for transportation or my apartment (with tons of vacation). However, I'd like to move home soon. Does anyone have any idea what the average salary of an ESL instructor at an Ohio university is?

    • ANSWER:
      University do not have esl instructors.

      We teach in English.

    What does a high school ESL class in the US look like?
    I've taught ESL both in the US (to adults) and abroad(to kids). I've been wondering what the environment of a high school ESL class is like back in the US. Do you cover all of the subject material that they get in school and teach new words needed for those subjects (science, math, history etc)? Are you just teaching them grammar and converstation while they get content in their native language for the other classes?
    Sorry if my questions sound ignorant, I'm really curious.

    • ANSWER:
      Our students come to ESL class every other day as an elective. The classes are divided first by grade and then by a combination of ability level and mother tongue. A typical class might have three students from Korea, two students from Iran and one from China, all of whom speak very little English and all of whom are in the same grade. The time in the class is used to support them in their other academic subjects, which is why the teacher-student ratio is never more than 1:8 (and it's usually closer to 1:5). Students use the tutorial time to do their classwork (which takes longer because of the linguistic barriers) and get help from the teacher (who has to be familiar with both the English language and the curriculum in each class at that grade level). The types of things you would teach in an EFL course (abroad) like grammar and pronunciation appear infrequently and usually in one-on-one instruction, not whole-class instruction.

      Approximately 25% of the students in my school are ESL, and all academic subjects (save foreign language immersion programs) are taught exclusively in English.

    How do I teach an ESL class about hospitals?
    I'm teaching an ESL class for Mandarin speaking Chinese-Americans. It's awesome, but I have no idea how to approach healthcare with them. Many want to know how to make an appointment at a hospital or clinic, and I feel a bit unprepared to handle it.

    So. Important Vocabulary? Questions which may be asked? What is the best way to do this? Is there a website I could go to, or someone I could contact on the subject?
    ESL = English as a Second Language.

    • ANSWER:
      What is ESL?

    How long does it take to become a ESL teacher?
    how long would it take?
    what would you need to become an esl teacher?
    how much do they get paid?

    • ANSWER:
      In my state you need to major in some other Teaching program and minor in ESL (ESL is not a major here). This takes about five years to complete ( bachelors plus minor ) and I needed to complete my student teaching in both my major and in ESL. After all that I took the praxis PLT exam and the exams for English teaching and ESL. The pay for ESL teachers is the same as any other licensed teacher.

    What would be a good ESL intermediate lesson plan for a 1 or 2 student ESL classroom?
    Unfortunately, I cannot find lesson plans for one or two student classrooms for ESL instruction. It is going to be used in a middle school classroom. I need about 20-25 minutes worth of activities to use during the class period.

    Also, I'm looking for a low intermediate lesson plan that is designed for a one or two student classroom for an elementary classroom, which will be used for about 25-30 minutes.

    Thank you for your help. I really need it!
    These lesson plans will be primarily used for reading or writing activities.

    • ANSWER:
      Yeah, I can give you lots: you can do several things with parts of speech, you just have to modify it for the students' levels. Sorting activities are a good ESL activity, especially if you can pair a picture with the words that are used. For example, teach them the concept that nouns are persons, places, and things. Then have them sort word/picture cards into those three categories. You're teaching the concept of what a noun is but also teaching them basic vocabulary (persons: man, woman, baby, child, boy, girl; places: school, restaurant, store, beach; things: book, pencil, desk, television, clock, milk, bread, etc.). Then you can have them look through magazines to find pictures of persons, places, and things and make a nouns book - something they can refer back to when reviewing basic vocabulary words. I also like to do something similar to this with adjectives - teach them that adjectives tell what color, how many, what kind, and which one. Colors and numbers are very basic, so these kids should have learned those by now. What kind can be done easily with basic words - fat, thin, flat, round, tall, short, etc. And which one, well those are just the demonstrative adjectives - this, that, these, and those. Have them sort easy familiar words into those categories. I like to do a stand-up activity with the demonstrative adjectives - one student stand close to me (this student) and another one far away (that student), then several students close to me (these students) and several far away (those students). How about pronouns - match subject to object pronouns (I and me, they and them, we and us, etc.). Just remember that card stock and a good printer are your friends.

      Then there's some reading topics - I like to do sequence with animal life cycles - it's easy to draw pictures of the egg, the caterpillar, the cacoon, and the butterfly. This incorporates a little science, too. But also, add ordinal numbers (first, second, third) and other ordering words (next, then, finally). Point out that these are "clue words" when looking for sequence in passages. You can also teach them that timelines and recipes are in sequence.

      Or how about fact and opinion. Teach them the concept including pointing out the idea that opinions sometimes have the words "I think," "I believe," and "I feel" as part of the statement (or they can be assumed). Have several statements written or printed on sentence strips and have them sort the statements into the two categories.

      Need more ideas? Or do you have a specific concept you want to cover but don't have a good idea, just email me - I'm sure I have something up my sleeve.

      Oh, that brings up another one. Teach them about idioms. There are lots of websights that have idioms. Have some literal drawings of several idioms. Talk to the students about what they literally mean and what they figuratively mean. Discuss how all langauges have these and that they may find reading passages with lots of idioms difficult so they need to become familiar with some of them. Then have another set of literal drawings and have them match the drawings to the saying. You might want to have them discuss some idioms from their home langauge (you may have to look some of these up prior to class - I have a long list of Spanish idioms). Then you may want to have them select an idiom (from their home language or from English) and have them illustrate it.

      Seriously, email me if you need more help.

    How to become an ESL teacher?
    I'm starting to think teaching ESL may be something I'm interested in, since I already want to major in linguistics. What's the process of teaching abroad? What's the typical job availability/pay? Do I have to be fluent in the language of the country I teach in? What are the most common/best countries to go to? Any advice or experience would be appreciated.

    • ANSWER:
      Haha, my mom is an ESL teacher! She really loves it. I don't know much about it but I do know you don't have to know their language. It may be easier, though. It depends on what level your teaching, like if you teach level 1-3 you may want to learn their language because it would be easier, but thats the only reason why you would have too.

    What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of a intermediate esl class?
    I'm doing a research and I would like you to tell me about your own classroom's experiences as an ESL teacher. Thank you!

    • ANSWER:
      Strengths: by the time the students are at the intermediate level, they are better able to communicate with the teacher. For example, if they have questions, they are usually able to ask them. They are able to converse with the teacher more easily, so the teacher can get to know them better and adapt his/her instruction to their interests and needs.

      Weaknesses: students often know a lot of "pieces" of language (vocab and grammatical rules for structures) but struggle to put them together into longer discourse. Also, within a class there can be a wide variety of skills in different areas. Some might be advanced in reading but beginning in writing, and others might be the opposite - but they're all still in the same intermediate ESL class.

    How does one become an ESL teacher?
    It's a career I'm interested in, but many of the colleges I'm interested in do not have an ESL Education major. Would it be possible to major in regular education first, then get ESL certification? Are there any other options?

    • ANSWER:
      Many (if not most) ESL jobs are available without ESL certification. You only need a four year degree. Obviously having it in education helps. Alot depends on where you wish to teach.

    What is the difference between ESL and EFL?
    ESL is abbreviation for English as a Second Language and EFL is abbreviation for English as a Foreign Language.

    • ANSWER:
      It's just a matter of semantics.

      ESL (English as a Second Language) is mostly out of use as it is only appropriate where the student has only one other language, which is not always the case.

      EFL (English as a Foreign Language (definitely not First, see the Wikipedia link)) is also becoming outdated as it is only useful if the language is not an official language of the country of residence.

      The Term EAL (English as an Additional Language) is more encompassing as it applies to the maximum number of situations.

    What college courses should an aspiring ESL teacher take?
    I'm trying to arrange the perfect roster that will help me with my dream job, ESL teaching in China, and was wondering what classes are recommended to take. Since my school has no ESL teaching program, the closest I can come to figuring it out is "secondary education teaching" and looking over that some classes make me wonder if they are needed, such as minor math classes. Of course, I'm still a dumb young man so probably would need it and am just unable to see it.


    • ANSWER:
      You might want to investigate a degree in Linguistics, as that is often used in ESL programs. If you stick with a secondary education degree, you should look for a concentration in English, and take as much linguistics as you can as part of that degree.
      The math requirements and other courses are typically required because it is part of a liberal arts education. As an educated person, you are expected to be well rounded in a number of areas, not just technically trained in your own field.

    Where are the best places in Boston to be a volunteer esl tutor?
    I live in Boston, have my TEFL certification, and one day hope to teach English overseas...
    For now, Im in Boston. Any suggestions where In Boston I could work or volunteer as an esl/esol tutor? I'm most eager to work with immigrants.

    • ANSWER:
      I'm not in Boston, but I'm an ESL teacher. You might check out this program: . You can be a volunteer ESL tutor with them. You also might ask at your local schools. I would love to have volunteers come in and work with my ESL students, but we don't have any. You'd probably have to be fingerprinted and have a background check before volunteering at a school, but it could be some really good experience for you.

    Is teaching ESL overseas a good career choice? Even if one wants to do it for life?
    Is becoming an ESL teacher just as good/better than teaching in ontario?

    • ANSWER:
      It really depends on what you value about teaching in Ontario and what you might value about teaching overseas. For example, salary in most countries would be much lower than in Canada. In some middle-eastern countries, you may be paid almost the same, but in the People's Republic of China, you would be paid about 20% of the pay in Canada. You may value the new experiences and cultural education you would gain, but you may be annoyed by some conditions and social behavior that isn't what you want. For example, in South Korea, most ESL jobs are in small, private schools. The parents of the students are the bosses. Teachers may be expected to stand on the street corner in the snow handing out adverts for the school

      In the PRC, cleanliness is not nearly as important to the Chinese as it is to North Americans and Europeans. Behavior can be seen as very rude (cutting you off by stepping right into your path as you walk, hacking and spitting on the street, cutting into line, rushing into an elevator as the doors open rather than waiting for anyone to get out first, spitting out fish bones onto the table). In most areas of the middle-east, you might find it difficult to find a beer or a bottle of wine.

    What is it like teaching ESL for public schools?
    Is it competitive to get these jobs? Do you need a master's in ESL and a teacher certification, or will an English degree, an ESL endorsement and a teacher certification be good enough?

    How is the stress and workload different from teaching a regular English class?

    • ANSWER:
      Teaching ESL in public school has been my dream job for 14 years. I love it. I have a BA in English and an adult school credential. In California, you also need to pass the CBEST. You need a master's to teach at a community college, but most ESL classes are at adult schools, because it is cheaper, and ESL students often are low income.

      The stress level is much lower than in a regular English class, especially in high school. ESL students are from countries where they treat teachers with mountains of respect and courtesy. They are the sweetest, nicest people, so eager to learn, and so so grateful for your help and patience.

      I was a practicing attorney for ten years when I went back to school to get my credential and change careers. Looking back, I wouldn't change a thing! My life us far richer because of my students.

      Regards, and good luck!
      Lady Morgana

    How much demand is there for ESL instruction for adults?
    I've thought about going to grad school to get a master's degree, so I can teach ESL to adults. However, someone suggested to me that I might not be able to find a position in which I would be teaching adults, and that I may have to apply for positions in which I would be teaching children. I don't want to teach kids or teens, though, so would it really be a good idea for me to pursue this?

    • ANSWER:
      I taught ESL in public schools for a year, then went to Taiwan and taught English there with various ages.

      There are jobs teaching English to adults in the U.S. Many more overseas. Lots of companies want to train their employees in English. I worked for some of these companies in Taiwan.

      Having a master's degree gives you a leg up on the competition. Education is always worthwhile.

      College students might be another option for you. They are good to teach- motivated and make lots of progress and are smart.

      Best wishes to you.

    How (BESIDES AS AN ESL TEACHER) would you structure a one-day-a-week English teaching position?
    How (BESIDES AS AN ESL TEACHER) would you structure a one-day-a-week English teaching position? I need to work either 2 mornings or one full day a week. I have no idea how my school would do this, but I thought I'd float it out there, in case you work p-t or know anyone p-t with this schedule. Thanks!

    • ANSWER:
      I am not sure what you mean by "besides as an ESL Teacher", unless you want to teach something other than English, which doesn't seem to be the case, so that line is confusing.

      My set up is probably similar to what you want. I teach two "evenings" a week. I have a total of five classes, two on the first night, three on the second. I have no repeat students in a week's period. Each class is completely independent on its particular needs, since they are broken down into abilities more so than age.

      I teach what the class needs, with some guidance from the school, but I am mostly left on my own to teach my way and my particular lessons. Now, in my case, all students are indeed ESL students so if you mean by your original statement that you want to teach English to students in a school setting but they already speak English as a basic language, then, yes, your school will need to determine how best you can fit into their program. Good luck.

    What is it like teaching ESL for public schools?
    Is it competitive to get these jobs? Do you need a master's in ESL and a teacher certification, or will an English degree, an ESL endorsement and a teacher certification be good enough?

    How is the stress and workload different from teaching a regular English class?

    • ANSWER:
      The competition depends on where you live. You probably won't need a master's in ESL. Your English degree, teacher certification and ESL endorsement should get you in the door. The stress is higher because you're working with children who not only don't speak English as their primary language, but their culture is different, as well. But as you get to know the students and their cultures, you can learn to love them.

      The best way to assess this, though, is to contact the principal at a local school, ask him for an appointment for 15 minutes of his time. Go in (well dressed with a short list of questions) and spend some time with him. Take no more than 15 minutes. He/She may invite you to observe an ESL class and/or introduce you to one of the ESL teachers at the school.

    Is there an alternative forum to Dave's ESL cafe, for teachers looking at international jobs?
    I'm trying to find information about teaching overseas during the summer. I thought Dave's would be a good place, but I can't seem to get permission to join because I am only interested in summer work and would prefer not to get a TESOL, (I am already multiply licensed). Apparently, Dave doesn't want people like me on his forum!

    Does anyone know of an alternative to Dave's ESL cafe that would contain a discussion forum?

    • ANSWER: is a great site to get info and find jobs on teaching overseas. I got my first ESL job through that site. I am not sure if it has a discussion forum but it does have a lot of info on teaching, career development and destinations.

      I hope this is useful to you.

    What is it like to be a public school ESL teacher?
    How does the workload and grading compare to being a regular English teacher? Is there a demand for ESL teachers?

    • ANSWER:
      The job is actually harder because ESL is usually a resource class and teachers send their kids to you. You may have classes that are multi age, multi level and multi subject. A lot of the ESL assistance is done by aides these days. I think the best thing would be to qualify for both ENglish and ESL, or else become bilingual.

    Can you teach English in Thailand without a degree? Is ESL course enough?
    My partner and I want to teach English in Thailand for a year.

    I have a Bachelor of Education and am planning to complete a ESL course before I leave. Can I find a job before entering Thailand? How much would I look at getting paid?

    My partner doesn't have a degree but will complete a ESL course. Can he get work? If so how much can he expect to earn?

    How do we go about working visas? accommodation?

    Any advice would be great!

    • ANSWER:
      You don't need a ESL to teach in Thailand since you have a degree in Education, your friend needs a degree and ESL to teach, but some places try to overlook it to get a English Language Speaker. But getting the work permit may be hard if he doesn't meet the requirements including a police check. Depending on where you teach you can get between 35,000 and 40,000 baht a month. Your friend less if he can get a job. You need to come and be interviewed just like any other job and some schools want you to work a week or two before they give you the necessary papers to go to KL and apply for a Type B employment visa. So get a tourist visa and come and look around. Remember public schools are closing for the summer and will not open again to mid May. I know of a school that may want you in Ratchaburi but not your friend. It's in a very rural area, a private high school about 30 km from town with apartments for teachers. You can email me if you wish and I can give you more information.

    How to become an ESL teacher?
    I live in California. I am looking to get my bachelors in English (what's the specific English degree required for ESL teaching?) Also, I'd like to travel abroad and teach in a Spanish speaking country to gain experience. What are the degress required in order to do this?

    • ANSWER:
      All you need in order to teach ESL is a state certification. It sounds like you would like to teach in a bilingual setting rather than an ESL setting. For ESL classes, the teacher just uses different techniques to help children who have English as a second language, but the children are fluent in English. The teacher doesn't have to know that second language in order to teach the child. He/she just needs to know the techniques. In a bilingual classroom, the children may speak some English, but not fluently. With bilingual programs, children are taught in spanish and english. Either way, you just need a certification specific to that area (i.e. ESL, Bilingual, etc).

      Hopefully that helps!

    How would you explain the word "occasionally" to a class of ESL students?
    I am supposed to think of the best way to explain the word occasionally to a class of ESL students, but I honestly am stumped. Would I use a picture? Mime it? Realia?


    • ANSWER:
      Say the word "sometimes" in their first language and write down the word and the English translation on the board. There's gotta be a word for "sometimes" in every language. Make sure to use every language represented in your class. Not every ESL speaks common languages like Spanish.


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