What You Should Know Before Pursuing a Career in TESOL/TESL

Published by on Feb 22, 2021, 05:50 pm

A wise man once said, never look down on someone unless you are helping them up. Recently, we saw the backlash and the insults that were thrown to a teacher who relished the challenge of teaching a biology lesson live on television. The teacher mispronounced a word or two, provoking some of our highly judgmental society that enjoyed demeaning the teacher.

Image via ntv7/DidikTV

This incident is most certainly not the first time. You mispronounce a word and the next moment, you witness people making fun of you. As strange as it may sound, the only pronunciation deemed acceptable might be of Queen Elizabeth's. 


So, if you are one of those who wants to pursue TESOL/TESL, but you fear making mistakes especially with your pronunciation, remember, to err is human. You can always polish your English skill. Nonetheless, by the time you graduate, you will be expected to reach C1 of the CEFR framework. 

Let's talk about TESOL or TESL, a course that is specifically designed for individuals who are interested in teaching English to speakers of other languages, but are not necessarily native-speakers themselves. Here are 5 things you need to know: 

1. TESL or TESOL is Not About English Only


As mentioned, it is not all about English. If TESOL/TESL was indeed, superficial and facile, everyone who is fluent in English would be able to pursue this course and obtain grade A effortlessly. TESL/TESOL is fundamentally about TEACHING. So, give it a thought, what makes you a good teacher? You need to be able to plan lessons, deliver lessons accordingly, apply classroom management techniques, create assessments, provide constructive feedback, etc. This course trains you to be an effective and empathetic teacher. Above all, you will be learning other subjects that are relevant too, such as sociology, philosophy and even psychology!

2. Utilize the Different Types of Technology in Classroom


We know that some teachers refuse to utilize the technologies provided by the school. They are skeptical and fixated in using their “Chalk and Talk” method. Lucky for them, students those days were not demanding. If you have decided to become an English teacher, you would most probably be teaching Gen Z. In fact you might be teaching Gen Alpha, which according to scholars are the most transformative age group ever. Do not turn your back on technology even though you are teaching language! Learn to integrate technology in your classroom and make use of the various apps/websites that exist. You can use Kahoot, Quizizz, Padlet, etc. Test them out in your classroom to see what works best with your students.

3. Be Creative and Resourceful


One way or another, everyone would have experienced a mind-numbing class where your head wobbles from sleepiness. Imagine the frustration when you are the teacher! Avoid being monotonous and bland when conducting lessons. Be creative, bring in props if necessary and try your level best to involve students in the lessons. Use the right questioning method and prompt students including those who are passive or shy to share their answers in the classroom. Add humor and be the teacher who creates a safe and exciting learning space for students! 


4. Familiarize Yourself  with the Current Issues in Education


This goes out to all educators, be it an expert teacher, a novice teacher or a student-teacher. You need to keep yourself updated with the current issues in education. Of course, some of you might think that reading up on the major problems like gender divides, income inequality, segregation and civil rights is sufficient, but it is not. You need to keep yourself updated with the smallest issues surrounding education in your local setting and also globally. Only then, you will be aware of the real problems that are happening around you and of what your own students might be experiencing.


5. Brush Up Your English Skills


Read! Read! Read! Never stop reading published journals, articles, news, educational blogs, newsletters or even books! Likewise, watch movies or shows in English with subtitles. Practice speaking in the target language so you can use the new words that you have learned. You can also join TOASTMASTERS where you learn to express your thoughts fluently and confidently while having the opportunity to engage with native speakers. Focus on all four facets of learning a language, and that includes reading, writing, speaking and listening.

In conclusion, if you are passionate to pursue your studies in this field, follow your guts and go for it. It is guaranteed to be a personally rewarding experience for most! 

Click on these links to find out more:

Your guide to studying TESOL & TESL in Malaysia

35 TESOL and TESL courses offered by 23 Unis/Colleges in Malaysia

6 Diploma Courses in TESOL and TESL offered by 6 Unis/Colleges in Malaysia

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