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Become An ESL Teacher

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Working As An ESL Teacher

  • Training and Teaching Others
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Coaching and Developing Others
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Deal with People

  • Make Decisions

  • Stressful

  • $45,248

    Average Salary

What Does An ESL Teacher Do

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers prepare younger students for future schooling by teaching them basic subjects such as math and reading. 

Duties

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers typically do the following:

  • Create lesson plans to teach students subjects, such as reading, science, social studies, and math
  • Teach students how to study and communicate with others
  • Observe students to evaluate their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses
  • Teach lessons they have planned to an entire class of students or to smaller groups
  • Grade students’ assignments to monitor their progress
  • Communicate with parents about their child’s progress
  • Work with students individually to help them overcome specific learning challenges
  • Prepare students for standardized tests required by the state
  • Develop and enforce classroom rules to teach children proper behavior
  • Supervise children outside of the classroom—for example, during lunchtime or recess

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers help students learn and apply important concepts. Many teachers use a hands-on approach to help students understand abstract concepts, solve problems, and develop critical thinking skills. For example, they may demonstrate how to do a science experiment and then have the students conduct the experiment themselves. They may have students work together to learn how to collaborate to solve problems.

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers generally teach kindergarten through fourth or fifth grade. However, in some schools, elementary school teachers may teach sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. They typically teach students several subjects throughout the day.

Some teachers may teach in a multilevel classroom that includes students across two or more grades. They may teach the same group of students for several years.

Kindergarten and elementary school students spend most of their day in one classroom. Teachers may escort students to assemblies; to classes taught by other teachers, such as art or music; or to recess. While students are away from the classroom, teachers plan lessons, grade assignments, or meet with other teachers and staff.

In some schools, teachers may work in subject specialization teams in which they teach one or two specific subjects, either English and social studies or math and science. Generally, students spend half their time with one teacher and half their time with the other.

Some kindergarten and elementary school teachers teach special classes, such as art, music, and physical education.

Some schools employ teachers of English as a second language (ESL) or English for speakers of other languages (ESOL). Both of these types of teachers work exclusively with students who are learning the English language, often referred to as English language learners (ELLs). The teachers work with students individually or in groups to help them improve their English language skills and to help them with assignments from other classes.

Students with learning disabilities or emotional or behavioral disorders are often taught in traditional classes. Kindergarten and elementary teachers work with special education teachers to adapt lesson plans to these students’ needs and monitor the students’ progress. In some cases, kindergarten and elementary school teachers may co-teach lessons with special education teachers.

Some teachers maintain websites to communicate with parents about students’ assignments, upcoming events, and grades. For students in higher grades, teachers may create websites or discussion boards to present information or to expand on a lesson taught in class.

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How To Become An ESL Teacher

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers must have a bachelor’s degree. In addition, public school teachers must have a state-issued certification or license.

Education

All states require public kindergarten and elementary school teachers to have at least a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Some states also require kindergarten and elementary school teachers to major in a content area, such as math or science. They typically enroll in their college’s teacher preparation program and also take classes in education and child psychology in addition to those required by their major.

In teacher education programs, future teachers learn how to present information to young students and how to work with young students of varying abilities and backgrounds. Programs typically include fieldwork, such as student teaching. For information about teacher preparation programs in your state, visit teach.org.

Some states require all teachers to earn a master’s degree after receiving their teaching certification.

Private schools typically seek kindergarten and elementary school teachers who have a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All states require teachers in public schools to be licensed or certified. Those who teach in private schools are generally not required to be licensed. Most states require teachers to pass a background check.

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers are typically certified to teach early childhood grades, which are usually preschool through third grade, or elementary school grades, which are usually first through sixth grades or first through eighth grades.

Requirements for certification vary by state. In addition to earning a bachelor’s degree, they are required to complete a teacher preparation program and supervised experience in teaching, typically gained through student teaching. Some states require a minimum grade point average. States often require candidates to pass a general teaching certification test, as well as a test that demonstrates their knowledge of the subject they will teach. Although kindergarten and elementary school teachers typically do not teach only a single subject, they may be required to pass a content area test to earn their certification. For information on certification requirements in your state, visit teach.org.

Teachers are frequently required to complete annual professional development classes to keep their license. Some states require teachers to complete a master’s degree after receiving their certification.

All states offer an alternative route to certification for people who already have a bachelor’s degree but lack the education courses required for certification. Some alternative certification programs allow candidates to begin teaching immediately after graduation, under the supervision of an experienced teacher. These programs cover teaching methods and child development. After they complete the program, candidates are awarded full certification. Other programs require students to take classes in education before they can teach. Students may be awarded a master’s degree after completing one of these programs.

Training

In order to receive certification, teachers need to undergo a period of fieldwork, commonly referred to as student teaching. During student teaching, they work with a mentor teacher and get experience teaching students in a classroom setting. The amount of time required varies by state.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Teachers must collaborate with teacher assistants and special education teachers. In addition, they need to discuss students’ needs with parents and administrators.

Creativity. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers must plan lessons that engage young students, adapting the lessons to different learning styles.

Patience. Working with students of different abilities and backgrounds can be difficult. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers must respond with patience when students struggle with material.

Physical stamina. Working with kindergarten and elementary-aged students can be tiring. Teachers need to be able to physically, mentally, and emotionally keep up with the students.

Resourcefulness. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers need to be able to explain difficult concepts in terms that young students can understand. In addition, they must be able to get students engaged in learning and adapt their lessons to meet students’ needs.

Advancement

Experienced teachers can advance to serve as mentors to newer teachers or to become lead teachers. In these roles, they help less experienced teachers to improve their teaching skills.

With additional education or certification, teachers may become school counselors, school librarians, or instructional coordinators. Some become assistant principals or principals, both of which generally require additional schooling in education administration or leadership.

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ESL Teacher Career Paths

ESL Teacher
Adjunct Professor Professor Adjunct Instructor
Academic Dean
10 Yearsyrs
Translator Language Instructor ESL Instructor
Academic Director
8 Yearsyrs
Instructor Case Manager Special Education Teacher
Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Facilitator Site Coordinator Youth Director
Children's Ministries Director
6 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Instructor Department Chairperson Assistant Principal
Curriculum Director
9 Yearsyrs
Spanish Teacher Adjunct Professor Professor
Dean
5 Yearsyrs
ESL Instructor Program Coordinator Special Education Teacher
Department Chairperson
7 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Program Director Adjunct Professor
Director Of Instruction
7 Yearsyrs
Translator Spanish Teacher Lead Teacher
Director Of Preschool
7 Yearsyrs
Instructor Special Education Teacher
Director Of Special Education
11 Yearsyrs
Private Tutor Spanish Teacher Lead Teacher
Director Of Teacher Education
5 Yearsyrs
ESL Instructor English Instructor Instructor
Education Director
7 Yearsyrs
Lecturer Educator Education Coordinator
Education Program Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Spanish Teacher Lead Teacher Assistant Principal
Elementary School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Kindergarten Teacher Teacher Assistant Principal
High School Principal
11 Yearsyrs
Kindergarten Teacher Lead Teacher Assistant Principal
Middle School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Lead Teacher Educator Assistant Principal
School Director
7 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Special Education Teacher Assistant Principal
School Principal
11 Yearsyrs
Lead Teacher Assistant Principal
Vice Principal
9 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Bilingual Teacher 4.4 years
Teacher 3.8 years
French Teacher 3.8 years
Spanish Teacher 3.7 years
Literature Teacher 3.2 years
ESL Teacher 3.0 years
Language Teacher 2.8 years
ESL Instructor 2.7 years
Mentor Teacher 2.5 years
Class Teacher 2.3 years
Chinese Teacher 2.1 years
ESL Tutor 1.5 years
Teacher Internship 0.8 years
Top Careers Before ESL Teacher
Teacher 26.5%
Tutor 6.2%
Internship 6.2%
Volunteer 5.0%
Instructor 3.5%
ESL Tutor 2.9%
Server 1.7%
Top Careers After ESL Teacher
Teacher 26.5%
Tutor 5.8%
Instructor 4.4%
Volunteer 3.9%
Internship 3.5%
ESL Tutor 2.6%

Do you work as an ESL Teacher?

ESL Teacher Demographics

Gender

Female

66.3%

Male

30.4%

Unknown

3.3%
Ethnicity

White

57.2%

Hispanic or Latino

19.1%

Black or African American

9.9%

Asian

9.6%

Unknown

4.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

46.8%

French

11.1%

Chinese

8.0%

Mandarin

5.8%

German

4.0%

Japanese

3.7%

Portuguese

3.4%

Korean

3.4%

Russian

3.4%

Italian

2.9%

Arabic

2.3%

Greek

0.8%

Turkish

0.7%

Thai

0.6%

Cantonese

0.6%

Vietnamese

0.6%

Polish

0.6%

Hindi

0.4%

Hebrew

0.4%

Hungarian

0.4%
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ESL Teacher Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

10.0%

Grand Canyon University

7.6%

Arizona State University

5.9%

New York University

5.7%

San Francisco State University

5.7%

University of Massachusetts - Boston

5.7%

University of Oregon

5.2%

Liberty University

5.2%

Hofstra University

5.0%

Teachers College of Columbia University

4.8%

University of Houston

4.3%

Brigham Young University

3.9%

University of North Texas

3.9%

Temple University

3.9%

Walden University

3.9%

George Mason University

3.9%

Northern Arizona University

3.9%

University of Massachusetts Amherst

3.9%

Capella University

3.9%

George Washington University

3.7%
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Majors

Education

14.1%

English

13.3%

Elementary Education

11.4%

Teaching English As A Second Language

6.8%

Linguistics

6.3%

General Education, Specific Areas

5.7%

Business

5.2%

Psychology

5.0%

Educational Leadership

4.5%

Communication

4.0%

Special Education

3.3%

History

2.9%

Political Science

2.5%

Liberal Arts

2.3%

Area Studies

2.3%

Global Studies

2.2%

Curriculum And Instruction

2.2%

Sociology

2.1%

Writing

2.0%

Fine Arts

1.9%
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Degrees

Masters

36.8%

Bachelors

36.3%

Other

13.7%

Certificate

6.1%

Doctorate

3.8%

Associate

2.5%

Diploma

0.6%

License

0.2%
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ESL Teacher Videos

Support Your Family On An ESL Teacher's Salary In Phnom Penh, Cambodia @nojokehoward

Neal McDonald - ESL Teacher

A Day In The Life Teaching English In Korea

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Real ESL Teacher Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
ESL Teacher Bronx Academy of Promise Charter School New York, NY Nov 10, 2016 $63,684 -
$110,000
ESL Teacher Bronx Academy of Promise Charter School New York, NY Oct 13, 2016 $63,684 -
$110,000
Adult ESL (English As A Second Language) Teacher PUI Tak Center Chicago, IL Jan 07, 2016 $59,480
ESL Teacher Garland Independent School District Garland, TX Apr 15, 2015 $58,769
ESL Teacher International Education Management, Inc. San Diego, CA Oct 09, 2016 $56,000
ESL Teacher International Education Management Inc. San Diego, CA Jan 09, 2016 $56,000 -
$58,000
ESL Teacher Asheboro City Schools Asheboro, NC Jun 30, 2015 $54,730
ESL Teacher All Stars Mandarin Center San Francisco, CA Oct 09, 2016 $53,093
ESL Teacher International Education Management San Diego, CA Aug 25, 2015 $53,000
ESL Teacher International Education Management Inc. San Diego, CA Sep 01, 2015 $53,000
ESL Teacher Guilford County Schools Greensboro, NC Dec 15, 2016 $52,720
ESL Teacher Guilford County Schools Greensboro, NC Jul 01, 2015 $52,660
ESL Teacher Columbia Preschool Education Management Inc. New York, NY Jan 08, 2016 $52,175
ESL Teacher Princeton Educational Services Corporation Princeton, NJ Feb 09, 2016 $50,000
ESL Mandarin (Grades) Teacher New York City Department of Education New York, NY Nov 28, 2016 $49,908
Elementary ESL Mandarin Teacher New York City Department of Education New York, NY Aug 08, 2016 $49,908
Elementary ESL Mandarin Teacher New York City Department of Education New York, NY May 08, 2016 $49,908
Elementary ESL Mandarin Teacher New York City Department of Education New York, NY Feb 05, 2016 $49,908
ESL Teacher Garland Independent School District Rowlett, TX May 01, 2015 $49,815
Spanish/Esl Teacher Burton Independent School District Burton, TX May 31, 2015 $46,000
Spanish/Esl Teacher Burton Independent School District Burton, TX Aug 12, 2015 $46,000
Esl/Tesol Teacher Little Genius Learning Center San Jose, CA Jan 08, 2016 $45,914
ESL Teacher Guilford County Schools Greensboro, NC Jan 14, 2016 $45,030
ESL Teacher Guilford County Schools Greensboro, NC Jul 30, 2015 $44,940
ESL Teacher Guilford County Schools Greensboro, NC Jul 01, 2015 $44,210
ESL Teacher Public Schools of Robeson County Saint Pauls, NC Jul 20, 2015 $44,000
ESL Teacher Public Schools of Robeson County Red Springs, NC Jul 20, 2015 $44,000

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Top Skills for An ESL Teacher

  1. Language
  2. Classroom Management
  3. Lesson Plans
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Prepared Chinese college freshman prepare for their International English Language Testing Service examination.
  • Instituted positive classroom management strategies and disciplinary rules that effectively handled challenging behavioral issues.
  • Executed lesson plans of full-time instructors, provided tutoring services
  • Designed lesson plans and age-appropriate activities to adhere to established public school curriculum.
  • Developed materials and instructed lessons focusing on communicative activities and grammar usage.

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Top 10 Best States for ESL Teachers

  1. Connecticut
  2. Alaska
  3. Michigan
  4. Texas
  5. Maryland
  6. Delaware
  7. Oregon
  8. New Jersey
  9. Minnesota
  10. District of Columbia
  • (281 jobs)
  • (30 jobs)
  • (470 jobs)
  • (1,773 jobs)
  • (374 jobs)
  • (68 jobs)
  • (149 jobs)
  • (638 jobs)
  • (338 jobs)
  • (56 jobs)

Top ESL Teacher Employers

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Jobs From Top ESL Teacher Employers

ESL Teacher Videos

Support Your Family On An ESL Teacher's Salary In Phnom Penh, Cambodia @nojokehoward

Neal McDonald - ESL Teacher

A Day In The Life Teaching English In Korea

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