How to become a better ESL teacher

1. Do it online

Many websites offer free information for ESL teachers. So if you're savvy you'll find a good deal of information online for free. Searching stinks, here's a list of links to the best ESL resources.

2. Read some books

This is the primary source of information found on the web or in courses. There are a lot of great books out there which will help you to become a better teacher. Here's a few great books to start with.

3. Watch videos

There are a number of instructional how-to videos out there where you can acquire the tools to teach. Youtube is a pretty good source for this. Here are several excellent resources that will help you.

  • University of Oregon's teacher training on Youtube.
  • ESLinsider provides an extensive selection of how-to videos shot in the classrooms of Eastern Asia with a focus on teaching English to children.
  • Teaching Channel focuses on providing resources to public school teachers, however it is still helpful for ESL teachers. Check out their Youtube channel and website.

4. Take a TEFL/TESOL/CELTA course

TEFL/TESOL/CELTA courses provide teacher training to those who would like to go abroad and teach. They are not always required, but they can provide you with at least some teacher training. These come in all shapes (in-class or online) and sizes (hours).

5. Watch other teachers

Huh, that would be a good idea wouldn't it? Imagine that, if you could actually sit in on a class and watch them teach. If you're already abroad then ask to sit in on another teacher's class in your school.

6. Join a TEFL/TESOL organization

You can garner a lot of good information from some of these. Most have monthly or yearly membership plans. Some will hold workshops or you'll be able to access online materials, tutorials and/or listen to other professional English teachers. Here's a list of TESOL organizations.

 7. Get free on the job training

Some of the larger private companies and schools in Eastern Asia offer free paid training. In some cases you can even get TEFL certified for free at their school. For example, Hess, a large company (franchise) in Taiwan with many different buxibans (private schools) throughout the island offers this service.

It can be a good idea to inquire with your prospective employer to see if they offer any training. Don't always expect much, sometimes training could just be watching another teacher for a day or it may not exist. Each school is different, so it's best to inquire within. Check out some sites where you can find an ESL job.

8. Go back to school

If you are in it for a career then you might want to go back to school. You may want to consider a degree in education or an MA in TESOL.

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Resources for ESL teachers

Starters Guide A guide to get started teaching ESL in Asia

The Ebook An all inclusive how-to guide for teaching English in Asia

The Summary A summary of Jeremy Harmers "How to Teach English"

101 Teaching Tips A 101 essential teaching tips for the ESL teacher

How-to Videos A 100+ how to teach English videos: lesson planning, teaching tips, games & activities, classroom management, etc.

Online TEFL Course Get certified to teach English abroad