Finding work abroad can prove to be quite difficult,Quest Belgium looks at options when there is a language barrier. Often, expats have an idea of what they will do for work before they move abroad however, sometimes they have to change their plans and are unable to find work or set up a business in their area of expertise.
A popular job for expats living abroad is English teaching. Teaching English as a second language is very popular all over the world, including the UK. Sometimes, teachers will need to have suitable qualifications and experience prior to starting teaching, but in some cases no qualifications or experience is needed. Work as an English language teacher can be found in state schools and private language schools and companies where employees are required to know English as a second language.
What does the job involve?
Some jobs vary, depending on the age group that you are teaching, but the majority of the work involves playing games and having conversations in English. It is important for an English teacher, trained professionally or not, to be able to communicate well with students by using sounds, words, pictures and body language. Native English speakers, who have the ability to communicate well with students, are the kind of people that make good language teachers. For more qualified teachers, there may be job opportunities to teach the grammar and vocabulary of the English language, as well as being able to work with a wide range of age groups. Work as an English teacher may be permanent or temporary and is usually a reasonable paid job.
Where can I find work?
Work is available through an agency if you have taken a qualification in teaching English as a second language, many of these companies guarantee to find you work. Work is also available throughout the country and the best way to find it, is by searching online on a national job search site. As for where you will be able to work, the list is endless.
Why do companies need native English speakers to teach?
Private schools, state schools, groups, computer companies, universities, colleges and more, often need a native English teacher to educate the students and staff on the English language. Although there are often English speaking teachers already working in these environments, companies like to employ native speakers to give their employees and students the chance to listen and communicate with a native speaker, which reassures them that they are able to communicate in English with a native English speaker. When people learning English have the chance to communicate with an native speaker, they get the chance to listen to how the language is spoken and will have a better chance of developing their vocabulary and their language skills, as native speakers will be easily able to correct mistakes and teach a wider range of vocabulary, idioms and other grammar that non-native teachers are unable to do.
Tips on teaching your class
Remember that although you might not have qualifications in this area, you are in fact a teacher of this subject and need to act as a teacher would. Some schools have different rules on discipline, but it is important to discipline the class if they are not doing as they should. Discipline a class when they speak English as their second language is difficult, as they may not understand enough of the language to recognize verbal discipline. If this is the case, rarely does verbal discipline work. Instead, you should identify the problem, for e.g. if a student is distracted by using a mobile phone, take the phone off them and keep it on your desk until the end of the lesson when they will be able to retrieve it.
As a new teacher, remembering names is probably one of the hardest skills to grasp. A fun and creative way is to make name cards that sit on each student’s desk. Give each student a piece of card and get them to write their name on it, they will then fold the piece of card so that it resembles a name plate. Younger students unparticular, enjoy this task and it works well with older students and adults, as it is a good, relaxed introduction to the course that breaks the ice with the students and teachers. Every lesson the name plates should be put on the desk for you to see and then collected by you at the end of each lesson, so as to make sure that the students to not lose their cards.
Do I need to know the local language?
Having a small amount of knowledge in the local language is helpful, but not too important. If your role as an English teacher involves going in to depth with the teaching of grammar, punctuation and vocabulary, then sometimes the teacher is required to know a reasonable amount of the national language, where as native speakers that are employed for speaking and listening practice do not need to know the local language.
If you find that you can’t explain your point or a subject, then you can use visual aids and body language to help you. Teaching English as a second language is not like teaching a subject in your home country. Teachers, who teach students whose first language is English, don’t have to be so active and many lessons can be taught solely by using the blackboard and textbooks. Where as teachers, who are teaching English as a second language, need to be making their lessons fairly active and 3D. The concept of a 3D lesson is where you make use of visual aids, body language and movement. Simply making the students learn English by reading books is not a 3D approach and doesn’t keep the lessons interesting. In cases where the students’ level of English is very basic, you need to take advantage of what is around you so that you can make yourself understood. Many teachers use posters, pictures, dominoes, playing cards, white boards, drama, drawings, films, puppets and games to help their students to learn and understand.