What does an ESL teacher do?
ESL teachers assess students’ English language abilities and the extent to which they require help, and prepare course outlines, learning materials and outcomes accordingly. They may also assist teachers who have ESL students in a mainstream classroom setting. Developing new teaching materials and adapting existing materials is also key to the role. ESL teachers often work with refugees who have fled traumatic conditions in their homeland, and also help adult migrants to gain social confidence and integrate more easily into their local community by becoming more fluent in English, so cultural empathy is a must.
- Preparing instructional materials
- Recording and reporting on student progress
- Dealing with a vast array of cultural backgrounds
- Monitoring and assessing student progress
- Motivating and directing others
What skills do I need to be an ESL teacher?
All teaching roles require organisational and planning skills and the creation and execution of lesson plans. As an ESL teacher, you will also require cultural sensitivity in order to work with students from all over the world. It’s vital you have the sensitivity, diplomacy and communication skills necessary to communicate with people from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. This rewarding career is not merely a profession but rather a vocation that has the potential to change the lives of others and have a positive impact on communities.
- Cultural awareness and sensitivity
- Effective communication skills
- Aptitude for languages
- Genuine desire to help others
- Problem solving skills
In order to work as a teacher in the Australian public school system, you will be required to complete a tertiary qualification, generally a Bachelor of Education or postgraduate Master of Teaching. Teaching offers incredibly varied career pathways and the option of furthering your career in a wide array of specialisations relating to subject areas, age groups and types of educational institution. These are just some of the avenues a teacher may pursue.
Primary School Teacher
High School Teacher
Special Education Teacher
Early Childhood Teacher
Accredited Childcare Worker
Vocational Education and Training (VET) Lecturer
Study pathways for ESL teachers
Becoming an ESL teacher requires tertiary study in your field of specialisation, as well as ongoing professional development to ensure you’re on top of changes within the education sector and your subject area or field.
These courses will qualify you to work in the education sector as support staff or in childcare, a great introduction to the world of teaching.
Completing a bachelor’s degree will allow you to pursue employment as a professional teacher in Australian schools.
Additional training is available for those refining their skill set or pursuing a specialisation.
In order to work as a teacher you will need to join the register of qualified teachers in your state. Find out more in our resources section.
Getting a job after graduation
Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your teaching career. Take a look at our sample resume and cover letter and put your best foot forward when you apply for teaching jobs.
Job Prospects and Salaries
With Australia’s population increasingly made up of migrants from all over the world, ESL teachers are always in demand. Qualified teachers in general are able to find employment across all areas of the education sector, and further growth in job openings is predicted.