Something I Know...

**In the future, I will only be posting from Monday to Friday. Writing on the weekend is just too difficult in the summertime, and I wouldn't want to disappoint anyone here (including myself)!

Day 2: Educate us on something you know a lot about or are good at. Take any approach you'd like (serious and educational or funny and sarcastic)

To be honest, this one was a challenge for me.  Maybe that's why it's been sitting in my drafts as a mere list of ideas, rather than a finished blog.  I am interested in many topics, I dabble a lot, but there are only a few things I can claim to know a lot about-even then I'm still learning. 

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is one of those things, and I still have a long way to go.  From teaching in a classroom, to overseas, to summer camps, to both volunteer and paid experiences, to my newest stint of teaching online, it's been a part of my life for the past seven (7!!) years.

There are many ways one can start teaching.  It often begins with helping out a friend who is struggling in their English skills, and your interest can be sparked enough to want to travel to their country to teach voluntarily or as a paid worker.  I have known many people, including public school teachers, who teach ESL overseas for a time as a way to make fast money.  Depending on the place you go, you can earn a pretty penny in the span of a year.  It's a great way for university students to pay off some of their loans.

That being said, teaching is not for everyone, and teaching ESL can be even more challenging.  The language barrier can create a real frustration-it takes a lot of patience and a huge desire to see growth as students become more confident.  Teachers need passion that can supersede the struggles through the every day messiness.  

In terms of training, there are many websites and courses out there, but not many are worth your while.  Doing a bit of research will save you the headache of wasting your money on scams.  Here are some things to consider.

First, you must assess your goals for teaching ESL.  Will it be simply a means to an end i.e. you want to travel and see the world?  Do you want to make a lot of money, and fast?  Are you looking for a new way to get to know your neighbours that recently emmigrated to Canada?  Then perhaps a short, intensive program is good for you.  There are many organizations that offer week-long classes or four-weekends a month so the training is essentially painless and over in no-time.  They also offer job boards and networking so you can find a job right away.  If, however, you want to teach ESL long-term as a career option or in a professional setting, you should consider checking out some of the programs recommended by TESL Canada.  There are many options, from distance learning to classroom setting to post-graduate studies.

Second, you must consider the cost. How much you are willing to spend on TESOL training really depends on your goals.  I wanted to be trained quickly and professionally, but didn't have the money to spend on a post-graduate course.  In hindsight, I should have saved up and done the post-graduate course I wanted.  The course I chose was distance education, and cost effective, but not as thorough as someone with my goals would have liked.  It's easy for us to get caught up in our high demand culture and speed through a process without thinking about the end result.  Sometimes it's better to spend a little more for more thorough training in the end.

Third, you must assess your passion.  Yes, teaching ESL can be a fast way to make money, but you will never be an effective teacher if you're only doing it for the dough.  Whether you're teaching children, adults or anyone in between, their needs must be higher than your own.  A good teacher must always be learning, growing, and improving his/her own skills in order to make a difference in the lives of his/her students.

I could go into further detail, but I'm sure I've written enough blogs about this subject for one lifetime.  


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