Why You Don't Have to be a Language Person to Teach English

Why You Don't Have to Be a "Language Person" to Teach English

You know those people who seem to have the right word for everything? The ones who get excited about word origins, the grammar police. The ones with English degrees who have been teaching World Literature for years. 

Maybe you’re not one of those people. You can still be a great English teacher. 

There is a lot to be said about having experience in your subject when it comes to teaching. Good thing you already have that! English is your native tongue, and you spend every minute of every day using it. Writing, reading, talking, or even thinking—it’s all happening in English. You have more experience with this language than nearly anything else in your life. 

Of course, there are things that you know but you’ve never had to explain before, like how “have to” means “need to,” even though it has nothing to do with having ownership. Not to worry, you’ll know ahead of time what’s coming up in class, so you’ll have time to study up a little. You can figure out why something “just sounds right” before you teach it. And if you need some help, one of your teammates will likely have taught the concept before.

There’s more to good teaching than communicating the information, though. Students are people first, and all the teaching experience in the world will not motivate them if they don’t feel like they matter. 

Your heart for your students can do more for them than the skill of English (powerful as it is) will ever be able to do. You can help build their confidence by valuing their contribution and showing them that they matter to you. You can help them learn to take risks in class, and show them that imperfection is the path to growth. You can help them discover that they are capable of more than they realize. Teaching English is the avenue, but the purpose and results are all about making a difference for the young people you have been entrusted to teach. 

ELIC comes in to equip you with everything you’ll need to start teaching well on day one. Our teachers receive a master’s-level certificate in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) as a part of their training before they head overseas. Once they reach their host country, they have the option to pursue a discounted master’s degree from an accredited university while they teach through the Master’s+ track. And ELIC does not send teachers alone. We emphasize the importance of our teams, so new teachers will have more experienced teammates to give advice and help them navigate the first year of teaching. 

You may not have the credentials you thought you’d need to be an English teacher. But if you are a native speaker who cares for people and wants to help them grow, you are well on your way to making a difference in the lives of students overseas.