How to Make the Most of Your Online TESOL Degree
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, English language learner students in cities made up an average of over 9.4 percent of public school students. If you want to provide these students with the language skills they need to succeed in the U.S., start by pursuing an online or traditional classroom TESOL degree, and you’ll be “teaching English to speakers of other languages” (TESOL) before you know it.
The following tips will help you set yourself apart in your online TESOL degree program and prepare you to make a difference once you get an ESL (English as a second language) classroom of your own.
1. Start Thinking Like a Non-Native English Speaker
As an ESL teacher, you’ll spend most of your time with recent immigrants, helping them acclimate to their new environment and giving them the language skills they need to succeed in American society. You can start preparing yourself now by taking the time to imagine what life would be like as an immigrant. Watch films in foreign languages, volunteer as an ESL tutor, study the cultural heritage of Mexico, India, Japan and other nations, and if possible, travel. Finding opportunities to identify with your students will help you become a more empathetic and inspiring teacher.
2. Look into Teacher Certification Requirements
Certification requirements for ESL teachers vary by state. However, a regular teaching certificate and a TESOL endorsement are generally all you need to get started. If you familiarize yourself with the licensure criteria in your state now, you may avoid future certification hurdles.
Request information from online TESOL degree programs. They will put you in contact with school representatives who have all the information you need. You can also check with your state Department of Education for detailed licensure information.
3. Find the Right Degree Program
Online TESOL degree programs vary. You can find shorter certification programs, bachelor’s degrees and graduate-level programs in our database of accredited TESOL programs. If you are interested in pursuing a job in higher education, or a leadership role in an ELL (English Language Learning) department, start by getting your bachelor’s degree in education, then pursue a master’s degree in TESOL.
If teaching is your passion, look for an endorsement or certification program that can get you into an ESL classroom in as little as a year.