Thursday, June 7, 2007

Private English Language Schools

Are private English schools good places for ESL teachers? Hmmm. Well, in my personal experience, they are a good place to start out. If your main qualification is that you have a TESOL or CELTA certificate, many private language schools will hire you with little to no experience. You can start to get experience to put on your resume and you’ll be able to start putting all the stuff you learned in your certification course into practice. Those are the good sides.

For me, the downsides outweigh the advantages, especially if you work in a metropolitan area where there are a lot of language schools. And note that where there are a lot of language schools, there are also usually a lot of teacher certification schools. Sometimes they will be the same school. However, working in an area where there are a lot of teacher training programs means that private English language schools will always have a steady supply of new teachers. This means that they don’t have to offer decent pay, benefits, or even preparation pay.

The working conditions are also not always ideal. For example, the director may not tell you what class you are teaching until the night before, or worse, the morning of the class. (This is because they often don't know how many students they'll have and what the levels are until the last minute.) This give you very little time to prepare. If you've done it for a while, then it won't be as big a problem, because you can just use a lesson plan you've already developed. For new teachers, this usually isn't possible.

So if you have little or no experience or if you have other forms of financial support and are just looking for a little supplemental income, then a position at a private English language school might work for you. But it probably won't be easy.


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