Five Reasons to be a Language Teacher

Teaching Jobs Melbourne

Being a language teacher is quite different compared to traditional teaching jobs. For instance, there are various pathways that you can take to become one. One way is to study your chosen language at university and then complete a graduate teaching diploma. Alternatively, you can choose to complete a TESOL course after working a few years in a different industry.

In this blog, we’re going to discuss five reasons why you should consider becoming a language teacher.

1. Travel opportunities

Most aspiring language teachers get into the industry due to the travelling opportunities that it offers. Generally speaking, such opportunities are often given to those who want to teach English in a foreign country.

Nowadays, there are plenty of organisations that offer various travelling opportunities to eager language lovers. For example, there’s EPIK (English Program in Korea) for those who want to teach in Korea. Additionally, there’s the ever-popular JET (Japanese Exchange and Teaching) program for those who want to experience Japanese culture.

Most of these programs will usually sort out your travel costs, visas, accommodation, and allowance before you even set foot in your designated country. Some of them even have online and in-person communities that you can join if you want to collaborate or meet other language teachers in your area.

Due to high demand for language teachers in non-English speaking countries, many argue that becoming an English teacher is the best way to start your career overseas. After their teaching contract is done, some teachers even decide to switch industries while they’re abroad.

In terms of qualifications, popular programs like JET generally only require a bachelor’s degree in any discipline.

2. Develop your own understanding of the language

They say that you remember 10% of what you read and 90% of what you teach. If that’s the case, then teaching a particular language is the best way to fully understand that said language.

When you have to teach non-native speakers, you need to have a solid foundational understanding of the language being taught. Even if it’s your native tongue, having to teach the basics of a language forces you to thoroughly analyse the linguistic structures of each and every sentence. This is because what’s natural to you may not make sense to a foreign speaker.

Through teaching, you will gain a deeper understanding of word orders, loan words, complex grammatical structures, morphemes and so on. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to improve your own speaking and writing skills. You will almost certainly be surprised about how much of speaking your native language is subconscious.

3. Learn transferable skills

When you’re teaching overseas, you’re going to inevitably run into people that have a different attitude to yourself. In order to be a successful language teacher, you need to be able to navigate cultural clashes, language barriers and differences in work environments. Such an experience will develop your emotional intelligence, your ability to adapt and your ability to manage conflicting personalities.

These skills are valuable in many other industries other than teaching. So, if you decide to leave the teaching profession and start a new chapter in your career, your language teaching experience will almost certainly be a huge advantage.

4. Learn from your students

Just because you’re the one planning the lessons and writing the tests, doesn’t mean that you can’t learn anything from the experience.

If you’re open-minded enough, you can learn a lot of life lessons from your students. This is especially true if you’re teaching in a foreign country. For example, you might learn a lot about Japanese school culture. You might be surprised to learn that the students are the ones who clean the classrooms after school. Perhaps, it’s your first time learning about the prevalence of cram schools in Japan and Korea. Your students’ lives can teach you a lot about different things like responsibility, academic pressure and work ethic.

This new knowledge can help you improve the way you teach or even the way you live. Teaching a language in a foreign country goes beyond the words that you say or write. You will also be immersed in a different cultural sphere that will help you gain a fresh perspective on the world around you.

5. Rewarding

Very few things are more rewarding than seeing your students succeed. The best part is success can be defined in various ways. Maybe they’ve really hit it big and got a scholarship to study overseas – or maybe they’re just happy that they’re able to grasp a linguistic concept that they couldn’t before. Whatever it is, it’s truly a satisfying experience seeing someone improve and evolve, not just as a language student, but also as a person.

Knowing that you’re contributing to the betterment of your community is worth enduring the challenging aspects of the job.

There you have it, five reasons to become a language teacher. If you have questions about teaching overseas or teaching a foreign language in Australia, don’t hesitate to contact local TESOL providers and TAFE institutions. Nowadays, there are also plenty of teaching job sites that list all kinds of opportunities in the education sector. If you’re thinking about a career change, language teaching could be the profession you’re looking for.