What does an ESL Teacher do?
English as a second language (ESL) teachers give English language lessons to non-native speakers, often working in schools and other educational settings and teaching skills to children or adults. They prepare course materials and design lessons that cover all aspects of the English language, both written and verbal, and keep track of all student progress. They customize individualized plans for students with special requirements and create a positive classroom environment while encouraging them to reach their learning goals.
ESL teachers organize coursework and learning materials, assess student progress, write reports, and follow relevant teaching policies. They work with their students to improve their vocabulary, reading, comprehension, and writing and build their confidence in navigating the language. They also foster spontaneous and intentional conversations with students to help them understand conversational speech. ESL teachers need a bachelor's degree in teaching English as a second language or certification.
- Maintain a positive, accepting attitude in working with students.
- Ensure safety and security requirements are met in the classroom.
- Administer the classroom to create an environment conducive to learning.
- Participate in special activities and programs provided for students and parents.
- Keep accurate records of student information: compile, maintain, and file all reports, records, and other required documents.
- Cooperate with school personnel in providing for student welfare.
- Work with teams to benefit from evaluation by using strengths and improving areas of needs.
- Assist in making arrangements for speakers to come into the classroom.
- Maintain knowledge of current trends and developments in the field by attending staff development training, workshops, seminars and conferences.
- Develop and implement lesson plans that fulfill requirements of the curriculum program and show written evidence of preparation as required.
- Continually evaluate and record various aspects of students' progress and report as needed and required.
- Participate cooperatively to develop the system by which evaluations are in conformance with uniform guidelines for evaluation and assessment.
- Make teaching materials available as needed.
- Assist students during learning and planned activity time as new materials are introduced.
- Assist in supervising field trips, walking tours and bus trips.
- Bachelor's or Graduate's Degree in teaching english as a second language and teaching experience.
- Demonstrated multilingual and bicultural skills.
- Able to take on the workload with professionalism and a sense of humor.
- Will lead classes with an eye on problem analysis and solving.
- Demonstrated critical thinking and computing skills.
- Is confident and has a sound work ethic.
How much does an ESL Teacher make?
ESL Teacher Career Path
Learn how to become an ESL Teacher, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.
Average Years of Experience
ESL Teacher Insights
“Overall this is a great place to work and I look forward to my future teaching at VIPKID!”
“I was provided with teaching hours during coronavirus lockdown and my salary payments remained unchanged.”
“Great pay for part time and I get to stay home which is a raise in and of itself.”
“The pay isn't great for how hard you have to work and there is little room for raises.”
“Their tools are great and I can say it's a good training background for you in the world of online teaching.”
“Contract employee means no benefits and you have to make sure to pay your quarterly estimated taxes.”
“I think the pay is great for what I do! (Especially since I get to teach in sweatpants)”
“Maybe the pay is good for me (I think it depends on your interview)”
ESL Teacher Interviews
Frequently asked questions about the roles and responsibilities of an ESL Teacher
- Substitute Teacher
- English Teacher
- Elementary School Teacher