How to become a Teacher - English as a Second Language

Teacher - English as a Second Language

Teachers of English as a Second Language (ESL) teach, and assist other teachers to teach, students whose first language or dialect is not Standard Australian English to become proficient with the English language.

Personal requirements for a Teacher - English as a Second Language

  • An understanding and acceptance of cultural differences
  • An excellent grasp of English language structure
  • Able to identify the needs of individual students
  • Very good communication skills
  • Excellent organisational skills
  • Prepared to work outside of school hours
  • Patient when dealing with students of differing abilities and cultures

Education & Training for a Teacher - English as a Second Language

To become an ESL teacher you usually have to complete a degree in primary or secondary education with a major in ESL. Alternatively, you can undertake a postgraduate qualification, such as a Graduate Diploma of Education specialising in teaching ESL, after completing a degree in teaching, education or another relevant area (a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English, for example). To get into the degree courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English and mathematics are normally required. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. Entry to postgraduate courses usually requires completion of an appropriate bachelor degree. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. ESL teachers in Vocational Education and Training (VET) institutions require experience in designing and delivering Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) programs to adults. A VET qualification may also be required to teach at a VET institution.


Additional information

Before undertaking practical placements required by courses, students will need to obtain a Working with Children Check. A National Police Certificate may also be required. You will need to register with the teaching board in your state or territory. Teachers are required by mandatory reporting laws to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect.

Duties & Tasks of a Teacher - English as a Second Language

ESL teachers:

  • Teach students basic or advanced English language skills
  • Teach students individually and in small groups outside of the regular classroom, or assist students within normal classroom settings
  • Diagnose and assess English language competency in students whose first language is a language other than English
  • Provide assistance to regular classroom teachers by designing special teaching programs for students with English language difficulties
  • Provide advice concerning the community services available to assist students with English language difficulties.

Tasks

  • Assessing the extent of language difficulties in students for whom English is a second language.
  • Designing and producing teaching materials and adapting existing materials.
  • Teaching students individually and in small groups out of the regular classroom, and assisting students within normal classroom settings.
  • Teaching students English language skills using a variety of methods including lecture and visual demonstration.
  • Providing assistance to other classroom teachers by designing special teaching programs for students with English language difficulties.
  • Analysing, recording and reporting progress to regular classroom teachers, parents and students.
  • Preparing course outlines and goals.
  • Assigning lessons, correcting homework, and preparing and grading exams.

Employment Opportunities for a Teacher - English as a Second Language

ESL teachers work for adult community education organisations, VET institutes, universities, private language schools and government-funded agencies. They also work in primary and secondary schools. The demand for ESL teachers is affected by migrant intake levels and government policy on migrants entering Australia.


Specializations

Adult Migrant Teacher

An adult migrant teacher teaches English to adult migrants whose native language is not English, in addition to courses such as 'an introduction to Australian society' to adults who have recently arrived. Adult migrant education teachers work with individuals and groups. They may work for the state or territory government or in private organisations, educational institutions and community venues. They may also work in distance learning programmes, Home Tutor schemes and English in the Workplace programmes.

Teacher - English as a Second Language

Teachers of English as a Second Language (ESL) teach, and assist other teachers to teach, students whose first language or dialect is not Standard Australian English to become proficient with the English language.

  • Average age
    Average age
    49 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Decline
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    76% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    41 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $1,402
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Very high skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    37% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    5,100 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 1.9%
    NSW: 33.3%
    NT: 0.7%
    QLD: 18.9%
    SA: 7.3%
    TAS: 1.1%
    VIC: 28.6%
    WA: 8.2%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0.1%
    20-24: 1.9%
    25-34: 16.1%
    35-44: 21.4%
    45-54: 24.3%
    55-59: 14.3%
    60-64: 12.8%
    65 and Over: 9.1%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 3.6%
    Bachelor degree: 39.1%
    Below Year 10: 0%
    Certificate III/IV: 0.8%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 54.6%
    Year 10 and below: 0.1%
    Year 11: 0.1%
    Year 12: 1.8%
    Years 11 & 10: 0%
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