So you got the teaching bug and you itched it with your lovely new TEFL certification. The next step: finding your dream job. While on the hunt for a new job, everyone remembers the basics. How much is the pay? What are the hours? Are my days off consecutive? These are all valid questions and it is definitely information everyone should look into before accepting a position with a new company, but have you considered the classroom demographic you wish to spend your time teaching?
The truth is, there is a large demographic of potential students out there. Each can be rewarding in their own ways, and each has their own list of pro’s and con’s. The best way to determine which group is best for you is certainly based on experience, but that doesn’t mean you can`t choose any particular group of students to focus on while job hunting.
There are six general age groups for your potential students.
- Young Learners: Young learners and generally between the ages of two and six years old, and are taught in a kindergarten class.
- Primary School: Primary students are generally between the ages of seven to twelve and are taught in a local primary school.
- Middle School/High School: Middle school and high school students are generally between the ages of thirteen to seventeen and take their classes within a local middle or high school.
- College/University: College and University students are generally eighteen years or older and are enrolled in a local college or university.
- Adult Learners: Adult learners are generally eighteen years or older and take their lessons in a setting other than a college or university.
There are three basic levels of English learners. This refers to the students’ current level of English. Any given age group can be any given level.
- Beginner: The beginner level is comprised of students who are new to English. They are first time learners and are just beginning their adventure with a new language.
- Intermediate: Intermediate students will have a basic level of the English language. They may have a large vocabulary and grasp tenses but may lack the structure to put them into use in natural conversation.
- Advanced: Advanced students will have a greater understanding of the English language than intermediate students, and will be able to function higher in a natural setting. Most advanced students will continue to study for employment or higher education reasons.
There are numerous environments you could potentially teach your students in. Each setting can affect your hours, days off, the number of students and more. It is very important to teach in the type of environment that suits your personal needs as well as your professional needs.
- Kindergarten: In the Kindergarten setting, you are generally with the same class for 5 hours a day. During this time, you are not only responsible for your 20-40 minute English lesson, but also the day-to-day routine that comes with a day at Kindergarten. Whether it is outside play, arts & crafts or class performances, you will be a part of it.
- International/collaborative Schools: Some companies work in collaboration with local high schools where you could be integrated into the regular routine of the students` classes. In these environments, you will usually work alongside a member of the local staff. Many of these settings are an international organization, so you could end up with students from all over the world and not only your host country`s nationality.
- After School Program: Sometimes, companies will make a partnership with various institutions. Once a school`s regular hours finish for the day, a student (for an extra fee) may attend an extra English class to help further his or her studies.
- Language Learning Center: Language learner centers are quickly becoming the most common system in most countries. They are private schools/businesses set up independent of local schools. Students attend the classes after their regular day of school has ended. These centers operate mostly on evenings and weekends.
- College/University: The College and University setting are more or less the same universally. Your hours and days can vary. You will more likely than not be teaching an advanced level and could be in a specialized field of the English language. Such as business English, or medical.
You could easily expand these categories and get even deeper into the various ages, levels and environments of teaching English, but these basics will help give you an idea of what is available, and what to look for while securing a job exactly the way you want it. Happy job hunting!