Teaching English to adults or younger students is one of the fastest-growing careers in the field of education. You can become a personal ESL trainer whether you currently are a certified teacher or not. Here's how to become a personal ESL trainer:
- Learn what you'll need to teach. Just because you can speak English doesn't mean you are ready to teach it to others. Remember, those you are teaching will be learning English later in life than you probably did. They will need more than simply your ability to hold a conversation in English. You'll need to be prepared to explain the parts of speech, how to conjugate verbs, and other language information you may not know as a native English speaker.
- Get training. Even if you have this information on the English language already, you may want to consider training to become a personal ESL trainer. Becoming a certified teacher brings opportunities to work within the school system, though you may not need this certification if you plan to work independently. Though no certification is required, you do need to be 'qualified' in other ways, such as having a good grasp of the English language and an awareness of the differences between other languages and the English language.
- Find clients. You may want to start with those who already have solid English knowledge, but want to work on their practical skills,before taking on any beginners who do not speak much English at all. Advertise as you would any small business. Many ESL students can be found around the country, particularly where large groups of immigrants reside. There are also opportunities for becoming a personal ESL trainer in a foreign country.
- Test your clients. You'll need to develop a test, at least oral, to determine your new client's approximate level of English comprehension. Ideally, test listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills individually. You will find that many clients come to you with solid overall knowledge of English, but are lacking in one or more of these areas. They may have knowledge of English from formal school settings, informal learning, or both. Be sure to ascertain what they hope to get out of their sessions with you, too.
- Focus on individuals. When you become a personal ESL trainer, you must focus on your client's individual needs, rather than trying to follow a standard training plan with every student. Being an ESL personal trainer is a lot like becoming a fitness trainer. Work on your client's weaknesses with targeted strategies while reinforcing strengths.
- Teach grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. These are the building blocks for learning any language. Learning correct pronunciation in a foreign language is a lot harder than many native speakers realize. Though these come naturally to many native English speakers, remember that your client has not lived in an English-speaking environment their whole lives. Practicing tongue-twisters is a good way to teach pronunciation.
- Use real-life teaching materials. Selecting appropriate lessons and materials for each student is a crucial factor in your student's success. There are books and worksheets designed particularly for ESL students, though real-life teaching materials are often the most effective. Depending on your client's goals, these can include ordering food at a restaurant, writing a business letter, listening to the radio or television, reading the newspaper, holding a conversation about a specific topic, or any number of other exercises. Plan for activities that focus on reading, listening, writing, and speaking.
Hiring a personal ESL trainer allows your student to get personal, one-on-one instruction individually tailored to his or her needs and knowledge. It is your job as the personal ESL trainer to ensure that your client gets everything they can out of your lessons.