Why Study TESOL?

Thinking about teaching ESL overseas?
Thinking about teaching ESL overseas?

A TESOL certificate is your passport into the thrilling field of Teaching English overseas. There are over 300 million people studying English in China alone, so your job prospects after completing the course are fantastic.

But, this question should really be: why do you want our TESOL Certificate Course over all others? We provide a comprehensive course, which includes practicum here in Tianjin, an online specialization, and lifetime career support. We prepare our students for all aspects of life overseas.

What is TESOL? Teaching English overseas is a word full of acronyms. Here’s an overview: TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language), TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) all teach English to non-native English speakers. The difference is: TESL is for teaching in an English speaking country while TEFL is for teaching English abroad. TESOL encapsulates them both. CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is the British equivalent to the TESOL, but the 80-hours a TESOL student completes at their own pace is done in a classroom setting.

Why would I want a TESOL Certificate instead of a TESL, TEFL, or CELTA certificate? A teaching certificate is an investment, so it’s important to think about the upfront costs, and the return on investment. CELTA is very well-known, but a TESOL can be completed in less time, and at a fraction of the cost. The last part is important, because unless the job you’re applying for specifically calls for a CELTA, you’ll probably be able to get the same job with a TESOL.

Which study options does ESL Suite offer? We have two different methods of study. The first is our In-class course which is offered in Tianjin, China. This is the preferred method of completion. Classes are fun, lively, and full of like-minded people. Students learn from each other, as well as the instructor. If you cannot find the time or cannot attend the course in China, you can take the course online. There is no difference in the materials covered, regardless of the method of study. So, it’s simply a matter of deciding which learning style is best for you, while taking into account your budget and schedule.

What kind of job can I get after I complete the course? When teaching abroad, you may teach students of all ages. Children as young as three go to English kindergartens, while senior citizens study English as a hobby. You might teach primary or secondary students, businessmen, housewives, other teachers, or people who study English to improve their job prospects. Most schools focus on one or two age groups, so if you have a very strong preference for a specific age, make sure you’re placed accordingly. English teachers are in high demand in China, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, and the Middle East, so it’s also a good idea to start thinking about which location fits your broader personal/professional goals.

How can I get started? We have weekly information seminars in Tianjin, but for those who don’t live nearby, we’re happy to answer questions by phone,email, or schedule a consultation via Skype. The course dates are listed below, and you may register for one of our sessions here.

2015 Courses

  • October 14-18
  • November 4-8
  • December 2-6
2016 Courses

  • January 20-24
  • February 24-28
  • March – Dec: TBD

“Friends of the Firm” Referrals: Don’t forget to tell a friend! We believe there’s no better source for teachers than from a trusted friend! That’s where you come in. We offer generous bonuses for referrals to our TESOL courses, or for successful teacher referrals. Here’s how it works:

  • Online TESOL referral: $50
  • In-Class TESOL referral: $100
  • Teacher referral: $100

***Bonuses are paid for TESOL referrals after the student has paid in-full; for teacher referrals 3-months after the teacher arrives in China. 

There’s no better motivation to launch your overseas teaching career than to enroll in a TESOL course. I did it seven years ago, and it completely changed my life. I came to Tianjin in 2009 and haven’t looked back. In the meantime, I’ve traveled to Japan, Korea, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, and at least a dozen other countries! And, I’m not alone – for many people, teaching English and traveling the world becomes a preferred lifestyle choice.

The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second best time is now.” Your dreams also may be waiting for you just around the corner – get started today!

http://www.eslsuite.com

Reusable TESOL Games and Activities: Sticky Ball and Dice

The key with TESOL games and activities is keeping them fresh. Even the most exciting activity can induce eye-rolls from your students if you return to the well too many times.

When I got my first teaching job in Luoyang in 2011, I generally only saw the same students once every two weeks. Over the course of a week, I would teach 18 different classes, and the following week I might teach 18 different classes. This made it difficult to remember all my students names and their language proficiency level. On the positive side, it meant that any game, activity, or ice-breaker I designed had a very long lifespan.

I could play a game with one class, and when I saw them again two weeks later, the game would still be new and exciting. I could use it again a third time as a warm-up, so a single game or activity could sometimes last as long as six weeks.  However, at my current school I teach my own classes, and sometimes see the same students twice a week. Now, remembering their names and skill level is easy, but I sometimes find myself running out of games to play, because the lifespan of the games is much shorter.

As a teacher, you learn to value games and activities that are reusable or easy to adapt. Games can be used repeatedly, even though you’re teaching levels, or different words and sentences. These are also useful as “fall-back” activities, for when you need to suddenly fill-in for another teacher, or you have extra time left at the end of class. I’d like to share a few with you here, today.

Sticky Balls and Dice
The sticky ball and dice are a teacher’s best friend–they’re versatile and useful teaching tools. Some schools don’t have a lot of teaching aids and materials, so you must make do with some basics to keep the class exciting. Something as simple as throwing a sticky ball on a flash card stuck on the whiteboard is something children love. Chinese students are extremely competitive, so it can infuse energy into a class. Plus, it can add a little randomness to what they want to say, because the language they use is dictated by what card they hit on the board.

With younger students, when you teach them prepositions such as on, under, in, over they can throw the sticky ball on the whiteboard, the computer, the window, a chair or even a book, and then use that to make a sentence, e.g., “Where is the ball? It is on the wall!

I also have the alphabet printed on laminated cards, and students can spell simple words by throwing the sticky ball at the letters, hitting the letters in sequence. They enjoy it because it’s spelling practice, but it’s also like a sport; they’re competing to get the most points. This works better with slightly younger students, as it takes to long to write words like “Music Performance” and “Birthday Party” when you have to throw a ball at each letter.

Similarly to the sticky ball, dice can be used in a myriad of ways. For example, I use a big plush die to play “hot potato” with my students, having them pass it to each other until I say, “Stop!” Then, they must either ask or answer a question related to the subject or grammatical point I’m teaching.

Instead of sticking flashcards on the whiteboard, I number a set of words from 1-6 and I have the students roll the dice to see what word they have to use. I also conveniently usually only have 6 students in my class and they sit in numbered chairs from 1-6, so I draw boxes on the floor with words or small assignments and then throw the die in a box to see which student has to perform the action or make a sentence using the word. These are small simple activities that are in no way topic specific and can be used for teaching and practicing almost anything. I find that simplicity is king when it comes to designing games and activities, because the simpler they are, the easier they are to modify. That way, one game turns into many games!

Do you have any dice or sticky ball games you like to play with your students? Share in the comments below, or send a link to your blog!

By: Mikkel Larsen

Mikkel Larson

Mikkel is a Chongqing based teacher, blogger, and photographer. He has lived in China since 2010, and can be found blogging here, here, and here

How to Write a Resume for ESL Teaching Jobs

This is
This is a perfect example of an appropriate photograph!

The staff at ESL Suite puts their eyeballs on a lot of resumes. That doesn’t make us the experts – if you’re writing a CV with hopes of becoming a programmer, break into the film industry, or gain admission to medical school, you’ve come to the wrong place. What we can do is help you make a splash with the hiring manager at an ESL school in China.

English schools in China are looking for very specific information.  The reason for this is that  some of the details on the résumé are  necessary later when you’re applying for a Chinese working visa. For example, it’s much more difficult to get a Foreign Expert Certificate if you’re not a native English speaker from the US, UK, South Africa, Australia, Canada or New Zealand. That information is critical, thus it ought to be at the top of the page.  There are also specific age requirements, as well as the usual necessary information about your education and work history.

It’s probably helpful if I start by listing each item or section sequentially, or how it should ideally appear on the page from top to bottom:

Another Great Looking Photo!
Another Great Looking Photo

Candidate Profile:

  • Your full name
  • A recent, professional looking photo in the upper right-hand corner of the page.
  • Birth date or age
  • Citizenship
  • Native language
  • Marital status (optional)

The body:

  • Educational background including the name of the institution, discipline studied and completion date.
  • Relevant certifications – if this includes a CELTA or a TEFL/TESOL certificate, that’s great!
  • Relevant skills section (optional but a nice touch).
  • Work history which includes the company name, location, dates of employment and bullets listing your responsibilities or major achievements.
  • Other professional experience which might include internships, volunteer work, etc.
  • Links to published work.
  • “References available upon request.” (typed at the bottom of the page).

A footer, which includes:

  • Your name
  • Current address
  • Mobile telephone number
  • E-mail address
  • Skype profile name

And finally:

  • References – it’s a good idea to include both professional and character references.
  • Professional references are necessary – at least one must be your direct supervisor from your previous position.
  • Make sure the contact information is up to date.

Although much of this information is pretty boilerplate, there are a few major differences that are probably attributed to cultural norms in different regions. This is particularly true in the “Candidate Profile” section. Information such as your age and mother language aren’t often necessary when applying for jobs in the west, so some people might be put-off from including this on their CV.

Say “Cheese!” 

It’s common practice in China to include a recent photograph of yourself on a CV. A professional looking photo, set from the shoulders up with a plain background is typical.  This seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised the types of photos I’ve seen – some border on absurd. A photo that doesn’t include a beer funnel in your mouth is probably best – think college yearbook photo, only more recent.

Got TESOL?

Regarding the  TEFL/TESOL certification; if you have one, that’s definitely a big “win”. If not, don’t fret – there are dozens of good choices,  and certification can even be completed online.  If you’ve started a course but haven’t completed it yet, simply listing the projected completion date will be enough to secure you an interview. It could even be a good talking point during the Skype interview – being able to discuss what you have learned so far, and asking a few well-crafted questions will probably go a long way towards securing the job.

If you were a hiring manager, would YOU hire you?
If you were a hiring manager, would YOU hire you?

… so, if you would, would you walk us through a typical day, for you?

Your work experience is also important. Teaching experience is not always necessary, but a few years of work in a field that has transferable skills is usually good enough. If you have any background working with children, that’s a plus. People who have held jobs which require planning, organization, customer service skills and/or creativity have potential to become good ESL teachers. If you don’t have any teaching experience or experience with children, try to find volunteer work. A local orphanage is a good idea, or you can coach a little-league sports team.

The final touches

The references you include should be reliable, chosen well (they should give you a glowing recommendation!), and their contact information should be current. If they can give you a signed recommendation letter on company letterhead, that’s even better. And don’t forget, it’s always a good idea to tell your references beforehand that you’re in the midst of a job search. It’s better if they’re prepared for calls from your potential employers.

Lastly, check your spelling! Believe it or not, I still see CV’s and cover letters that haven’t been spell-checked. Sending a résumé  riddled with typos is the best way to sabotage your job search before it even starts.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to attract an HR hiring manager’s attention and increase your chances of being contacted for a job. Recruiters ee dozens of resumes everyday, so it’s critical that you present yourself in the best light possible, and that your resume includes all the information relevant to the position!

Perhaps this list isn’t exhaustive – if you think I missed something, let me know and I’ll add it to the list! In the meantime, GOOD LUCK on your search for a rewarding teaching position in China!

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