Hey dear friend, if you already speak it very good, have you ever thought of teaching English?
Yeah, to become an English teacher, whether you’re a native speaker or not.
There are a thousand reasons to do so.
But it’s not that easy, mostly because there are different ways to get there, each one with pros and cons.
A lot of questions populate the Internet about it:
- Where do I start?
- Can I work as an English teacher in Korea?
- Is it possible to do that with a degree in Journalism or no degree at all?
- How long does it take?
- When should I do that?
- How much does it cost?
Let me walk you through all these issues in this post.
The awesomeness of being an English teacher
There are abundant benefits in being an English teacher:
1. That’s a job that no technology will never render obsolete: humans prefer to deal with humans.
2. You can teach English anywhere: in your own country or in the heart of England, as demand is so high there are not enough native teachers to satisfy it.
3. It’s an excellent way to travel the world and have an income while doing so.
To be a globetrotter is a wondrous thing, but it’s easy to go broke fast.
By teaching English while you explore the planet, not only you have means of support, but you connect with locals at a much deeper level.
And you know that whenever you feel it’s time for another phase of your adventure, you pack up your luggage and land somewhere else – and you have a job there too.
4. It’s a fulfilling job. If you haven’t worked in other fields before you may not realize it, but it is.
You’re not polluting, you’re not promoting wars, you’re not exploiting animal or vegetal life forms.
By teaching English you change lives, you empower people. You make them free.
But well, one question arises:
Where should I start, if I want to teach English?
First of all, by knowing English very well. You can find plenty of information on this website about how to get to that level.
And well, if you’re a beginner English learner, you have a long way to go, but… you can take advantage and keep a learning journal.
What should you journal about? Your path, the points you struggle with. It is going to be incredibly useful once you’ll train to become an English teacher.
As a general rule of thumb, you should at least be at a C1 before to embark on this journey.
There are various English-language certificates available to prove that you have such a level.
And that’s a first step. Then, there are several ways.
The university way to become an English teacher
The classical way is to get through university: language and literature studies, translation and interpretation, etc.
Most universities will accept your application only if you already master English to a high degree before to enrol.
I’m not particularly fond of universities when it comes to languages.
Most of those I’ve dealt with focus too much on things which are of interest only for a restricted amount of specialists, much less for those who want to translate or speak or teach languages.
They are long, time- and energy-consuming and, alas, expensive.
I’m not telling you to avoid universities. I’m merely telling you that there are other ways to become an English teacher.
The accredited school way to get to teach English
On top of a university degree, you need further qualifications if you want to make a career as an English teacher.
You’re indeed required to also have an official certificate that proves that you have the skills specifically required to teach English to speakers of other languages.
Now, the interesting part is that you can get straight to such official certificates, without bringing a B.A. or a M.A. to the table.
Yep, that’s right: you are not obliged to have a university degree to become an English teacher.
That means, you can work as an English teacher if you have a journalism, law, economics or engineering degree. Or no degree at all.
Let’s get back to the certificates for English teachers now.
Certifications for ESL teachers
Many of the best teachers of ESL (English as Second Language) I have met in my career boast a Trinity CertTESOL certificate: it’s one of the most widely accepted diploma in the world.
If I hadn’t my life settled here, I’d definitely get one and grab a one-way ticket to somewhere. Perhaps in the future, who knows?
But well, I have thought about it deeply and made some investigations.
Where to get your CertTESOL qualification
I worked with some schools offering the Trinity CertTESOL.
Each of them has its pros and cons; however, this EBC school in Madrid seem to me the one I would go to.
Why? Well, for a bunch of reasons:
1. They are real pro: good teachers, supportive staff, premium educational tools and methods, excellent premises. You make questions – they answer, before the course AND after the course.
2. It’s an accredited centre of the Trinity College and offers the CertTESOL qualification, which is a top-notch degree for an English teacher.
This is a crucial point.
The acronym TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.
Now, you may find a lot of schools offering you “TESOL Special Courses”, “TESOL Training Programs” and so on.
But! there is just one unique CertTESOL and it’s exclusively handled by schools accredited by the Trinity College, just as EBC Madrid is.
3. It is located in the heart of Madrid, at few hundred meters from the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.
4. The fee is very reasonable. If you don’t think so, take a look at other schools and let me know what you find out.
5. They offer flexible programs: online, offline, mixed.
6. Madrid is not only an excellent place to study for the four week course, but it is also one of the most affordable capitals of Europe.
Plus, it’s a tantalizing city with a vibrant night scene and excellent quality of life, but you probably already know this.
7. It’s the only school in Spain boasting a Trinity College accreditation, hence, it’s the only school in this country where you can get your CertTESOL certificate.
8. EBC Madrid gives you life-long access to their graduate placement program. Meaning: you look for a job in four months after the graduation, in four years or in four decades: they will be there for you.
Want to know more about the school?
Check their programmes and tariffs here below:
Of all the points mentioned here, I’d highlight two of them.
One is about the overall price of such certificate.
How much does this CertTESOL cost me?
That’s not a secondary matter, is it? “How much is going to cost me the obtention of this CertTESOL certificate?”, you may wonder, as we all do.
If you’re on a budget, you want to think it veeeery carefully.
According to my calculations, board and lodging in Madrid costs half than cities like Edinburgh, Berlin, Rome, Lyon, Stockholm.
If you take into consideration places like Munich, London, Milan, Paris or Dublin, a month in Madrid will cost you a third of that price.
Where will I work as an English teacher?
The second point is about employment.
One does not realize what a critical matter is, until tries to get some help from his school and receive no answer.
EBC Madrid has a list of vacancies, from all over the world, to match with your experience and desires.
That’s interesting if you’re on the opposite side of the globe, but it is just as much if you teach English in your own neighbourhood.
You know how much time and effort you save if you can call back your school to get another job, instead of screening potential employers and teaching opportunities yourself ?
There’s a dramatic shortage of English teachers in Asia, South America, Southern Europe, Middle East. Russia, Italy, Romania, Egypt, Spain, you name it.
I have no doubt that you’ll make do when looking for a job. But you never know.
In China they do look for teachers, a lot. The problem is that if you don’t speak enough Chinese to write an application and have an interview, you won’t go very far on your own.
Can I really become an English teacher if I am not a native speaker of English?
You bet you can.
They are two different kind of experiences.
The native speaker brings to the teaching a terrific background, encompassing culture, good accent and prosody and of course an in-depth knowledge of the language.
Non-native English teachers, however, have no less to offer.
They can deliver to their students the experience of learning a language from scratch, the thrill of the discovery, the way they have found to overcome the inevitable hurdles.
They often speak multiple languages, which give them a sensational point of view on English and a special touch when transmitting notions to learners.
If you think about employers discriminating people for not being native English speakers, forget about it.
They don’t, any more than they might discriminate someone for being tall, short, slim, fat, blond, bald, blue-eyed or black-eyed.
So, the matter of your origin is irrelevant.
CertTESOL makes an excellent impression on a CV
Indeed: this certificate is an awesome asset to put on a curriculum.
Even if you turn to public employment, business or other fields, a CertTESOL qualification is certainly marvellous to have.
Why? If you’re an English native speaker, employers may derive from it that you have communication and leadership skills.
If you’re a native speaker of languages other than English, it’s still a terrific proof of your English mastery.
If you were to teach English to foreigners, you’re certainly capable of using it in whichever way in a normal working environment.
Now, this all sounds amazing, right? Right.
Nevertheless, there is no school, course or certificate able to transform you into a good English teacher if you do not put some effort in it.
Effort before your CertTESOL course, effort during it and effort after having graduated.
It’s not about getting a piece of paper and then you’re done.
EBC Madrid, during the CertTESOL course, teaches you to prevent and correct the mistakes that any new teacher makes:
- talking too fast,
- correcting every single error you detect,
- being too nervous,
Having said that, your CertTESOL certificate is just the beginning.
You need commitment: try, even today, to teach English to someone.
In two minutes, you’ll realize that mastering English does not automatically turn you into an English teacher.
You must keep honing your abilities: never settle, always explore new ways to dumb down difficult concepts.
Observe other teachers, ask for honest feedback, go to seminars, read books about neurosciences and sociolinguistics and everything you can put your hands on.
Learn other languages yourself!
You need to be tech-savvy: technology nowadays offers awesome tools to improve one’s teaching.
Use it diligently, but by all means, use it profusely when it works.
Now, not the most important criteria when choosing where to get your CertTESOL certificate, but not the last either.
The location. Let me tell you a bit more about Madrid.
Spare time while getting your CertTESOL in Madrid
I told you how cheap is Madrid compared to most of Europe.
Let me also state that English is quiet spoken in the capital. The locals are very helpful too, so that leave no room for fear of miscommunication.
Now, let me suggest you the stuff to do and see while here. 📷
Madrid is home to two of world’s most famous soccer team: Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid.
Thanks especially to the first, flocks of fan come to Madrid every year to visit the stadium, its museum and its shop.
But world class soccer is but a feature of this wondrous city.
I don’t mean to tell you that you’ll have plenty of spare time.
Getting a CertTESOL certificate is no easy deed. Becoming a successful English teacher, isn’t something you could do with your eyes shut. 🤨
Nevertheless, you will certainly have the opportunity to enjoy Madrid.
Once in Spain’s capital city, you’ll discover what it means to be located in the exact geographic centre of the country.
Madrid has always been the spot where the whole of Spain is represented: you get fish as fresh as in Santander and flamenco as stirring as in Seville.
But during the last twenty years or so, the burgeoning economic growth and immigration have shaped a more sophisticated city, with:
- an astounding art scene,
- a diverse population,
- a number of opportunities for sightseers,
- a vibrant nightlife, and
- some of the best restaurants of Europe.
All of this, without losing its particular small-town flair, its attention to local traditions.
There’s more than what I have listed below; nonetheless, you’ll get a glimpse of how special it is.
You can start your exploration in the Barrio de los Austrias, named after the Habsburg monarchs whom made Madrid the capital of Spain.
A warm café con leche and some pastries in one of the city grand cafés, is an excellent way to get your engine going any day.
Make sure you visit the Royal Palace, on one side of the Plaza de Oriente.
As the visit could easily take few hours, for lunch you’ll want to enjoy the variety the iron-and-glass San Miguel market has to offer.
This is a space buzzing all day long with patrons enjoying local fare from some 30 vendors. Enjoy some bites such as crisp-fried squids or delicious tortillas.
And when you can’t (temporarily) take anymore of inductive and deductive grammar teaching, what about a visit a half day visit at the massive Santiago Bernabéu stadium, where the Real Madrid soccer team plays?
Tours are offered daily in the 85.000-seat stadium, including walking down the players’ tunnel and snap some photos.
Or you can score tickets and watch a match, as a real madridista.
You can’t miss the museum and the store is also a must-visit: where else can you purchase original t-shirts, scarves, caps and other memorabilia?
You may want to plan your visit to the Santiago Bernabéu complex upfront: have a look at Real Madrid’s official website.
Or, if you’re more into relaxed strolling, Madrid Río is at your disposal.
That’s a cool idea for another half day.
Madrid Río is an 8km-long lush park carved out of an old ring road along the Manzanares River, inaugurated in 2011. It’s possible to rent kayaks and bikes.
At its eastern end, furthermore, lays Matadero Madrid, one of the most captivating cultural spaces.
The striking Moorish-industrial buildings once home to the livestock market and slaughterhouse, have been turned into a venue of concerts and art exhibitions.
Did you study the whole week and now feel like taking a break?
As Friday night approaches, you can join the local folks in Malasaña, where the hip is.
Hearty food and music is easy to find here.
Foodies and instagrammers will love a typical treat such as churros con chocolate, sugary fried pastry to dip into hot brown gold.
And then, of course, clubs with live music are a must.
Nightlife is thrilling, but what about Madrid’s extraordinary cultural scene?
At walking distance of each other, you can find Spain’s three top art museums: the Reina Sofia, the Prado and the Thyssen-Bornemisza.
Their collections are so vast, you can easily spend a whole week, full time, just gazing at such masterpieces and still not making a dent.
Take one per weekend or you’ll get exhausted.
The city centre is another area worth roaming around.
No shortage of restaurants here.
If you happen to be hungry when you pass by, you can easily chose between modern plates, like crave-worthy sliders with caramelized onions, or more traditional ones, like crisp cod fritters.
When the fashion victim inside of you cannot any longer be restrained, you can find solace in the Salamanca district.
There is no shortage of Gucci, Manolo Blahnik and their ilk.
Or zapaterías, shoes store selling handmade handbags and oxfords from Alicante, the biggest shoe-making complex of the Iberian peninsula.
When night closes in after a long day of studies, you are ready to discover other corners of Madrid.
You go where you please, but you shouldn’t miss the inordinate, lavish Chueca district.
Extravagant boutiques abounds, alongside gay-friendly bars and a portfolio of restaurants encompassing Mexican, Korean, Italian, Brazilian, French and Vietnamese, to name a few.
Specialities like roasted shredded lamb atop lentils, duck enchiladas in green pumpkin-seed sauce, dulce de leche tart… hard to make a choice among so much variety.
Are you vegan, gluten or lactose intolerant?
Madrid got you covered: in this city the breadth of options available for you is equally astounding.
And when you want the syllabus to give you a break, if you’re a cultivate person you may want to explore attractions such as the city of Toledo and Sigüenza, true gems at a stone’s throw from Madrid.
But there still a lot to visit in the capital: the Sorolla Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, The Museum of the Americas, The National Museum of Anthropology, the Almudena Cathedral.
So, boredom is not an option, in Madrid. 🙂
If you manage your studies well at EBC Madrid, you will have time to indulge in epicurean pleasures and visit the city as much as you like.
Want to know more about the school?
Check their programmes and tariffs here below:
And we have finally come to the end of this guide about how to become an English teacher.
I hope it was informative for you.
Have you ever thought about becoming an English teacher? What drew you to such profession?
If you have found this post enlightening, would you please share? 📲
It took a long time to gather and summarize all this info in a coherent manner. Thank you, I appreciate it. 🙏
As usual, use the comment section below if you want to ask anything or to let me know your point of view, so that we can help our community grow.
See you in the classroom 😉
Your personal language consultant,