ESL stands for English as a Second Language and TESL therefore simply refers to the Teaching of English as a Second Language.
This section of JobMonkey is for people interested in ESL jobs, including ESL tutoring opportunities, in the U.S. and abroad. You may also have heard of TEFL, or the Teaching of English as a Foreign Language, which is technically differentiated from TESL.
TESL occurs in a country where English is either an official language, or has a special status, and which means that many of the country’s citizens use English on a daily basis. Countries for TESL include the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, India, Philippines and Hong Kong, for example.
Teaching English as a foreign language, however, is considered to take place in a country where citizens may speak a language or two besides English as their native tongue and would not normally use English in their daily lives (aside from work of course). However, the line between TESL and TEFL can sometimes seem a bit blurred and cause more confusion than necessary, so more recently, a new acronym has been created to cover both areas, TESOL, or the Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages.
When the phrase ‘teaching English’ comes up, the first thing that comes to mind is going abroad. But staying home in the U.S. actually offers quite a lot more opportunities in the ESL field than ever before. Due to stricter immigration policies in the U.S., more and more adults are being forced to refine their English language skills in order to obtain legal status, which in turn leads to jobs they want or get into the school of their choice. Here’s a quick tip, too. Check into accredited online education degree programs if you’re thinking of becoming an ESL teacher. Required? No. Helpful? Yes.
Since the year 2000, a record high of about 10 million immigrants have entered the U.S., although it is estimated that almost half of these immigrants are undocumented. Even as the government frantically attempts to take preventative measures, the fact remains that there is a large number of immigrants in the U.S. who are looking to be admitted into and be educated by U.S. schools or who are looking to find and keep a good job – and this stream of immigrants is continuing to grow each year. So the booming TESL industry is not just abroad but in the U.S. as well. NOTE – Get more ESL information including ESL lesson plans in our Teaching English Abroad section.
Essentially, an ESL teacher in the U.S. may come to see that teaching students English is only a small part of the education necessary for an immigrant to become a fully integrated citizen. Finding a job that requires minimal English does not mean that it is a good job, and the vocational training that is often offered to immigrants may not be beneficial to them if the student has not yet acquired adequate English skills.
English is the third most spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish, according to a 2015 estimate cited at CIA.gov.
Out of a current world population of 6.6 billion, about 5 percent are native English speakers. However, this does number does not include those who speak English as a second language (the governments of certain countries such as the Philippines and Hong Kong have named English as an official second language) or the rapidly rising number of people around the world who are currently learning English as a foreign language (second or third) for various reasons – this number is estimated by the British Council to be at over one billion. This makes it obvious just how many ESL teachers are hard at work today, and how many more are still needed both abroad and in the U.S.
For information on teaching English in Japan and throughout Asia and Europe visit our Teaching English Abroad section.
In the U.S. specifically, California shows an estimated one out of every four people in the state currently learning English, the highest number in the country. This makes California a great place for work in the ESL field, including bilingual education.
English has become the world language, dominating in the arenas of industry, government and academia. So it’s no small surprise that ESL jobs are plentiful. And with the increased use of computers, English is also the language of the Internet.