Education & Training

ESL Teacher

Teachers of English as a second language (ESL) teach students whose primary language or dialect is not standard classroom English.

  • Entry-level education

    Post-graduate qualification

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does an ESL Teacher do?

Teachers of English as a second language (ESL) teach students whose primary language or dialect is not standard classroom English. There are a number of different names and acronyms for English as a second language teachers including TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages) and EFL (English as a foreign language).


Work activities

As an ESL Teacher, you would:

  • teach English to students whose primary language is not English
  • prepare lessons and teaching materials based on the relevant curriculum guidelines
  • mark and evaluate classroom study and homework
  • ready pupils for exams or tests
  • support, observe and record the progress of classes
  • encourage a healthy learning culture
  • attend meetings and training courses
  • undertake required continuing professional development (CPD).

You might focus on teaching English to primary or secondary school students, for business purposes or for entry into further education.


Key skills and interests

To become an ESL teacher, you would need:

  • an excellent understanding of the English language
  • good oral and written communication skills
  • good ear for languages other than English
  • patience and flexibility
  • the capacity to be able to teach people from many different background and cultures
  • to enjoy teaching pupils of all ages.

Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

As an ESL teacher your working hours would depend on your employment. Teaching in a school, you would work a standard number of hours each week. If you were teaching privately or to adult students then you might work in the evenings or at weekends.


Your time would be spent mainly in a classroom, or visiting private students at their homes or offices.


How to become an ESL Teacher?

Entry Level Education

There are two options to become an ESL teacher. You can either complete a degree in primary or secondary education with a major in ESL; or complete any degree, followed by an accredited graduate entry teaching qualification, combined with a postgraduate ESL certificate.

Minimum standards apply in some States for senior secondary school results, including in English, for applicants wanting to undertake an accredited undergraduate teaching degree.

On successful completion of your degree, you would also need to be accredited by the board of studies in your State.


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of ESL teachers is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Employment growth will come from increases in migration, as well as in private language colleges teaching English to overseas students.


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