By Patrick Gallant
English teaching jobs are in high demand around the world, and specialized English teaching jobs are in even higher demand.
After all, they offer competitive wages and unique experiences!
You might be wondering: how do I get hired for specialized English teaching jobs?
The answers are simple:
- Prove your expertise with a certification program.
- Apply for work at a school that needs an Education specialist.
A certification in an area of specialized English teaching looks great at the top of your resume. It will help you become a specialist teacher, and ultimately, get hired.
If you don’t already have a TEFL certificate, you will need one.
And the best way to get the teaching job of your dreams is to take a TEFL course that also offers a specialization unit.
Here is everything you need to know about getting hired for specialized English language teaching jobs.
- Benefits of specialized teaching jobs
- Challenges of specialized teaching jobs
- Types of OISE TEFL course specializations
- Obtaining the right certification
1. Benefits of specialized teaching jobs
Specialized teaching jobs are in higher demand compared to the supply of qualified teachers.
It can be easier to find such a job and get hired if you are qualified, and you can make more money doing it.
Also, many people choose their path because it personally fits them. Some people specialize in teaching young learners because they need more experience teaching K-12 students, or in teaching fluent Arabic language speakers, because they already speak Arabic.
2. Challenges of specialized teaching jobs
Although these jobs may set you apart and earn you more money, they do need more training to begin with.
Some teachers might even regret their path. After a few months of teaching, they may realize that they would rather be doing something else.
Also, these jobs can limit your geographical options. Teaching fluent Mandarin language speakers, for example, limits your options to East Asia.
3. Types of OISE TEFL course specializations
There is a course of specialization for practically any group that needs teaching.
Some of the most common ones include:
- Teaching to Arabic, Mandarin, or Korean language speakers
- Teaching to Young Learners
- Teaching Test Preparation Courses
- Teaching Business English
- Online Teaching
- Learner-Centered Lessons
- Teaching Abroad
Teaching to Arabic, Mandarin, or Korean language speakers
Specialist training can help ensure that you understand how to best support learners from these language groups.
Of course, teachers who already have a background in Arabic, Mandarin, or Korean have an advantage. They may be able to get a foot in the door for more selective and expensive schools.
The University of Toronto offers units for each of these languages in our TEFL course. Teachers learn several skills, including:
- Recognizing common errors in grammar and pronunciation for each culture.
- Adapting teaching styles to each culture.
- Practicing speaking, listening, reading, and writing with students.
Teaching to Young Learners
Young learners (ages 3 to 11) have very different needs than adults.
They naturally soak up language much more easily, but they also lack the ability to focus for long periods of time or use abstract reasoning.
Teaching young learners tends to be more physical and game-based than teaching adults. This helps to keep students motivated and focused.
Young learners also lack the abstract reasoning skills to learn languages the way adults do. They learn by using the language in context.
The University of Toronto offers a unit for teaching young learners in the TEFL. The course teaches several skills, including:
- Designing lesson plans for young learners.
- Engaging young learners through games and activities.
- Teaching reading, writing, speaking, listening, grammar, and vocabulary.
- Using technology with young learners.
- Assessing students with proper examination strategies.
Teaching Test Preparation Courses
Most commonly, ESL students prepare for the TOEFL, but some will also prepare for SAT, ACT, or AP exams.
Teaching for these exams is a little different than teaching general English skills. Unlike the open-ended nature of real life, exams have rules and scores.
Because you know how the exams work and how they are scored, you are teaching students to pass the exams with the highest scores possible.
But there is a danger of teaching too narrowly “to the test,” and missing out on regular English abilities.
Teachers with this specialty are in very high demand. People need to pass these exams to go to certain schools and obtain certain positions.
The University of Toronto offers a unit for test preparation teaching. Some of the skills taught include:
- Teaching key features of major proficiency tests.
- Planning a test preparation course.
- Preparing students for exam tasks.
- Teaching test-relevant vocabulary and grammar.
- Practicing test-taking strategies with students.
Teaching Business English
English is the most common language for business communication around the world. It helps people engage with new markets.
Teachers of business English often have a business background before transitioning to teaching. Other teachers get the information for a business English class through training.
Business English teachers teach business-oriented language, including industry-specific jargon. They also help students practice using their skills with mock business interactions.
The University of Toronto offers a Business English unit for our TEFL course. The course teaches several skills, including:
- Planning Business English classes.
- Adapting material to local culture.
- Writing business correspondence.
- Role-playing business tasks.
Online teaching can take many forms and connect you to people all over the world. But because it takes place on a screen, it has limitations.
A good online teacher will need to be trained in whatever platform they use. Often, this involves knowing how to present material through a webcam. Many platforms also have some sort of functionality that will let you play simple games with students.
A big part of the challenge of online teaching is knowing how to present ideas with such limited capabilities. That’s why special training is so important.
The University of Toronto TEFL offers a unit in Online Teaching and Learning that helps you:
- Make the most out of online classrooms.
- Adapt online teaching to different learning styles.
The most effective teachers don’t just lecture, and the students that learn the most don’t just listen.
Good teaching involves learner centered lessons, which cater to the needs of each individual student.
Teaching learner centered lessons engages students by identifying their interests, strengths, and weaknesses. Teachers use this information to better meet the needs of their students.
And so, learner centered teaching is in high demand everywhere. Parents will pay top dollar for teachers to work with their child’s individual needs.
Teachers with specific learner centered teaching training will have a stronger resume than those that don’t. That’s why the University of Toronto offers a unit in learner-centered lessons.
The course teaches several skills, including:
- Creating learner-centered classrooms.
- Teaching behavior structures.
- Using student choice activities.
- Introducing collaborative learning structure.
- Teaching noticing skills and language exploration activities.
Teaching abroad is a popular option for those wanting to become teachers and call in some adventure in their lives.
A career as a specialized English language teacher can open the door to so many opportunities in different parts of the world.
Options include China, Japan, Czech Republic, Spain, Chile, and so many other beautiful countries.
The TEFL specialization in Teaching Abroad will help you with:
- Researching destinations and work environments
- Resume and interview preparation
- Misconceptions and realities
- Common concerns about teaching abroad
Obtaining the right certification
There is high demand for teachers of all of the above specializations, but you will need to first prove yourself before applying for the jobs.
Foreign ESL teachers almost always need some form of TEFL certificate.
This shows that you are qualified to teach English to non-fluent speakers. But if you want to specialize, you will likely need to complete the extra coursework.
Many schools offer TEFL certificates, and many schools offer specialization units. But they are often treated separately. A TEFL certification from the University of Toronto Faculty of Education (OISE) allows learners to earn their TEFL certificate and specialize in area of focus at the same time!
This program was developed by a group of education specialists at the University of Toronto.
The OISE TEFL courses tailor your training to your needs by selecting two units of specialization in addition to the course curriculum.
The good news is that getting your certificate is the hardest part.
You will still have to apply for the job, go through an interview, and fill out some paperwork. But those steps are easy in comparison!
There is no need to stress about being perfect in the interview. Instead, take a few deep breaths to relax, be polite, and ask good questions.
And if you receive many offers, then it is up to you to compare salaries, benefits, and location.
If your interest in being a specialized English language teacher has been sparked and you desire a career shift or even growing within your current position, you’ve come to the right place.