Once you decide to become a teacher/tutor, you realize that it is a demanding job as much as it is a rewarding job. Before you decide to take up a teaching job, it is good practice to do your research and take note of what's involved.
You could become a math tutor, chemistry tutor, a French tutor, algebra tutor or biology tutor but becoming an English tutor has some privileges.
English skills are crucial for succeeding in English class as well as other classes which students take. Due to this fact, English teachers are provided with a plethora of teaching opportunities. They can teach an amalgam of literary genres ranging from classic, fiction, film, web-based media, non-fiction etc.
A good quality English education enables students to be able to speak and write fluently in English. Their communication skills improve and they are able to convey their ideas and emotions in a much better way. They also develop necessary listening and reading skills which help them understand others better.
Students grow socially, spiritually, intellectually, emotionally and culturally once they refine their English reading skills. In order to fully participate in the society, they have to acquire all the skills of the English Language.
51.6% of the internet is in English, which means that to get the maximum benefit out of the knowledge available online, one has to be proficient in English, the sentence structure, verbs, tenses, vocabulary etc.
What are the Duties of an English Tutor?
Their duty is to promote high standards of English both as a language and as a medium of literature. They should ensure that the students are getting a command over the language by becoming adept in both writing and speaking skills. The responsibilities of teachers in this regard, could include:
- Planning lessons, homework and assignments
- Developing writing skills of students in school
- Development of Vocabulary and Grammar
- Improving the literacy of students through the study of specific English books and stories
- Assessing the work of their students by reviewing their work one-on-one in classroom
- Monitoring their progress and study skills
- Study materials and read different books in order to prepare for class
- Arrange activities and provide assignments that meet the learning needs of each and every student
- Rewarding them grades based on their English exams and tests
- Deliver extensive lectures that are not only rich in information but are also engaging
- Meeting with parents to discuss their performance in classroom
A Small Guide to Teaching English
The students learning English are usually from a diverse range of backgrounds. English teaching has an opportunity for you to use English language to analyze, construct and give birth to new ideas and knowledge. To give you an idea, this is what the Common European Framework of References for Languages (CEFR) has established as basic knowledge depending on your English level:
- Level A1: The A1 level refers to speakers who have a basic level of the English language. At this level, your students can understand some common phrases and words in English. They should be able to answer questions like: How old are you? Where do you live? What’s your favorite color? Still, their interactions will be relatively basic and they might have some trouble understanding people. This is a common level for those who have only been studying English for a short time (less than 6 months) or those who have not studied English for many years and do not practice regularly.
- Level A2: At this level, your student should be able to speak in full sentences and phrases on simple topics. They will have a broader vocabulary but the interactions they will have are still limited to direct exchanges of information. They should be able to talk about themselves and parts of their life but their listening comprehension might still need work. This is a level most students achieve in their first year of learning English.
- Level B1: B1 is considered the first 'intermediate' level. This means that your student should be able to speak and understand English for matters related to their daily routine. They can also try to be more descriptive about their life and experiences and have conversations about more abstract or subjective topics, like aspirations, dreams, or opinions.
- Level B2: The B2 level is what people call the “upper intermediate level.” People who have this level can take part in conversations on a variety of concrete and abstract topics. While they might not have a lot of vocabulary, they will be able to have more complex conversations around various topics. This level is commonly reached by those who have been studying English for several years and practice regularly.
- Level C1: Those who have reached the C1 level are considered advanced students of the English language. By this stage, they should have a firmer grasp of more complex grammar structures, implicit meaning in both text and speech, as well as the ability to speak English fluently in almost any environment. Mistakes will be infrequent. This level is reached by people who practice regularly or have the opportunity to live in an English speaking country.
- Level C2: Level C2 is the highest assessment of all 6 CEFR levels. People who have this level can understand and produce a vast majority of English, spoken or written. Proficiency is near or equal to that of a native English speaker.
Once you become an English tutor, you will be expected to understand your students' level and help them reach new objectives depending on their long term goals. This is why having a reference guide like the CEFR levels will help you understand their progress and the different steps they should be taking to reach English proficiency.
What Diplomas Do You Need To Become an English Tutor?
Most schools require English teachers to have a minimum qualification of Bachelor's with concentration in English or education. Apart from that, to teach in England and Wales, you need to gain QTS (Qualified Teaching Status) which can be obtained by getting enrolled in one year ITT (Initial Teaching Training) program under any school or university.
After you finish the course, and get awarded QTS, you become NTS (Newly Qualified Teacher) making you eligible for induction year. You might also be required to take a teacher training program. For that, you would need to apply through UCAS teacher training program during Autumn.
The requirements for you to train as a certified teacher in the US are as follows:
- When it comes to being an English teacher at the elementary level, schools typically require a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.
- For secondary level, you will need a bachelor’s degree in English in combination with a state-approved teacher preparation program. It is also possible to do it by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in secondary education with a specialization in English.
- On the other hand, most colleges and universities require post-baccalaureate degrees in English, like a master’s degree or PhD.
- Finally, teachers who want to teach K-12 classes with non-native English speaking students are sometimes required to have a degree in teaching English as a second language (ESL).
As a part of teacher training program, you will take courses of classroom management, various teaching strategies, assessment of students and differentiated instructions. You will also acquire the experience of teaching students by becoming a part of a real classroom.
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To tutor upper level programs such as post-secondary or university level, the prospective English tutors are also required to obtain a Master's Degree or an accreditation from British Council in some cases.
How To Teach English: 4 Abilities to Develop
When teaching any language, it is important to break down abilities into different buckets:
- English Reading
- English Writing
- English Speaking
- English Listening
The main area of focus for tutors who are teaching their students how to read texts in English are:
- Word reading
- Listening and reading comprehension
The English tutor would act as a reading tutor and should focus on developing the skills of his/her students in both dimensions mentioned above. It is worth noting here that these two dimensions require different kinds of teaching.
The primary focus of the tutor is to ensure that his/her students learn to quickly pronounce new and unfamiliar words along with the familiar ones.
Phonics should be taught at the early stage of teaching reading so that the young students develop an understanding of the letters and their sound in spoken words.
Providing linguistic knowledge helps the novice learner in learning good comprehension skills especially of grammar and vocabulary.
The tutor should indulge in high-quality discussion with the pupil to fuel the development of their comprehension skills through experience.
Reading a wide range of non-fiction, poems and stories also serve as a good path to the gradual development of their comprehension skills.
The habit of reading should be imparted onto the students as early as possible. This habit is crucial for them to understand and develop their knowledge of this world as well as themselves. By being tutored in this way, the students gain an understanding of the curriculum.
Reading regularly is the best way to increase the words in a child’s dictionary. When they read, they encounter new words which are not heard in everyday speech.
Reading also serves the imaginations of the curious, naïve and young minds by opening up treasures of whole new worlds.
When it comes to teaching English writing to students, tutors should focus on:
- Spelling and handwriting of words i.e. Transcription
- Crafting speech and writing based upon ideas i.e. Composition
The responsibility of the English writing tutor would be to develop the study skills of the students by enhancing their competence in these two dimensions. They should be trained on how to evaluate their writing after planning and revising it.
The primary focus is around teaching the young minds to write down ideas depending on efficient transcription. They should be able work on their weaknesses by being able to spell accurately and should know the relationship between letters (phonetics) and their sounds.
Developing the understanding of the word structure i.e. morphology and structure of spelling i.e. orthography, is also important.
As an English school teacher, you would be required to train the students for academic success, by teaching effective composition to the students which involves efficiently articulating ideas and writing them down in a coherent manner for the reader.
A wide collection of vocabulary and a good grammar will help in effective composition, by introducing clarity and purpose in the content the students provide.
On the oral side of the language you will find English Listening, an ability that needs to be exercised from the very beginning of your tutoring lessons.
Listening and understanding English will open a lot of doors for your students. But to get there, they need to be used to listening to English speakers and practice a lot to improve their skills.
To help them get better at English Listening you can:
- Talk to them exclusively in English, this way they will have to make an effort to understand you.
- Share movies, music and podcasts in English and do listening exercises. Try to pick content that is relevant, fun or interesting for your students so they feel inclined to use it on their own.
- Play recordings in class and practice, practice, practice!
Understanding a language is only one part of being proficient in it. To have the whole package your student needs to be able to "produce" the language.
Some might say this is the hardest part of learning English since putting sentences together and articulating ideas will be challenging for most at the beginning.
Nevertheless, you should be insistent that your students learn how to speak confidently and help them practice this ability from the very beginning.
Having conversation sessions is not enough to achieve this. While it is good that they get used to hearing the language, unless they have structured exercises and objectives they might keep falling into the same mistakes.
This is why you should consider some exercises like:
- Partner Conversation Starters/Role-Plays: An exercise where students can speak in English to each other if you give them the structure to be able to do it.
- Small Talk Exercises: give them an insight into creating conversation around common subjects that aren't necessarily too deep or complex.
- Pronunciation activities: students from most countries struggle with English pronunciation since it can be very different from their mother tongue. Help them out by doing simple but effective pronunciation exercises that will be useful for the future.
Being a Private English Tutor
The requirements mentioned above are for those who intend to become an official English teacher and for those who want to offer their tutoring jobs in schools and universities.
Academic teaching is not the only way to become an English teacher. You can find online teaching jobs or private tutor jobs too. You wouldn’t need too many qualifications or skills such as calculus, math science etc. to get a job outside of school and college.
- You can mentor students taking the SAT test and Psat and help them in their test prep.
- You can work from home or work in a tutoring center or a language school
- You can start finding and advising for private students on GMAT, TEFL and other standardized tests. You can provide tefl training and give tefl courses. For that, you would need to have tefl certification
- If you are self-motivated, freelance tutoring is a great way for you to become an online educator. You can get paid easily via online tutoring
- You can also start your very own tutoring business and find the best tutors to help you run your tutoring center
- Or you can become a peer tutor! Find any tutor friend who needs help in tutoring his/her group of ESL Students and start scheduling your time with them
- If you are a school teacher, go grab summer tutoring opportunities while you are free in summer vacays.
- Start home based tutoring sessions. Teach those who study English as a foreign language
- You can also get a job overseas. Teach abroad. Look for job placement in other countries which have teaching positions open for Native speakers.
- While working abroad in international teaching, you would be able to travel and teach ESL students
Whether it is teaching jobs abroad, teaching English as a second language, reading writing jobs online, internships in school, teaching business English, volunteer teaching or tefl jobs, one thing is for sure, the demand for English teachers is high all across the world and you are surely bound to succeed once you step into it & earn more from tutoring!
Learn to to manage teaching students with dyslexia here.
Finding Prospective Students On Superprof
Now that you know a bit more about the basic needs to be an English tutor, it's time to make it happen. If you want to dive into the tutoring world but don't know where to begin, Superprof is here to help you achieve your goals!
We have a network of tutors and students who are looking to find the right connection to make their academic and personal goals a reality.
If you are an English tutor who wishes to connect with new students or just starting out in the tutoring world, we can help give you the visibility you need to get more tutoring jobs.
The process is quite simple: all you need to do is create your Superprof tutor profile so prospective students can find you online.
For this step, it's very important to give as much information as possible about yourself, your qualifications, your experience as a private English tutor, whether you are a native tutor or not, your teaching method, and anything else you consider might give students a clearer idea of what taking lessons with you entails.
Once your profile is ready to go, students in your area will be able to contact you. Once this first contact happens, it's customary to have an introduction session for you to meet each other and see if you're a good fit. It's important for you to understand the student's goals before you embark in a common learning experience since your teaching strategy and objectives will depend on this.
Also, we encourage you to be very clear about what your lessons will entail, what your teaching method is like and how you can help them reach their goals. This way there will be no surprises once you start your official lessons.
Our platform also includes student reviews so you should make sure that once you connect with students and have spent some time giving them lessons, they write a review about you and your English tutor abilities. This is super important, since your tutor profile will be way more attractive if you have good student reviews on it.
Being an English tutor is a career that can bring you a great sense of accomplishment and will no doubt make you feel passionate about what you do. Be prepared to meet new people, adapt your teaching method and always be learning to be the best possible English tutor you can be.
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