Will I Get A Job?

A lot of people think you have to learn a language before you can make friends with people who speak that language – but that’s backwards: actually, you make friends first, then the language learning comes.

General Comments About Getting Paid To Teach English

Jobs for skilled and unskilled English teachers outside the US will probably continue to be plentiful for years to come. Jobs for skilled English teachers inside the US are scarce and poorly paying.

Those who are getting paid fall into the following categories:

  • Academic instructors (universities or community colleges)
  • Private language schools (usually for wealthier immigrants who intend to return to their home country within a few years; often academic in nature)
  • Social service employees (generally hired as some kind of family outreach specialist – English language skills development is just one of many responsibilities) and
  • Private language tutors

Most people teaching English in the US are unpaid volunteers in “community-based settings” such as public schools, libraries, apartment complexes, churches, community centers, or social service agencies.  They do it because they want to volunteer their time, because they want to connect with ethnic diversity in their community, or because they hope to get some experience teaching and possibly live outside the US teaching English.

We’ll make your dream of teaching English overseas a reality. We’ll place you in a trusted school and provide you support while you’re there. You can even get a Certificate while you’re teaching outside the country!

P-P-T’s Global New Deal

There’s a lot to say on the subject of getting paid to teach English. It’s a big ol’ world.

The first question everyone asks, “Is your program accredited?” Not yet! Through funding from Mercy Corps and Hacienda CDC, we are currently planning to apply for accreditation through AdvancED. But frankly, our position is that accreditation doesn’t make you a good teacher:  lots of experience within a supportive community is the only way to get there – just like learning a language.

But, more often than not, the real question is, “Will your certificate help me get a job?” The answer is almost certainly “yes”. Now that we are developing a reputation as thought leaders in the field, we are creating paid work here in Portland. Outside of the country, we partner with particular schools for direct placement. You will have a chance to speak with former P-P-T graduates who are teaching right now in those schools.

There are three ways this will help you get a job apart from our direct placements:

  1. Program Relationships – domestic and international (see below);
  2. Experience – direct teaching experience and cross-cultural skills; and
  3. Recommendation – we only say good things, but the more good things you do, the better your letter is going to sound.

Most English speakers who are interested in teaching English outside the US want “a good job”, but this is not measured purely in monetary terms.  There is a desire for a certain quality of experience. People want to connect with realities outside the US, and they don’t want to lose money on the deal. They’d like to work in order to stay longer, develop more authentic relationships, and make a personal transformation. People are split evenly with respect to comfort vs. authenticity/intensity of experience. Some would rather live in a rural village to escape the urban life they’ve always known, while others need a certain level of comfort and familiarity which often requires an urban experience.

Most English speakers who are interested in teaching English inside the US want *any kind of job* – part time would be fine! The thought process is, there are a lot of non-native speakers of English in the US so there have got to be jobs teaching them English, right? Most of the paying jobs are in community colleges or universities along with some private schools. Paid domestic English teaching will generally require an MA and plenty of experience, including cross-cultural experience, and the classes tend to draw learners with at least some classroom skills and some money. Community college jobs are often part-time and offer few benefits. However, it’s fair to say that *most* English Language Learners in the US have economic and educational challenges, and that leaves their language skills development to social service agencies and interpersonal relationships they develop on their own.

An outstanding online resource for information about Adult ESOL in the US is the Center for Applied Linguistics website.

P-P-T believes that we can do a better job removing educational, cultural, and economic barriers for our learners by providing tools, materials, skills and other supports to our Aprendices (apprentices), while they support the work of non-profits in community-based settings.

– Attributed to Mark Twain

Community-based settings call for a different set of classroom management skills than the more traditional and prevalent academic approach. They should be:

*family focused*

In this way, we can provide more meaningful and engaging language skills programs for non-profits in our community. In effect, teachers-in-training (Aprendices) subsidize these programs in exchange for gaining valuable skills. You build your skills while building community!

Aprendices can then use the program relationships we develop to further their economic options – whether that’s with one of our partner schools outside the US, or here at home. Though paying jobs are scarce now, we see the enthusiasm and inspiration that our approach creates for those who are truly interested in using language to meet their needs.

We are creating a new kind of job that is part educator, part cultural anthropologist, part social worker, and part community organizer. This will be the new “culturally responsible language skills development”. And we can still work with volunteers as native speaker experts, classroom and program assistants, and friendly points of connection in the neighborhood.

TESOL Certificate Programs

Academic certificate programs are usually connected to a Master’s program at a University, but not always. Requirements vary, but generally you would be required to enroll in Linguistics classes and have a Bachelor’s Degree. Portland State University has a TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) Certificate program.

The accredited certificate programs such as CELTA or Trinity are recognized throughout the world, especially throughout Asia, and will satisfy the requirements of most language schools that don’t require a Master’s degree. They cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000. Those offered outside the US (especially connected to a local school) often provide rigorous training and experience. Others can be done online or in the US. These are quicker and cheaper, but you won’t get much real world practice.

Non-accredited TESOL certificates, programs, and trainings abound in the US and abroad. The quality varies widely and some are practically useless.

P-P-T’s Ampersand program offers two such unaccredited certificates. The big difference is that we provide you with lots of real-world teaching experience in community-based ESOL classes where the need is great. You help the Limited English Proficient (LEP) community while gaining skills in a community of other budding teachers.