What did earning my TESOL certification do for me?
Before I started my ESL teaching career here in China I had no experience in teaching. For me, and any other teacher who is looking to teach English in China, earning your TESOL certification will be a watershed moment. Not only will you have another “feather in your cap” that will qualify you for more (and better paying) ESL jobs, but you will also have a solid foundation to start (or continue) your career as an ESL teacher.
The skills taught in an introductory TESOL course are invaluable to individuals looking to start their ESL teaching careers in China. You will learn tips and tricks about teaching grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, reading, writing, and everything in between. Do you know the difference between the present perfect and past perfect tenses? No? Well you will after a quality TESOL course. Do you remember phonics and phonetic spelling? ðæts ənəðər θɪŋ ðæt yul rivyu ɪn yɔr TESOL kɔrs (that’s another thing you’ll review in your TESOL course).
Have you ever thought about HOW you vocalize the different sounds that are used in spoken English? Probably not, you just do it naturally because you are a native speaker. Here’s a quick TESOL lesson (on the house): Think about the “th” sound; as in “think”, “that”, “those”, “the.” Did you know that your tongue has to shoot out in front of your teeth to properly vocalize that sound? Try it; I’m not making it up. Did you know there are exactly zero words in Chinese that require you to do this with your tongue? So it’s no big surprise that the “th” sound is extremely challenging for Chinese speakers (and many other ESL speakers as well).
A good TESOL course will also give you valuable experience in lesson planning and execution. Most new ESL teachers in China have little experience in planning and executing a lesson plan. How do you introduce material and make it interesting so that your students really want to learn it? How do you properly present material so that it is easy to remember? What do you do when a lesson plan falls flat on its face and is a complete disaster? (Note: This WILL happen) A good TESOL course will give you the foundation you need to successful teaching in China.
My TESOL certification has opened up doors and allowed me to get experience in a wide variety of schools with a wide variety of students. Getting the qualification is often the first concrete step to coming here to China; so I encourage you to check out the different programs that are available and get yourself certified!