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I Have My TESOL Certificate. Now What?
So, you’ve just completed your TESOL certificate course and you are wondering, “What now?” “Where do I go from here?” Like many TESOL program graduates, you are deciding how best to use your new training and what the best environment will be for your teaching. Perhaps you would like to work in your own neighborhood or community in an immigrant or refugee program. Perhaps you would like to go abroad and have a new adventure teaching in another country. Whichever your preference is, there are several avenues you can take.
Staying in your own community is a good place to start, not only to gain teaching experience, but also to network with other TESOL professionals in your area. Teaching sites can include community centers, churches, and local schools that need assistance in the classroom. While full-time and part-time adjunct teaching positions generally require other credentials, such as a state certified teaching certificate or master’s degree, volunteering or working for a modest hourly wage at a community center helps you gain experience. A more lucrative option may be a private language school in your city, which often only requires a TESOL certificate to secure employment. Contacting these organizations directly for informational interviews is often a good way to explore local teaching opportunities.
If seeing the world is on your wish list then teaching abroad might be a good option for you. Worldwide there are teaching opportunities in language schools, public schools, community organizations, and private companies. Going overseas broadens both your choices and your worldview. There are several good websites which offer a multitude of opportunities for teaching abroad.
Finally, joining a state or national organization gives additional access to teaching and professional development opportunities. Organizations such as WAESOL,
Tri-TESOL, and the TESOL International Association offer beneficial information to both members and non-members.
The choices of how and where to apply your TESOL certificate are many and the key is to remain both tenacious and flexible in your search. Building a network of professional contacts and having a willingness to work in more than one location are the first steps in building your career as a TESOL professional.
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