Photo courtesy of nationalenglish.net

Just today I got my TESOL certificate.

I never really understood why I should get one. Considering my years of experience in this field since 2009, getting a TESOL certificate was never much of a priority for me. I firmly held on to the insights and realizations I gained from my years of experience teaching students of different levels from preschool to high school to technical-vocational course takers from local private institutions. I believed I had more than enough bullets in my gun shooting all the targets as I help my students acquire the language through the usual lessons, practices and tests. However, the TESOL training proved me wrong. There‘s still a lot to learn and the TESOL training served as another mountain where a better view of the teaching and learning process lies ahead for me to serve my students better by being well-equipped and qualified in teaching English as a second language.

The Misconception:

As English teachers can be found anywhere around the world, any person might assume or claim to have the ability to teach the language probably because he or she can speak the language. This should not be the case mainly because in teaching, one has to consider the needs of the learner or student and thereby devise a teaching strategy with effective methods to facilitate the teaching and learning process for the student to learn and acquire the language --- all of which are not learned merely through translation or fluent English communication.

So , TESOL is?

TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and covers what used to be called TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language). In an industry with no internationally accepted standard primarily because English teachers teach all over the world, TESOL certification from an accredited institution serves as validation that one is qualified enough to teach the English language to foreign students or students who speak another language. As per qualifications, no single degree, certificate or license authorizes an individual to teach English as a second or foreign language in all fields anywhere around the world. To note, however, the minimum qualification to teach English in private language schools throughout the world is a bachelor's degree and some type of TESL or TEFL certificate. Although one may be able to pursue a bachelor's degree in Education or its equivalent as well as other degrees relevant to the teaching field, acquiring training and TESOL certification from a reputable institution enables one to pursue a career in the field being credited as an educator who has undergone proper training, assessment and evaluation qualified to serve as teacher of the English language to students whose native language is not English (non-native English speakers).

The course I took required 120 hours of training. As I have researched, the minimum standard for accreditation is 100 hours of academics (i.e., language basics, grammar lessons) and 6-20 hours of live practice teaching to actual ESL students --- real students learning English as their second language. This shall provide you enough time to cover all the bases and eventually prepare you for the TESOL world through a myriad of interactive activities (including practicum) which will immerse you in the setting. The course ranges typically around $400.00 up and although a bit pricey, there are academies and training institutions that offer flexible payment terms to its TESOL trainees. Lucky for me being able to work in a company that offers limitless possibilities for growth, I pursued my TESOL training under the company’s partner institution truly credible in providing the knowledge and skills that a qualified TESOL teacher must have.

A better teacher, a better promise.

The TESOL certificate coupled with your diploma and relevant experience in the field are all you need to venture the world of English language education with a humbled sense pride as you become well-equipped to engage in this field being a credible source of learning as well as an effective educator. Take heart, however much you prepare yourself to become the ideal educator will not only bear fruits for you, but most importantly will give your students the maximum advantage for them to reach their dreams and aspirations, and that on its own is a good enough reason to invest for such certification.

Gian Karlo Lopez

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