Getting a job in a serious language school.

Beginning of a new term in a year always brings a question mark… Will there be a need of new professionals joining the staff of a school or not? Who and how to hire them? Even though we plan well ahead the steps, it is always a surprise when we finally start the term.

A good school normally gets CVs from prospect teachers interested in doing its work force. What would be the features we normally focus at when analysing a candidate?

I would say that there are item which are of extreme importance:

  1. If you want to work in a language school, just mentioning “being fluent” in the language is not really enough. The school needs to know exactly what level you have achieved and what kind of certification that prove this level you are able to present as proof of it. There are many certificates you can easily take – ones from Cambridge English Language Assessment, University of Michigan, IELTS, TOEFL, to mention some;
  2. Knowing a language does not mean that a person can teach it… How many people are there in Brazil, for example, that speak Portuguese but do not speak the language up to the standards of education? Would they be fit to teaching it? I do not think so… I believe that you have to know the language and also have some sort of qualification in teaching, maybe you haven’t got experience yet, but having the knowledge of methodologies, aspects of teaching, learning and teaching environment may be extremely useful;
  3. It’s also good to state what your objectives for further development are. Will you be available for courses, attendance to conferences, presentation of papers, etc. A school that caters for good language teaching keeps itself focus on tendencies, innovation and development to keep its quality.
  4. Another key feature when applying for a job in certain schools is the suitability to teaching different levels. There are English language schools that teach a determined market niche, but I would say that most, very likely, work with several levels, age groups, types of English – general, business, certification prep courses, etc. The school might need someone who in adaptable to these realities. In my opinion, a small school needs teachers who can teach all levels and age groups. This is really important as we know we can count on the professional in various situations – it might be complicated to have a teacher who teaches only certain levels or ages… It may be not so good for the teacher as this restrains hit or her options of groups;
  5. Being organised is also a good characteristic a teacher should have. There is a lot of planning, delivering, assessment, keeping records and so much more that comes with the territory.
  6. Finally, I would say, demonstrating good interpersonal skills is also a key factor. Working in a school involves socialisation with teachers, secretaries, students, parents, publishers, etc… No one is an island in a school.

If you are thinking about getting a job in a school, it might be worth keeping an eye of these tips which are just some of all the features and characteristics needed for the job.

Maybe there is still time to get a position in a language school this semester!

 

 

Beatriz Meneguetti

Mª Beatriz Magalhães Silva Meneguetti Teacher, teacher trainer, school director and sworn translator with over 30 years’ experience, graduated in English, post graduated in methodology, linguistics, school management and marketing. Holder of major proficiency certificates from Cambridge and Michigan Universities and holder of the DELTA and MA in Professional Development for Language Education from Chichester University. Academic director of ABCI - Brazilian Association of Culturas Inglesas.

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