Language in Bloom

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5 Ways to Get Language Teaching Experience When You’re Just Starting Out

Do you want to share your love of languages but you’re not sure where to start out? Here are five ways to get some teaching experience under your belt when you’re brand new to the teaching world:

  1. Offer in-person tutoring services. If you live in a place where there are ample safe, public places to meet others and get work done (coffee shops, libraries, etc.) and you want to get some face-to-face experience, this is a good option. A good place to advertise is Craiglist, or any other local marketplace. If you live near a university or public schools that offer languages, people are always looking for tutors in these areas, so if you have a contact at one of those places, let them know about your services.
  2. Start your own online teaching service. If you have a computer, webcam, and internet connection, you can start your own online teaching business. Kerstin Hammes and Gabby Wallace both have some excellent resources to get you started.
  3. Become an instructor on iTalki. If the thought of searching for your own students leaves you feeling overwhelmed, you can sign up as an instructor or informal tutor on iTalki, which is an online language service that matches language learners with online teachers.
  4. Volunteer. This was how I caught the teaching bug. I volunteered with two organizations while an undergraduate: Madison House, through which I volunteered as an assistant in an ESOL classroom, and with UVA’s Teaching Resource in their International Teaching Assistants program as a conversation partner. If you want to travel, check out programs that offer programs to teach language abroad.
  5. Substitute teach. This is US-specific, and depends on the state; many states don’t require you to have a certification or licensure in order to teach. Chances are you won’t get to pick what subject you teach, but there is always the possibility of landing in a language class to sub. This is a great way to become familiar with the school system (if you’re interested in working in public schools) as well as network with other teachers.

Getting some experience in teaching is the best way to figure out if it’s what you want to be doing… the only way to decide whether it’s the right profession for you is if you jump in and get started somewhere!

If you’ve already got some experience, how did you get started? What other resources are out there for novice language teachers?

5 WAYS TO GET LANGUAGE TEACHING EXPERIENCE

Written by

Tammy Bjelland
Language lover, teacher & coach.

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