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Planning your career

January 19, 2010

Hello again,

A reader asked recently for further advice on how to progress in an ELT career. He specifically requested information on additional qualifications. Others may disagree...

...but my feeling is that the most important qualification is the one that takes you into teaching initially. If you are serious about this career get a good degree and then a diploma or masters level teaching qualification.

The next step is build up your experience: this should be varied so that you can appreciate different teaching situations. With three or so years’ experience behind you, you can start mapping out your career path. If you decide that you want to go into academic management and finally departmental management, then work out your strategy. Find out how you can build up management skills in the job you are in. Such skills include good interpersonal relationships; good time management; good organization. Take on areas of responsibility that will allow you to develop these skills: you could become social organizer; you could be the person responsible for equipment; you could organize self-access. Gaining this kind of experience gradually could give you the confidence and credibility to apply for an assistant Director of Studies post. At that point the new employer should be prepared to help you move to the next stage so if you want to be sent on specific skills’ courses, find out about them and make your request. You could also join IATEFL Sigs in the areas that interest you.

If teacher training interest you then become involved in your existing post. Offer to observe your peers and to be observed by them. Lead workshops on specific aspects of teaching that you feel could be improved or updated in your school. For your next job, look for a school or department that also offers teacher training courses. Once there, become involved at the level of observing trainees and perhaps giving demo lessons. The next step will be to become involved as an assistant on one of the courses and then to gradually take more responsibility for teacher training until you feel ready to move to a major training provide.

Remember that careers don’t just happen and neither are they simply about obtaining more diplomas. You need to plan your strategy and then go for it!

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