My name is Greg and I am a British ESL teacher (and an occasional proofreader), based in the east of France. I have been teaching ESL for about 1 year and a half and I love the work and the interactions I have with students, both in one-to-one and class settings. Although I originally fell into this line of work, I feel that I have finally found a career that I care a lot about, and one that could potentially last a lifetime. I find myself at a crossroads however and so I could really do with some advice and information from the ESL community.
I began teaching at a private training centre that accepted me as I am a native speaker, rather than because I have adequate qualifications (I have none at all!). Since then, I have managed to find a second job at the local university. Though the university job has boosted my confidence a great deal, I still cannot escape the fact that I am seriously under-qualified both in terms of my past studies and my job-related certificates.
I still find myself stuck at the bottom of the ladder, generally only able to take low-security and low-paid contracts (the university job is an exception to this but I am quite lucky to have found this job). I have not been able to save any money for the future and I don’t have a pension yet.
I have a real passion for my students’ welfare, the English language, language study in general and the craft of teaching but I am worried that this will only go so far. I need to build a real ESL Teacher’s CV. Can anyone please advise me on where to start and what to aim for?
Do I need a CELTA or should I be aiming for a Masters’ degree?
Can I build my professional profile by doing online courses through a website such as Coursera.org?
I am contemplating returning to the UK but I worry that I will lose the advantage of being a native speaker abroad. Is it realistic to work as an ESL teacher in the UK?
Are there opportunities to train on the job and build my profile while I work?