4 career moves for enthusiastic teachers

Pearson Languages
three teachers sat at a table discussing

Have you been teaching for a number of years and are looking for ways to challenge yourself and share your experience and passion with others?

Many would love the opportunity to progress in their careers and try new things but have no idea how to get started.

So, let's look at several potential jobs for English language teachers, find out what they involve and how you can improve your chances of getting a foot in the door.

1. Materials Writing

For those with a passion for writing and an eye for detail, ELT materials development could be for you. While writing can be hard to get into, there are several ways to get involved - especially if you are persistent and build a portfolio.

Here are some of our top tips for aspiring materials writers:

  • Create your own materials in class and think of ways of adapting the current materials you use for different ages or levels.
  • Share the materials you make with other teachers and get them to give you feedback.
  • Review materials for a publisher. Not only will you start to think more critically, but if you do a good job they might commission you to do some writing for them. One way to discover these opportunities is by signing up for their newsletters or following them on Facebook or X.
  • Start a blog and share lesson tips, advice and activities with other teachers. If it becomes popular enough someone from a publisher might spot you and invite you along for an interview.
  • Join the ELT Teacher 2 Writer database, where you can create an account and publishers can contact you directly if they are interested in your profile.
  • Finally, write as much as possible - and get people to read your work. Listen to their feedback and take steps to constantly improve your output. You get better and faster at it at the same time.

2. Examining

If you like teaching exam classes, there's a good chance you'll enjoy examining too. Training to be a speaking examiner is a great way to earn some extra money and can also help you better understand test formats and mark schemes. This will certainly also benefit your students in the future too.

Specific requirements for examiners vary depending on the exam board. However, as a rule of thumb, you need a lot of experience teaching the level you wish to examine at. Here is an example job advert from Pearson outlining the expertise and competencies required to be a PTE General Examiner.

You can also check out the recruitment sites from Cambridge Assessment English, IELTS and Trinity to get more of an idea if you are eligible.

Like materials writing, examining can be very competitive, so here is some advice to help you get started:

  • Teach more exam classes. The more variety and levels you do, the more opportunities you'll have.
  • Familiarize yourself with the mark schemes to give you a deeper understanding of how examiners think. Most of this information can be found in teacher handbooks like this one for PTE.
  • Help organize mock exams at your school. This will give you valuable experience examining as well as organizing students and materials.
  • Start as an invigilator for written exams. If you do a good job, it'll show that you are competent and you'll learn more about how exam days are structured.
  • Contact your local exam center and introduce yourself. And who knows? They might even be recruiting.

3. Academic Management

Another common career goal for long-term English teachers is to become an Academic Manager or Director of Studies (DoS). A successful DoS assumes many roles; often having to organize teachers' schedules, deal with students' concerns, develop new courses, and find cover (or teach) classes at the last minute. They may also need to help with the school's marketing and business side, too.  

Many academic managers are employed internally, so get involved with what is going on at your school and apply for smaller coordination positions to see if it's something you enjoy.

You can also try:

  • Offering to help with placement testing of new students. This will help you get to know the type of students at your school and the objectives they have, and also learn more about the levels and courses on offer.
  • Not limiting yourself to teaching one kind of course. If you work at an academy that offers courses for young learners, teens, adults, exam preparation, business etc., try them all. A good DoS should be able to offer advice to all the teachers.
  • Taking a course - most academic managers will be expected to have an advanced TEFL qualification like a DELTA, an MA TESOL or something similar. Specific leadership and management courses are available for those who want to specialize in this area, such as Leadership in ELT.
  • Offering creative ideas or constructive criticism to the current management team about how the school runs and what you think could be even better.
  • Organizing an event for teachers and students to show you are interested and have the type of skills that are needed.
  • Apply for academic management positions in summer schools to give you a taste of what's to come.

4. Teacher Training

If you are interested in teaching methodologies and sharing your knowledge with others but not keen on the admin side, then teacher training might be for you.

As a teacher trainer, you may be required to run workshops on various topics, observe teachers and offer feedback and help with lesson planning. This means it's vital that you can listen to others carefully and clearly explain things.

Here are some ideas to give you a better chance of finding work as a teacher trainer:

  • Organize informal workshops at your school. Encourage teachers to share ideas that have worked well for them with the rest of the staff.
  • Try team teaching where you and a colleague teach a class together. It's a great way to learn from each other and give your students a new experience.
  • Practice giving feedback by doing peer observations with other teachers.
  • Submit a proposal for a conference to see if you enjoy presenting.
  • Mentor a new teacher at your school.
  • Take an advanced teaching qualification to boost your knowledge.
  • Find teaching work in a school that also run their own initial teaching qualifications like the CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL. If you impress the DoS with your teaching skills - they may recommend you get involved with the teacher training department.

Where to apply for jobs

The best place to look for new opportunities is often at the school where you currently work. Start by trying new things and showing an interest in the day-to-day running of the organization. Once you've got the attention of the management it will be easier to negotiate a new position. However, if you work at a small school with fewer chances to grow professionally, think about moving to a new school.

Other good places to look for new positions include:

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    The ultimate guide to learning management systems

    By Pearson Languages

    You may have heard the term learning management system (LMS) at work or perhaps during your time in education. For many, this throws out images of clunky, outdated systems that clumsily distribute course materials and are tough to use. But that is no longer the case. Modern LMS's are far more user-friendly, and it's time to relearn what you thought you knew about these tools. 

    In this ultimate guide, we will look at everything you need to know about learning management systems and why they are so beneficial. 

    What is a learning management system?

    A learning management system is a digital platform or software as a service (SaaS) solution that is used to create, organize and distribute online courses. 

    The idea is that these LMS platforms offer one central place for users to manage and access courses and learning materials. Depending on the user, this could be anything from self-paced e-courses to classroom training. 

    This can help facilitate a range of training, studying and skills development, as well as assessments, exams and certification management. 

    Who uses LMS's and why? 

    There are many great uses for learning management systems but these are used primarily by businesses and educational establishments. Here are some of the most common use cases for these platforms: 

    • HR and management - The HR and management team might implement these across the business to help with learning and development and make sure that organizational goals are being hit

    • Employee onboarding - Those starting a new job may be given training via an LMS; this can make the onboarding process much quicker and simpler 

    • Compliance training - Lots of roles require compliance training, for example health and safety training, and this is a great way for businesses to stay up to date and ensure everyone complies with regulations 

    • Customer support - Some businesses use learning management systems to onboard customers or clients. This might include sharing user manuals and product guides. Plus, sales professionals might also use them to train new partners or clients in using their services or platforms. 

    • Classroom learning - Lecturers and teachers can create and share course materials and align content and tests from one place. These can also be used to put a twist on traditional classroom learning. 

    • Blended learning - Schools, colleges and universities may use these for online lessons and blended learning, particularly for remote students 

    • Volunteer training - Charities and non-profits may also use an LMS to educate volunteers and keep them motivated about the cause 

    Of course, these platforms can and will be used in other ways, but these are some of the most common and beneficial uses for LMS's. 

    Who has access to LMS's?

    In most cases, learning management systems will have two primary user groups: administrators and learners.  

    Administrators are the people who create, manage and deliver e-learning. They may use these platforms to upload their own learning materials, or they may select courses and materials from an existing list given by the provider.

    On the other hand, learners are the professionals or students who will use these platforms to train, study and gain new skills. Many modern LMS's allow multiple learners to train or access materials at the same time.

    However, there is a third and final group that we have yet to mention: the parents of students using LMS's, particularly outside of school hours. In some cases, parents may have access to these systems to support students, track their progress or look at feedback from the teacher. 

    Key features in modern LMS's

    There are a variety of learning management systems out there and some are more advanced than others. That being said, many modern platforms will share similar features to ensure they stay competitive. Some of these key features may include: 

    • Authoring tools that allow administrators to upload or build their own courses

    • Access to subject matter experts who can contribute to learning and development activities 

    • Automated workflows that allow for the creation of personalized learning journeys

    • A resources library that holds all relevant learning materials, such as guides, video clips and courses

    • Quizzes and surveys for a more fun and engaging way to assess learners 

    • Compliance features, such as automatic reminders that notify learners when it is time to retrain 

    • Certificates and diplomas that give learners recognition as they study and meet their targets 

    • Insights and analysis for individual progress and results, allowing administrators to identify gaps or areas where support is needed

    • Compatibility with mobile devices for studying on the go 

    • Integrations with other internal systems and software 

    This is by no means a complete list and different platforms will have different functionality. However, these are some of the most common and beneficial features of many modern LMSs.

    The benefits of using learning management systems

    Saving time and money

    First and foremost, an LMS can be an excellent way for businesses to save time and money on training. 

    Of course there is an initial investment in the platform, but training can be expensive and time-consuming, particularly if it must take place in a location outside of the workplace. Therefore, this can be the more cost-effective solution. Not to mention, the materials are quick to access and can save time and effort. 

    Ensuring compliance training is completed

    These platforms are an excellent way to ensure that all mandatory training is completed on time and to the highest standard. For example, industry-specific training such as fire safety or cybersecurity training. 

    Provide accurate data

    Administrators can access data and insights into their employee's learning. This can be a great way to see where more support is needed and to identify any skills gaps that need to be filled. Similarly, teachers can get to grips with how well their students are doing and if they need extra help in any subjects or areas.

    Improves the learning experience

    Whether in school or the workplace, LMS's can be a great way to improve the learning process. It allows users to study and access learning materials from one accessible location. Plus, through a multimedia approach, they can use guides, videos and more to help them learn. This can ensure they engage with the materials and stay motivated. 

    Simplifying communication

    Finally, an LMS can make communication between students, teachers, employees and employers far simpler. For example, automated reminders keep everyone in the loop and ensure all training is completed on time. But more than that, there is one central place to communicate, review feedback and access the same materials. 

  • A woman writing in a book outisde

    How novel writing can help your English skills

    By Pearson Languages

    November marks National Novel Writing Month, an excellent opportunity to improve your English skills. While there are several ways to enhance your proficiency in English, writing a novel is a lesser-known method that can significantly refine your understanding of the language. As well as enhancing your vocabulary and grammar, creating a story is an imaginative and fun way to unleash your creativity. So let's have a look at some things picking up the pastime can help you with.

    Expanding vocabulary

    It's a great way to improve your vocabulary naturally. As you create your story, you search for the perfect words to express your thoughts, which helps you explore synonyms, understand the nuances of language, and discover new phrases that can add depth and richness to your writing. Websites like Merriam-Webster and Longman English Dictionary are excellent resources to enhance your word toolkit.

    Mastering grammar and syntax

    When you're writing, having a good grasp of grammar and syntax is vital. To clearly express your ideas, you need to navigate grammar rules with precision. Platforms like Grammarly and Purdue OWL provide comprehensive guides and tools that can help you improve your grammatical skills. By regularly referring to useful resources as you write, you'll be able to identify and correct errors and also enhance your understanding of grammatical structures.

    Developing writing styles

    Writing novels are an excellent opportunity to develop a unique style of writing. You can discover your voice as a writer by trying out different narrative techniques and literary devices. Online writing communities like Wattpad and Scribophile provide opportunities for collaboration and feedback, allowing you to receive helpful criticism and refine your writing style in a supportive environment.

    Reading comprehension

    If you want to create an awesome novel, you've got to read a lot. By diving into the world of literature, you get to experience all sorts of writing styles and pick up some great tips for telling a compelling story. Websites like Project Gutenberg, Pearson Plus and Goodreads offer a plethora of literary works, providing access to various genres and writing techniques. This kind of exposure enhances your reading comprehension and helps you discern the subtleties of language.

    Encourages critical chinking

    Creating a coherent and engaging narrative requires critical thinking skills. As you navigate the complexities of plot development and character arcs, you'll naturally get better and better at it. Websites like TED-Ed and Khan Academy offer resources to sharpen critical thinking skills, complementing the cognitive benefits gained through the novel-writing process.

    Helping wellbeing

    As well as having educational uses, writing is a powerful tool that can be used to process complex emotions and ideas in a therapeutic way. Whether you are dealing with stress, anxiety, or just trying to make sense of a difficult situation, writing stories can provide an outlet for your thoughts and feelings. So, if you're looking for a way to process your emotions and ideas while having fun, novel writing may be your perfect outlet. It's also something you can do without any technology, so a great way to technology detox. 

    Writing a novel is not just about unleashing your creativity but also refining your grammar, enriching your vocabulary, developing a unique writing style, enhancing your reading comprehension and fostering critical thinking. Make sure to use all available resources and take inspiration wherever possible. Creative writing is a journey of constant improvement and self-discovery. You might surprise yourself.

    Need some inspiration? Check out 9 great novels to help improve your English or Books to improve your English: Sci-fi and fantasy edition.