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    • Tips for careers using English
    • Business and employability
    • Language teaching

    4 career moves for enthusiastic teachers

    By Pearson Languages

    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:

  • Four business people sat at a desk, one is on a laptop and another is pointing at whats in front of them
    • Business and employability
    • Tips for careers using English 

    5 ways to politely say no in business English

    By Pearson Languages

    Knowing how to say no politely and professionally is important in the business world. Whether you're declining a job offer, rejecting a sales pitch, or turning down a project, saying no can be difficult. Especially if English is not your native language and you're new to learning business English.

    However, using the right phrases can make all the difference in maintaining positive relationships and avoiding misunderstandings. This blog post will explore five phrases to say no in business English politely.

     

  • A overhead shot of a  person sat on a chair with a laptop to their left is icons of envelopes
    • Tips for careers using English 
    • Language hints and tips

    6 things to consider when writing English emails

    By Pearson Languages

    Every day, an astonishing number of emails are sent and received worldwide. While a considerable amount of these are informal messages between friends, the majority are for business purposes. Whether you’re emailing someone you work with, applying for a new job or making new connections, here are some general rules to follow when writing English emails…

    1. Know your tone

    Always consider who you are writing to and adapt your language accordingly. Emails are less formal than letters, so it’s fine to start your email with “Hi” or “Good morning” – but it may be better to write “Dear…” if you are emailing someone for the first time or if they are senior to you. Similarly, ending emails with “Best/kind regards” rather than “Yours sincerely/faithfully” works well, with the latter being more appropriate for a formal email. Whatever the relationship, though, don’t feel tempted to use laid-back, colloquial expressions like “Hey, you guys”, “Yo!”, or “Hi folks”.

    2. It’s all about the titles

    It’s increasingly common to use first names in international business communications, so don’t be afraid to do so. Another title to consider is your email subject header: a short, clear text is important as busy people often decide whether to even open an email depending on the subject header. Examples of a good subject header include “Meeting date changed”, “Quick question about your presentation”, or “Suggestions for the proposal”.

    3. Use a professional email address

    If you work for a company you’ll be using your company email address. But if you’re using a personal email account because you’re self-employed or looking for a new job, you should be careful when choosing that address.

    You should always have an email address that includes your name so that the recipient knows exactly who is sending the email. Email addresses that you created while you were in school or college (IloveJohn@… or “Beerlover@…) are not appropriate for the workplace!

    4. Limit the small talk

    Small talk can help to build relationships but it doesn’t need to be overly personal. A simple “I hope you are well” or “How are things?” will usually suffice. Also, be cautious with humor as it can easily get lost in translation without the correct tone or facial expressions that accompany face-to-face meetings. It’s safer to leave out humor from emails unless you know the recipient well.

    5. Keep it simple

    Emails are intended to be written, read and understood quickly, so only include the important details – and avoid saturating your message with unnecessary information.

    6. Proofread every message

    Always check your emails before pressing Send. Read and re-read your email a few times, preferably aloud, to ensure there are no spelling or grammatical mistakes. And never just rely on the auto spell-check; spell-checking software doesn't always understand the context of your writing and can throw you off with incorrect suggestions. 

    Happy emailing.

  • Two ladies in a pottery studio, one with a clipboard, both looking at a laptop together
    • Business and employability
    • Tips for careers using English

    11 ways you can avoid English jargon at work

    By Pearson Languages

    From “blue-sky thinking” to “lots of moving parts”, there are many phrases used in the office that sometimes seem to make little sense in a work environment. These phrases are known as ‘work jargon’ – or you might hear it referred to as ‘corporate jargon’, ‘business jargon’ or ‘management speak’. It’s a type of language generally used by a profession or group in the workplace, and has been created and evolved over time. And whether people use this work jargon to sound impressive or to disguise the fact that they are unsure about the subject they are talking about, it’s much simpler and clearer to use plain English. This will mean that more people understand what they are saying – both fluent and second-language English speakers.

    The preference for plain English stems from the desire for communication to be clear and concise. This not only helps fluent English speakers to understand things better, but it also means that those learning English pick up a clearer vocabulary. This is particularly important in business, where it’s important that all colleagues feel included as part of the team and can understand what is being said. This, in turn, helps every colleague feel equipped with the information they need to do their jobs better, in the language they choose to use.

    Here, we explore some of the most common examples of English jargon at work that you might hear and suggest alternatives you can use…

    Blue-sky thinking

    This refers to ideas that are not limited by current thinking or beliefs. It’s used to encourage people to be more creative with their thinking. The phrase could be confusing as co-workers may wonder why you’re discussing the sky in a business environment.

    Instead of: “This is a new client, so we want to see some blue-sky thinking.”

    Try saying: “This is a new client, so don’t limit your creativity.”

    Helicopter view

    This phrase is often used to mean a broad overview of the business. It comes from the idea of being a passenger in a helicopter and being able to see a bigger view of a city or landscape than if you were simply viewing it from the ground. Second-language English speakers might take the phrase literally, and be puzzled as to why someone in the office is talking about taking a helicopter ride.

    Instead of: “Here’s a helicopter view of the business.”

    Try saying: “This is a broad view of the business.”

    Get all your ducks in a row

    This is nothing to do with actual ducks; it simply means to be organized. While we don’t exactly know the origin of this phrase, it probably stems from actual ducklings that walk in a neat row behind their parents.

    Instead of: “This is a busy time for the company, so make sure you get all your ducks in a row.”

    Try saying: “This is a busy time for the company, so make sure you’re as organized as possible.”

    Thinking outside the box

    Often used to encourage people to use novel or creative thinking. The phrase is commonly used when solving problems or thinking of a new concept. The idea is that, if you’re inside a box, you can only see those walls and that might block you from coming up with the best solution.

    Instead of: “The client is looking for something extra special, so try thinking outside the box.”

    Try saying: “The client is looking for something extra special, so try thinking of something a bit different to the usual work we do for them.”

    IGUs (Income Generating Units)

    A college principal alerted us to this one – it refers to his students. This is a classic example of jargon when many more words are used than necessary.

    Instead of: “This year, we have 300 new IGUs.”

    Try saying: “This year, we have 300 new students.”

    Run it up the flagpole

    Often followed by “…and see if it flies” or “…and see if anyone salutes it”, this phrase is a way of asking someone to suggest an idea and see what the reaction is.

    Instead of: “I love your idea, run it up the flagpole and see if it flies.”

    Try saying: “I love your idea, see what the others think about it.”

    Swim lane

    A visual element – a bit like a flow chart –  that distinguishes a specific responsibility in a business organization. The name for a swim lane diagram comes from the fact that the information is broken up into different sections – or “lanes” – a bit like in our picture above.

    Instead of: “Refer to the swim lanes to find out what your responsibilities are.”

    Try saying: “Refer to the diagram/chart to find out what your responsibilities are.”

    Bleeding edge

    A way to describe something that is innovative or cutting edge. It tends to imply an even greater advancement of technology that is almost so clever that it is unbelievable in its current state.

    Instead of: “The new technology we have purchased is bleeding edge.”

    Try saying: “The new technology we have purchased is innovative.”

    Tiger team

    A tiger team is a group of experts brought together for a single project or event. They’re often assembled to assure management that everything is under control, and the term suggests strength.

    Instead of: “The tiger team will solve the problem.” 

    Try saying: “The experts will solve the problem.” 

    Lots of moving parts

    When a project is complicated, this phrase is sometimes used to indicate lots is going on.

    Instead of: “This project will run for several months and there are lots of moving parts to it.”

    Try saying: “This project will run for several months and it will be complicated.”

    A paradigm shift

    Technically, this is a valid way to describe changing how you do something and the model you use. The word “paradigm” (pronounced “para-dime”) is an accepted way or pattern of doing something. So the “shift” part means that a possible new way has been discovered. Second-language English speakers however, might not be familiar with the meaning and might be confused about what it actually means.

    Instead of: “To solve this problem, we need a paradigm shift.”

    Try saying: To solve this problem; we need to think differently.”