A great way to share your love of languages with others and ensure you use your skills regularly is to teach...
Depending on the setting you choose, you may work with children, adults or both, towards a variety of goals, from passing exams to getting ready for holidays abroad or conducting business negotiations.
Modern foreign languages teachers are currently in demand in secondary schools, with extra financial support on offer for training. The most common languages are French, German and Spanish and you would use your language skills to a great extent in most lessons as a secondary school teacher.
In Wales, Welsh is also widely taught as either a first or second language, plus Gaelic-medium and Irish-medium education is on the rise in Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively.
Currently, there is no shortage of primary school teachers. However, since the majority of schools offer language tuition, with French the most popular, your skills could be attractive. Bear in mind that primary teachers must cover all subjects, so you may not spend much time speaking the language. For more information visit Primary Languages .
You’ll need to gain qualified teacher status (QTS) to teach in any state school and details are available at Teaching Agency .
Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) is a worldwide industry. Working as an English as a foreign language teacher can be a lifelong career, but is also a popular choice for gap years and vacation work.
Language schools are found in all major cities and often in popular tourist destinations, especially those offering educational holidays for groups of young people. You don’t necessarily need to speak your students’ language, although it may be helpful, particularly for finding work overseas. Similarly, relevant qualifications are not always required, but do enhance your prospects.
Internationally recognised short course,s such as the CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults), are offered by a range of providers. Pay and conditions vary, but you could supplement your income and build experience with one-to-one private tuition.
Further education (FE) colleges for students aged over 16 offer many language courses, including GCSE, AS and A-level. Many also run leisure courses for adults, from beginners to advanced level. Major European languages remain the most popular, but courses in Russian, Arabic, Chinese and Japanese are increasingly available.
Some colleges offer full-time study, mainly for 16 to 18 year-olds, but the sector has many part-time courses which often leads to sessional teaching contracts. This gives the advantage of flexibility, but jobs may not be secure over the long-term.
For qualifications required by FE lecturers and more information, see further education lecturers.
University degrees frequently offer languages in combination with other subjects such as law or business, as well as traditional language degrees with their in-depth study of foreign language and literature.
Courses often cover social, historical and political aspects or linguistics. This can provide an opportunity to teach your language at an advanced level, though beginners' courses are widely available too.
An enormous array of world languages, both ancient and modern, are studied at UK institutions, but the most numerous are, unsurprisingly, the major European languages. See higher education lecturer.
There are many freelance opportunities to teach languages, from sessional work in FE colleges or adult education centres to being a private language tutor to individuals or commercial organisations. You may juggle a range of contracts and even combine this with some translating or interpreting.
Flexibility, time management and organisation will be important to maximise opportunities and you may need to travel. Bear in mind that there is likely to be more work in term time and this may affect your earning potential.
Universities and some colleges have a department dealing with international matters. Responsibilities might include recruiting overseas student,s which may involve travelling to education fairs, dealing with overseas agents, handling European funding and exchanges, and arranging partnerships. A further aspect involves supporting international students and assisting with paperwork for visas, which is sometimes integrated into wider student services teams or the students' union.
There is no set route into this career - some are academics and others administrators, many of whom have lived and worked or studied abroad. An ability to speak languages could help make students feel comfortable. Chinese students form one of the biggest international groups in the UK, so knowledge of the language or culture would be an asset.
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