Teaching English for Special Purposes

Develop your own ESP

Yeah – and I don’t mean Extra-Sensory Perception . . .
This is one of my favorite topics and one that newbies and especially us oldies ought to make sure we pay attention to.

There are many ways of being disadvantaged in TEFL around the world: If you are old, black, non-native speaker, not pretty, not handsome and the list can go on and on and we haven’t even talked yet about your skills!

How to deal with that discrimination? How to create an advantage for yourself? ESP. English for Special (or Specific) Purposes.

Most people have a work history from which they can draw draw special skills. And usually the older you are, the more in-depth skills and/or the greater variety of skills you will have.

I recently met an older guy looking for a teaching job in a wonderful destination resort area. He was older and not likely to be picked up by the local school system who like younger women for teaching the younger kids. Nor did he really want that type of job.

We talked a bit and sure enough – there was his ESP – he had been through corporate management training with one of the worlds larger five-star resort chains.

Let see – teaching screaming kids in a hot classroom – or teach hotel receptionists in small groups in an air-conditioned corporate training room? Up to you as they say . . . Me? Give me the hotel job! So that is where this man is headed. Nice resume focused on TWO things: His hospitality training and experience and his TEFL training and experience. The perfect ESP marriage.

So let’s beef up his job search a bit. Not just hotels and resorts, but what about colleges and universities that have hospitality training programs?

TED’s Tips™ #1: Take a good look at your resume – before you got into TEFL. Identify what ESP skills you might have. Exploit them!

TED’s Tips™ #2: Don’t forget colleges, universities, technical schools, specialized vocational secondary schools and more who might also value your EXTRA skills.

Don’t ignore your ESP advantage. It will not only open many more doors for you, but you will also likely teach people with similar interests as your own. You’ll probably like the higher wages that ESP classes tend to pay too.