Have you figured if ESL teaching is for you?


  • Female between ages 20 – 35 with pleasing personality
  • With strong English Communication skills
  • Possess explicit knowledge about the English language
  • Has well-developed pedagogical skills
  • Excellent at time management and prioritization skills
  • Emotionally intelligent (self and socially aware) preferred
  • Filipino citizenship is a must.

RELATED: The Perks and Pitfalls of Working as a Home-based ESL Teacher

Perhaps none of job websites will ever put the last credential: you must be a Filipino to be qualified to teach ESL. Why not? Below is a simple illustration. Thanks for appreciating the artistic efforts I put into that.

Three Models of World Englishes

The Philippines is considered a semi-English speaking country and clearly the image (at the left) shows why. English is not our original or natural tongue – we apparently are the second option of employers after native speakers refuse ESL  teaching job offers. Nonetheless, Filipinos have proven themselves capable of becoming effective ESL tutors.

Jobs DB, Jobstreet, Mynimo, Cebujobs and other popular job sites in the Philippines daily affirm that we are still in demand. Many EFL students from Japan, China and Middle East study English through distance education programs (phone or skype) or enroll in English-speaking schools in the Philippines mainly to cut cost.  Tuition fees and cost of living in the Philippines are much cheaper than in the Inner Circle countries (refer to the image at the left). In Manila, you only need to pay 7.25 USD for an hour of private English lesson while in Australia, that would have cost you 87.83 USD (Ozaki, 2011).

Some ESL tutors in the Philippines may not know Stephen Krashen yet they are aware how important it is to make students feel comfortable during class. When the affective filter is high, students tend to be anxious therefore hindering learning. Filipino ESL tutors easily make friends with foreign students; we are quick to adjust to the linguistic, cultural and social backgrounds of our Asian neighbors. ESL tutors did not just bump into J-pop or K-pop by accident; it was all part of taking genuine interest in the students’ way of life and traditions.

You should not take for granted pedagogy and explicit knowledge in English. ESL specialists are expected to make initial assessment, placement, and program decisions for each student. There are no typical ESL students and profiling each is no easy feat. Keen observation and inexhaustible creativity inspire effective and innovative lessons.

I admire ESL tutors who keep trying to improve the craft of mentoring struggling ESL students. It’s a pleasure to see them devouring challenging books, and endlessly experimenting on new teaching practices instead of using tried and trite instructional methods. We, Filipino ESL tutors, may never reach the native speaker’s fluency and salary range yet we are ahead of them in terms of ESL learning experience. We understand the difficulties and anticipate the problems ESL students face.

If we are only to keep going about this business of non-stop learning, who knows, we might reach the summit of ESL excellence. Yes, fossilization and lack of time are true roadblocks but they vanish before a resolute mind.


P.S. You may ignore the first qualification.

P.S.S. Say a word and I will sing for you. Use the comment box below.


By Issa

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