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Description of an ESL Teacher

Top 10 Qualities and Characteristics

Any description of an ESL teacher is going to be subjective. The list below is based upon my personal opinion of what makes a good ESL or EFL teacher.

The responsibilities and duties of an ESL teacher are to prepare and deliver lessons to students who desire to learn English language skills. Aside from these essential responsibilities, the specific tasks and teacher duties will vary depending upon the type of setting and the type of students being taught.

But a general description of an ESL teacher and the qualities and characteristics of a good teacher will usually be the same. I stress "usually" here because the teaching setting may sometimes require additional characteristics (like patience with bureaucracies!).

I've provided a list below of the qualities and characteristics I believe are important for a person to possess to be a good ESL teacher or ESL tutor. In my experience, I've come across some teachers who I would not recommend to students for various reasons, but mostly because they lacked one or more of the following essential characteristics.

If you're considering becoming an English as a Second Language teacher (or an English as a Foreign Language teacher), ask yourself if the following characteristics apply to you. If they do, you are well on your way to becoming a good English teacher or tutor.

Top 10 Qualities and Characteristics

1) Patient

2) Flexible

3) Curious

4) Empathetic

5) Intelligent

6) Cooperative

7) Knowledgeable

8) Enthusiastic

9) Resourceful

10) Genuine

These are the top 10 qualities I feel a good ESL teacher or ESL tutor must possess.

You'll notice that I did not include anything specifically about education in my description of an ESL teacher. While education and teacher certification in ESL are essential for some specific jobs, they are not essential to teach English to speakers of other languages (ESOL). For example, if you really want to teach ESL and you do not have any training, you can start by volunteering at local organizations that provide tutors to people in the community who want/need to practice their English language skills.

Of course, ESL teacher training will help you to become a better teacher (and to get a paying position), but it isn't always necessary in order to teach English to speakers of other languages.

Related Articles

Duties of an ESL Teacher depend upon the setting and the types of students being taught.

How to Start Teaching ESL - If you're thinking about teaching ESL, here are some ideas to get you started.



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