Are you getting ready to research TESOL teacher education programs? Or are you an experienced TESOL professional contemplating new paths toward professional development? Whether you are new to the field or have experience or training, now is the time to determine your professional interests. By identifying your skills and interests, you are more likely to match them with the academic and professional avenues best suited for you. Not unlike any other research project, the process begins with a plan of action: brainstorming, collecting the data, reviewing the data, and analyzing the findings.
Form a Plan of Action
Brainstorm. Consider your interests, short-term and long-term goals, and personal learning style. Are you interested in a long-term career in TESOL? Do you prefer to work with children, teens, or adults? Where are you interested in teaching? Have you considered the cost and standard of living in the country in which you plan to teach? Are you interested in research and writing, administration, or other areas? Think about schools, institutions, or organizations where you would like to work. In brainstorming, consider all possibilities.
Collect the data. Review position announcements to ascertain what qualifications and requirements are needed for positions you find attractive. Of those you choose, decide which ones are best suited to your abilities.
Some useful Web sites include:
- Search TESOL's online Career Center for ESL/EFL-related jobs throughout the world.
- http://www.petersons.com/ Search for programs such as TESOL and applied linguistics in both graduate and undergraduate colleges, and summer and distance programs. You can also search for jobs and find financial and career-help articles and resources.
- http://www.gradschools.com/ Search for worldwide programs by subject -- TESOL is listed under Education, and distance programs are included.
- http://www.ed.gov/ From financial aid to research, the Web site of the U.S. Department of Education also links to state departments of education.
Network and make new contacts. People are a valuable source of ideas and information. You might find it beneficial to keep a log of the people you meet -- ESOL professionals, people from countries in which you are interested in teaching, and those who have lived or taught abroad. Network with other TESOL members at the annual convention or via TESOL's member communities, including interest sections, caucuses, and affiliates.
Review the data. Compare the information you gather. Note your own reactions to this information as well. Writing out your thoughts alongside the data you collect will help you clarify your goals.
Analyze the findings. Now that you have collected and reviewed the data, think about the objectives you want to accomplish. Based on the information you have gathered, write down your plan of action. Include deadlines