Career decision: ESL or Eng Lit?

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New member
Mar 25, 2010
Member Type
Student or Learner
I am a college student working toward BA/Ed. I have some teaching history at the Pre-K level. I am considering a career in teaching English and am not completely decided if I want to go the route of teaching (older children or adults) ESL, or if I want to become an instructor of English Literature (also at the secondary level). Kids like me and a room full of them does not scare me the least bit. I only want to work with older kids because, in my opinion it is intellectually more stimulating. I personally like grammar (although admittedly, I feel I don't know it THAT well) and love helping people, so I anticipate that I would find satisfaction in helping people succeed by learning proper usage of English, however, I am afraid that after awhile the information may begin to bore me. I like to write, but am not an avid reader... although I do love literature. I have yet to experience many of the greatest things ever written, by the greatest writers. Either way, I am 2 years into classes toward my BA, so there is some time left to decide. I have prayed for guidance and think some comments from those more experienced might help. I would appreciate any advice from teachers with experience in either or both fields of instruction, also any guidance for my personal education choices. What special challenges have you faced working in this dept? Or with this age group? Any regrets? What would you have done differently given the options? Thanks in advance for sharing. Hopefully your input will help me make my decision. Any and all comments will be helpful.




Staff member
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
Native Language
British English
Home Country
Current Location
If you were to choose ESL, would that be in the UK or abroad? ESL in the UK is not in a very good state- the FE sector is bureaucratic and funding tight, the private sector has a lot of low-paying positions and insecurity- a recent decision by the Home Secretary to only allow foreign learners of English into the UK if they speak English to GCSE level has thrown the industry into turmoil, though it is being challenged in the courts.

There are good schools, colleges and universities, but competition for such positions can be ferocious. If I were in your shoes and leaning towards ESL, I would look into doing it abroad as conditions and salaries can be much better.
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