Career Landscape of an English Teacher – From Primary School to University

21st November 2023

In times of economic crisis, it is not easy to decide on a career…

Are you interested in various career paths, but are you wondering which one you should pursue?

Have you ever thought about teaching Shakespeare’s language? Due to globalization, it is now necessary to be able to speak English well almost everywhere in the world.

Whether you are a junior or senior, a student or just starting out in your career, it is worth looking into this question.

Being an English teacher has its advantages, and the English language has an extremely attractive aura.

So let’s explore the benefits of being an English teacher!

Career opportunities as an English teacher

English is the second most spoken language in the world.

425 million people have English as their first language, while 400 million people speak English as a second language and 350 million have learned the language at some point. The English language is essential in many professions and in studies!

The need for English teaching is great and the career prospects as an English teacher are not bad; whether at primary school or as an English tutor.

Plus, as an English teacher, it never gets boring!

English lessons in primary school

English is already taught in primary school in many countries worldwide. Depending on the federal state, even from 1st class.

Great emphasis is placed on acquiring their first words and the fun factor so that the children become familiar with the language and develop an ear for it.

At this age, the brain is still malleable, allowing it to retain foreign language vocabulary and sounds without difficulty.

There are also language schools, which offer English courses for children aged 3 and 4. Here the language is taught in small groups and in a child-friendly manner.

Stories, songs and entertaining activities introduce the language to young English learners (and also help at an older age when it comes to learning English for beginners…).

Play language schools have also specialized in early childhood language learning, including Abracadabra in Berlin. The immersion method is used here, meaning the children swim in an English language pool, which means they quickly acquire the language.

English in secondary school I and II

In the lower and middle schools, ie from the 5th grade onwards, systematic grammar learning begins, whereby oral expression and written and oral understanding must not be neglected under any circumstances.

Some students are already thinking about studying English and perhaps becoming an English teacher.

To do this, he must study English to become a teacher (Bachelor and Master of Education or 1st state examination), ideally in combination with a natural science subject, sport or music, which are currently the subjects in short supply.

This is followed by the traineeship and then the 2nd state examination.

If you would like to teach at a public school, you apply directly to the Ministry of Education. If you are interested in teaching English at a specific private school, you submit your application directly to them.

As a trainee, you are initially a civil servant on revocation, which is followed by civil service on probation (2-3 years).

At the end of this probationary period, it will be determined whether you have pedagogical and professional suitability. In addition, a health suitability assessment will be carried out and your police clearance certificate will be checked.

Only then will the school management carry out your civil service and you will be a civil servant for life!

As a civil servant, you enjoy decisive advantages: non-term inability, salary increases with age, no contributions to unemployment insurance or pension insurance… What more could you want?

As an employed teacher who is not a civil servant, you pay into the pension insurance like any other employee.

Teaching English at a university

If you want to pursue a scientific career, you must first obtain a doctorate. A doctoral thesis is the foundation for every future professor. With your doctorate you can then apply for teaching positions at universities.

When you have finally completed your habilitation thesis, you can call yourself a private lecturer and teach and research at universities. The habilitation is the prerequisite for a professorship.

You then receive the title of professor after a successful trial lecture before an appointment committee.

The path to becoming a university professor is rocky because it is not a prerequisite that the appointment will work out. The right contacts and perseverance are the guiding principles of a scientific career.

But when you reach your goal, you will have a prestigious job that matches your passion!

English teacher – more than a profession

You shouldn’t pursue a profession just to make money or enjoy prestige. As an English specialist, you must also care about other things.

Knowledge transfer

Expertise is of no use if you keep it to yourself. As a specialist in a field, you want to share your knowledge with others. And that is exactly the teacher’s job.

If you like teaching other people things and you enjoy teaching, teaching is the right career for you.

The joy becomes even greater when you notice the progress in your students that YOU have made possible for them!

You also have the opportunity to pass on your linguistic knowledge outside of school.

There are, for example, associations in which you can give English lessons to children from poorer families, refugees, the unemployed, etc., as a paid or voluntary worker.

Or a GCSE English tutor can give English tutoring, either at the student’s home or support them with online English lessons via webcam.

The demand is always high here, so you will quickly find many tutors, whether primary school students, high school students, vocational students, students or working people.

According to a parent survey by the Bertelsmann Foundation, around 1.2 million children between the ages of 6 and 16 in the USA receive tutoring. A big sales market for tutors!

Foreign language didactics

There are now not only textbooks, but also multimedia learning options, including e-books, audio files, mobile applications and much more.

Some of them will also serve you well in English lessons. So you don’t have to be afraid of being left empty-handed. There are countless teaching materials that are made available to you during your studies and afterwards.