What Does An English Teacher Do? (Duties And Career Advice)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 18 March 2023

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An English teacher helps students learn how to read, write and speak English. It is a rewarding career that offers an opportunity to teach children and non-English-speaking adults. Learning more about this career may help you understand if it suits your aspirations. In this article, we answer, "What does an English teacher do?", outline some important skills for these professionals and discuss the steps for entering this profession.

What does an English teacher do?

An English teacher plays a crucial role in developing a student's oral and written communication skills, like writing formal letters, reports, speeches, poetry and short stories. They teach sentence structure, grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and literature of the language. Some teachers may also be a part of the administration in the institute where they conduct classes.

A teacher may tutor adults whose first language is not English. Referred as English as a second language (ESL) teachers, these professionals typically work in private institutes and language academies. They may also provide private one-to-one tuitions to candidates. While the job role may differ from one institute to another, an English teacher often performs the following tasks:

  • research and create lesson plans for the defined curriculum

  • prepare, conduct and grade assignments, tests and projects

  • conduct classroom activities to increase student participation

  • assign literature for students to read

  • assign regular homework to improve student performance

  • evaluate and draft student progress reports

  • perform clerical jobs to meet organisational requirements

  • meet student guardians to communicate their progress

  • direct extra-curricular activities for students

Related: Interview Questions For English Teachers With Sample Answers

How to become an English teacher

The following steps explain how you can become an English teacher:

1. Complete your education

The minimum requirement to become an English teacher is a bachelor's degree in the arts, commerce or science stream, followed by a two-year Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree. The BEd degree is essential to practise as a teacher in any institution. It lays the foundation for understanding human behaviour, pedagogy of a school subject, conducting assessments and creating an inclusive school environment. You may choose to specialise in the English language while pursuing your BEd degree. The specialisation covers most of the following subjects:

  • communication skills

  • creative writing

  • educational psychology

  • reading skills

  • fundamentals of education and pedagogy

  • teaching methodologies

  • English phonology

  • applied linguistics

  • learning nature and process thinking

  • education, culture and human values

2. Pursue certifications

You may want to pursue one or more certifications to improve employment opportunities. While certifications are typically optional, they enhance your qualifications and add credibility to your teaching skills. While you can pursue most of the certifications at your own pace, others are more time-bound and require rigorous training. Here are some certifications you may consider:

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)

TEFL is typically a four to six-week certification programme that trains you on how to teach candidates whose first language is not English. The certification is valid in many countries across the globe. Since ESL teachers work with students from non-English backgrounds, this certification can be very helpful for them. TEFL methodologies can help hone their language skills and equip them to cater to culturally varied students.

Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA)

CELTA is an internationally recognised certification programme accredited by Cambridge Assessment English (UK). This certificate course provides knowledge of the principles of English teaching to adult learners. The programme is available online as a full-time or part-time course. It provides opportunities to train a small group of audience and improve language analysis and awareness.

Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET)

The CTET certification is often necessary to apply for government jobs. The Central Board of Secondary Education conducts the final exam for this certification. The National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) has prescribed a set of textbooks that candidates can study for CTET preparation. Candidates who completed their post-graduation with a minimum of 55% marks or equivalent grade and have a three-year integrated BEd-MEd degree can apply for this certification.

3. Gain experience

An essential aspect of becoming an English teacher is to gain practical experience through internships while pursuing your education. You may choose to work in private, government or non-government organisations (NGOs). You may work alongside teachers and professors, understand student behaviour and gain experience with administrative tasks. Internships also provide a chance to expand your network, find a mentor and improve future job opportunities.

Related: What Are Internships and How Do You Find One?

4. Apply for jobs

Depending on your career aspirations, you may want to apply to a private school, government school or language school. Make sure your resume highlights your relevant hard and soft skills. You can apply for jobs via online job portals like Indeed. You can also use your network and attend walk-in interviews to get a job.

Related: How to Write a Teacher's Resume (With Tips and Example)

Skills required for an English teacher

English teachers use a variety of skills to perform their duties well. Apart from teaching, teachers perform various tasks, such as creating lesson plans, doing administrative work and evaluating student projects. Here are some of the skills they use to perform their daily tasks:

Communication skills

Teachers require a sound knowledge of verbal and non-verbal communication. They stand upright in front of the classroom, make eye contact with students and impart lessons in a way students can understand. Teachers also communicate with parents, administration and colleagues in written and oral form. Excellent communication skills may also facilitate constructive student interactions.

Organisational skills

Teachers plan lessons, projects and assessments. They also perform several clerical jobs, like maintaining student records and generating report cards. Some teachers may be part of other school activities. With so many tasks to handle, it is important for teachers to organise their work and maintain a healthy work-life balance, without compromising on the quality of their classes.

Related: Organisational Skills: Definition and Examples


Teaching a new language to non-native speakers is tough. It requires immense efforts from the teachers to inculcate a habit of using the language in daily life. Teachers work with students from culturally diverse backgrounds with varied intellectual abilities. Therefore, teachers create an engaging environment to provide an equitable learning experience. Teachers may also repeat sessions to help students grasp critical concepts.

Computer skills

Teachers use computers to maintain student records, prepare worksheets, draft examination papers and perform administrative tasks. They may also use digital media in the classroom to teach students using videos. They often conduct online research to stay updated with the latest teaching methodologies. Having basic computer skills helps them perform these tasks well. Some teachers can even troubleshoot computer tools to make sure minor technical issues do not hinder their classwork.

Lesson planning

English teachers often use a combination of various teaching methodologies to create lesson plans for their students. This may involve a lot of research and a thorough understanding of what may work for a student group. An effective lesson plan incorporates practical projects, essential literature and classroom activities to help students grasp the language faster.

Intercultural sensitivity

English teachers, especially ESL teachers, work with students from diverse backgrounds. They respect all sentiments and promote an inclusive environment in their classes. They ensure that none of the course material is culturally insensitive. Teachers with knowledge of various languages may aid the course by comparing them to ease learning.


An institution may have multiple English teachers for different sections of students. Other departments also function within the institute. Besides conducting classes, teachers interact with their colleagues to discuss lesson plans, student performance, administrative tasks and school events. Teachers with team management skills are open to ideas that may help them perform better at their job.

Related: 10 Powerful Tips for Successful Teamwork

The work environment of an English teacher

An English teacher has fixed working hours and usually works six days a week. They spend most of their day conducting classes and evaluating student projects. They also create lesson plans, organise guest lectures and address student queries. Some English teachers may also direct or oversee extra-curricular activities in the institute. The work environment is highly demanding, as it is essential to complete the syllabus within time, meet administrative demands and ensure students understand the course material.

Average salary

The average base salary of an English teacher is ₹18,265 per month. The pay varies depending on your geographical location. The average base salary of an English teacher in Hyderabad is ₹23,112 per month, while the average base salary of an English teacher in Jaipur is ₹ 17,083 per month. The pay may also vary depending on your experience, employer and job position.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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