My Random Job: Teaching ESL

You may have heard of Berlitz from the plethora of language tapes and programs that are out in the market. What you may not know is that Berlitz also has language schools throughout the world.  I landed a job at Berlitz teaching English to various adult students who had come to the area, usually as a result of a job transfer.

Learning language
Image courtesy of and David Castillo Dominic

Berlitz has a very intensive training program for their instructors, and you are only allowed to teach your native language.  It doesn’t matter if you majored in French throughout college, or were an ambassador to the consulate.  Unless you were born into a French-speaking household, you don’t get to teach it.  It is because of this commitment to excellence that Berlitz is so well known throughout the world.

As an instructor, you get to set your schedule and decide where you want to work and the type of student (adult/child, private/group) you prefer to work with.  I taught four different people during my time there.  One of which I met at 5am in the morning, before he had to be at work at 7am. All of the people that I worked with had come to the area as a result of a job transfer, or was a spouse of someone who was transferred. They had a little experience with the language, but needed help learning the nuances, like rental agreements or labels on groceries.

I remember one student needed clarification of a situation that happened at a grocery store. She went through the checkout and when the clerk asked, “Paper or Plastic?” she was confused. She thought the clerk was talking about the type of payment she was going to make: Paper…as in cash. Or plastic…as in credit cards. She was highly amused when she found out that the clerk was actually talking about the bags!

If you’re interested in teaching for Berlitz, you can visit their website at to see schools and jobs in your area.


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