ESL Teachers: Learn how you can earn more money in 2022!

by | Apr 13, 2022 | Expat Life, Intercultural Skills

ESL Teachers: Learn how you can earn more money in 2022!

by | Apr 13, 2022 | Expat Life, Intercultural Skills

This article is the first in a series about expat careers and business, and today I’m going to talk about ESL teachers, but specifically, how ESL teachers can upgrade their career into something a lot more fulfilling, that allows you to travel more and earn a lot more than what you’re earning now. Stick around to find out what that is.

Cheryl Obal teaching

Why do people become ESL teachers?

I think a big reason is because you want to travel, maybe live abroad. Of course, you also need to have a love of the English language and a love of people.

English teachers play a big role in the lives of their students. They can help students love the English language by teaching English in a fun and engaging way. They help students gain a solid understanding of pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary. Becoming an ESL teacher can be a great way to help people learn English–but also, make a difference in their lives.

ESL teachers online can also help students all over the world to achieve their goals with the English language. Teaching online can lead to flexible learning for the students as well as flexible work hours for the teacher. Students can study more, and teachers can work more, because of saving time you would otherwise have to spend in traveling to a language school for live classes.

I myself was an ESL teacher

I understand these passions. I myself was an ESL teacher for many years and this led me to live and work in amazing countries like Italy, South Korea, and India. These experiences enriched my life in countless ways. Teaching English, the places I traveled to and the people I met along the way, have changed my life and given me unforgettable memories. 

Samsung training

There was just one thing missing: earnings.

ESL teaching: a challenging and rewarding profession

Cheryl in LEM

Don’t get me wrong: ESL teaching is great. You help people improve their skills, you develop meaningful relationships with people. You travel the world and you have great experiences.

It’s challenging because there is always a lot of work to do in terms of preparation. 

You have to be creative in your approach to teaching, and you have to be patient with your students. But it’s also rewarding because you see your students make progress and achieve their goals. You also learn every day. I always say that I learn just as much, or more from my students, than I hope they learn from me.

The pain of being an ESL teacher

ESL teacher jobs can be tough. There are lots of things to do and lots of work: lesson planning, long hours on your feet, and admin work like record-keeping. Sooner or later you get tired. You burn out. The worst thing is in the end you won’t have a lot of savings because let’s face it: 

ESL teachers aren’t bankrolling it.

So, if you don’t have a passion for the English language or working with people, then becoming an ESL teacher is not for you.

Why I Quit my ESL Teaching Job

ESL teachers face a lot of problems. One of the biggest problems is that they often don’t get paid on time. This can be very frustrating, especially when you’re working hard to help students learn English. Another problem is that there’s often no support from the school or company you’re working for. This can make it difficult to improve your teaching skills and keep up with the latest ESL teaching methods.

At a certain point in my career, I got lucky. I fell into another career that is closely related to ESL teaching, but with much higher rewards: 5x more salary. It also led to more enriching experiences and more travel opportunities.

A new kind of job

The best thing is, I started having immense job satisfaction and I started feeling like I was using all my skills. Can you guess what this career is? Well, I’ll give you a hint: you’re still in a classroom-type situation, you still bring valuable learning experiences to people, and you still travel a lot. The difference is, you earn a lot more and the teaching is a little different.

Have you guessed what it is yet? You still use your international experiences, you still meet amazing people around the world, but you leave feeling much more rewarded at the end of the day.

Cross-Cultural Training

Cross cultural training

This career is cross-cultural training. What is cross-cultural training? Well, in a nutshell, you teach people from different cultures how to work together more effectively. This is done primarily through different models, methodologies, and dimensions, which are very easy to learn and teach. Then you lead activities and tasks that help

people delve into the topics more and develop strategies to relate to people from other cultures more effectively.

Cross-cultural competence can go into so many different topics and down into so many different levels. There is basic and general knowledge, but there are several other areas that people may need to learn about and work on, including etiquette, communication style, negotiation, business meeting structure, listening patterns, attitudes towards business and work, building trust and relationships, use of time and space, and more.

Every client has different needs, and every training should be slightly tailored, in order to meet the client’s needs.

Stick around until the end of the article when I tell you which theories you can study and where you can get certified.

 How ESL teachers can become cross-cultural trainers

The main goals of cross-cultural training are:

  • Build self-awareness of one’s own communication style, cultural values, and behavioral tendencies
  • Understand how cultural values manifest in daily life
  • Develop strategies to work effectively with people of different cultures
  • Learn to break down stereotypes and unconscious biases

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    Cross-cultural trainers instill an understanding that no culture is right or wrong, or better or worse–there are differences, but that’s what makes the world a beautiful place!

    There are many other benefits and many other applications of this training. As a trainer, you could take a focus on any one of the following areas:

    • International university students
    • NGOs, charity organizations, and humanitarian work
    • Companies working across borders
    • Government branches dealing with immigration or international business
    • Mergers and acquisitions
    • And many more

    Cross-Cultural Training

    How to Become a Cross-Cultural Trainer

    If you’re an ESL teacher looking for a career change, consider becoming a cross-cultural trainer. The good thing is, your ESL teaching experience has given you a distinct advantage and in fact, you’re already halfway there.

    Cross-cultural trainers work with individuals and groups who are looking to improve their intercultural communication and understanding. As a trainer, you will help your clients to become more aware of their own cultural biases and assumptions, and to develop the skills necessary to effectively communicate with people from other cultures.

    So, if you’re planning on becoming an ESL teacher and can’t find any jobs overseas, consider becoming a cross-cultural trainer.

    After all, language is an element of culture, right?

    Having classroom experience as an ESL teacher means you’ll be able to easily transition into a training role. If you’re interested in getting certified, you can check out the following:


    Yes, we also offer our very own, specialized cross-cultural train-the-trainer course, live on Zoom. What is the difference between our course and the ones listed above? Those certification programs are based on a certain methodology, as every company also has their own training method and corresponding tools. Our course is different because:

      • It gives an overview of all the major methodologies, so that you may choose which ones to use in certain training situations. Some methodologies work for certain audiences, but not for others. It’s important to know several of them, so that you can use the appropriate tools at the right time.
      • We teach aspiring cross-cultural trainers how to make a career out of training. There are practical lessons about promoting yourself, gaining an online presence, conducting a new client intake, writing a client proposal, and how much you can charge for certain services. Most other certification programs do not teach the career-related aspects of working as a cross-cultural trainer.
      • Our program also includes techniques for how to train effectively. This is another aspect not covered in most cross-cultural certification programs. There are many techniques that can make or break a trainer. Training must be interactive to be effective. But how do you generate meaningful classroom experiences for participants? We teach you how.

    I’m going to teach you how to make it happen—how to go from working as an English teacher to becoming a cross-cultural trainer. I’ll set you on the path of effective self-promotion and help you build a network to provide opportunities for cross-cultural training. Then, in one month or less, you’ll be well on your way to expanding your career opportunities through cross-cultural training.

    Wrapping up

    If you are an ESL teacher, there is a good chance that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in this field. Cross-cultural training can be very rewarding, both personally and professionally. It can also be lucrative, as demand for cross-cultural trainers continues to grow, and multinational companies pay a lot more than language schools.

    Are you interested in learning more about this career path? If so, please visit our website or contact us today. We would love to hear from you!

    FAQ about cross-cultural trainers

    What is a cross-cultural trainer?

    A cross-cultural trainer teaches people how to work effectively and live harmoniously with people from other cultures.

    What are the duties of a cross-cultural trainer?

    The duties of a cross-cultural trainer are to:

    1. First and foremost, understand their client’s needs
    2. Develop training programs suited to those needs
    3. Deliver an effective training program that leaves people with a deeper understanding of cultural differences as well as strategies for managing intercultural relationships.

    What type of person makes a good cross-cultural trainer?

    The type of person who makes a good cross-cultural trainer is someone who loves different cultures, enjoys helping people learn and grow, is organized and knows how to plan training programs (or is willing to learn how to do this), and has good communication skills.

    How do I become a cross-cultural trainer?

    You can become a cross-cultural trainer by following these steps:

    1. Read important books by experts on the subject (to find out which ones, check out the list here)
    2. Obtain a certification, like one of the qualifications listed above.
    3. Promote yourself as a trainer, and perhaps offer some free sessions to get your feet wet.

    What are the benefits of becoming a cross-cultural trainer?

    1. You have extremely meaningful classroom experiences, both online and in person.
    2. You help people build important skills that stay with them a lifetime. These skills are game-changing, and most people walk away extremely grateful for having learned these topics.
    3. You earn more money than a regular teacher does. Since this training is often done for corporates who have a higher budget than schools, there is much more earning potential.
    4. You get to travel the world a lot more than usual, because cross-cultural trainers often get invited to deliver training on-site in different countries, with the entire trip paid for by the client, of course.

    How much does a Cross-cultural Trainer make?

    The current day rate is around $1000 per day when working through a training company.

    Hourly, you can charge $150 per hour.

    When booking your own gigs, you can ask more than that, and rates can go higher as you gain more experience.

    Subscribe to my YouTube Channel to learn more about how to be culturally respectful, do business in other countries, and make the most out of expat life.

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