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5 Transferable Skills You Develop as an English Teacher 

Teaching English as a second language is a unique opportunity to travel the world, make an impact on students, meet new people, and grow personally and professionally. Teachers gain skills and experience that help them in the classroom, as well as in other jobs and industries. Chatteris’ own Kerry Devlin gives her insight into 5 transferable skills you develop as an English teacher.


Chatteris Educational Foundation takes on graduates from a wide variety of backgrounds, both culturally and academically. As an organisation, we value the diversity of our tutors and the enrichment this brings to the students they work with. Chatteris tutors regularly bring their passions and experience into the classroom such as literature, geography, art, video editing, music, sports and so much more. 

This poses the question, ‘why teach if your goal isn’t to be a teacher?’. For many of our tutors, the answer is to travel, meet new people, benefit the wider Hong Kong community, and develop the vast array of skills that you can learn from teaching English. So, as our tutors move beyond the classroom and into their chosen careers, they are able to utilise some of these skills. Here is the rundown of the top five skills you can develop as an English teacher. 

  1. Problem-Solving 

Every day, teachers are faced with problems needing to be solved. Students not behaving, technology not working, switching between in-person and online learning, and so much more. Teachers must be resourceful and able to assess and adapt to any situation that can arise, all while focusing on their students and what is best for them. In most careers, being able to work through problems methodically is a vital skill, and experience in the classroom will allow you to demonstrate your ability to do this. 

  1. Teamwork
Chatteris English Tutors in a team
Chatteris Tutors regularly collaborate with others |
Image by Lauren James

Collaboration is one of Chatteris’ core values and a skill that our tutors, and all teachers, will find themselves using every day. Co-teaching, planning lessons or curriculums with the English department, and organising events and activities with other Tutors are situations that are very typical. Teachers must have the ability to communicate, delegate, and collaborate to work effectively in a school setting. As such having ESL experience on your CV is a great indicator of strong teamwork skills. 


  1. Public Speaking
Chatteris English Teacher  delivering a presentation
Public speaking is a crucial part of teaching |
Image by Ashleigh Jameson

While this might seem obvious, it’s important to not forget that teaching is a form of public speaking. Standing up in front of 30 people in a classroom (or hundreds at an assembly) to deliver a 40-minute presentation, including information, instructions, activities, resources, and more shows a strong command of public speaking skills. For many new teachers, this seems daunting but can quickly become one of their strongest transferable skills. Being able to speak confidently has so many practical applications including interviews, meetings, pitches, and presentations and can help teachers to stand out when applying in other industries. Once you can impress a class of 30 students, a workplace presentation will seem a lot less intimidating! 

  1. Cultural Awareness 

In this day and age, all industries are becoming increasingly international and being able to work and communicate well with people from different backgrounds and speakers of other languages is its own unique skill set. ESL teachers work in diverse international workplaces and have opportunities to learn about other cultures first-hand by living and working within them. These unique experiences can be massively beneficial when moving into other industries, particularly if it’s an international role. 

  1. Flexibility and Adaptability 
5 transferable skills you develop as an English teacher
Chatteris Tutor Jess sharing her arts and crafts skills with her students | Image by Jess Tarr

Teaching can be very unpredictable, and no two days at work are ever the same. In fact, no two lessons are ever the same. Teachers must be able to think on their feet and adapt quickly and confidently to the multitude of situations that can arise in the classroom. On a Monday morning, a group of students will act very differently from a group of students just after recess. Classes could be online, in-person, or hybrid (where the lesson is taught in school with some students joining online). Maybe the activity you planned was too easy or too difficult and you had to improvise to make the most out of your lesson time and make the biggest impact on your students.  Teachers have to be flexible and able to adapt to the things that get thrown at them, a skill which can be invaluable in a fast-paced working environment.


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