Considering TEFL and have a few questions?
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Sep 26, 2012 6:46 AM Last Post By: xJessx
Aug 16, 2012 10:32 AM
Considering TEFL and have a few questions?Hi there, I'm from the UK and I'm currently doing a degree in English & Creative Writing. I'd really like to teach English abroad after I've completed my degree, maybe for a year or as a full-time career depending on how much I like it. Can anyone reccomend a good course that I would be able to do in the UK which would guarantee me a good teaching job abroad? Also I have no idea which country I'd like to teach in so maybe some pointers on where to start researching? I'd be looking for relatively good pay (I'm not expecting a huge salary but I don't have any savings so would like to live comfortably off my salary). Thanks in advance! By the way, I'm 20 and female if that would make any difference to the jobs available!
Aug 16, 2012 11:39 AM
1Often asked questions. So pardon the lack of creativity in answers.
No course can "guarantee me a good teaching job abroad" That said, CELTA or Trinity TESOL are by far the most recognized certificates in the world. They are expensive, but they give you a good base and a serious foot up in the application process.
As for where to work, it's wide open, but let's limit it down a bit. As a young, inexperienced female, you can forget about the Middle East. Turkey would be possible. Istanbul is popular with young teachers. But it's super expensive and hard to save money.
Central and South America pays next to nothing. It can be hard to make ends meet, never mind "live comfortably off my salary"
With an EU passport, you can work anywhere in Europe. You can make enough to pay the bills, in Czech. Poland or Ukraine, but not much else.
In Asia, Thailand pays next to nothing. Cambodia pays ok, but few/no benefits. Vietnam pays well and there are good packages (accommodation, flights...) but looking at ESL job sites there are A LOT of complaints about schools there.
The biggest markets have always been South Korea, Taiwan or Japan. Do your research before agreeing to anything. Check out ESLCafe for more specific information from other teachers.
Aug 16, 2012 3:44 PM
2I'm not an ESL teacher, but my sister is and I've been helping her over the past few years to research jobs (she hates computers!). From the research I've done for my sister I'd 100% agree with fluffy - especially about jobs in SE Asia and Central and South America.
I'd add China to South Korea, Taiwan and Japan - they seem to be the biggest countries. There are also some jobs throughout Indonesia, although, like Thailand and Cambodia, the pay isn't great. (Although, the living is fairly cheap.)
My sister (who has a primary teaching degree as well as TESOL qualifications) ended up teaching at a community school in Ubud, Bali for 18 months. She loved the school but didn't like Ubud so much. Now she's just moved to Penang, Malaysia, and has a job in an English school there. She really likes Malaysia - the pay is better than in Indonesia, and its very 'liveable' - friendly locals, a strong expat scene, language barrier not too high, great food.
I know that's just one person's experience, but maybe it will be useful to you in your planning. I think the key is really working out what you want and what you'll be comfortable with. Some people really want a nice lifestyle and don't care so much about saving money - so teaching somewhere like Thailand suits them. Others don't care about the lifestyle but want to save money - it seems like the Middle East offers most for those people. Other people want a real cultural challenge - and China probably offers that!
My sister has an illness which means that she can't work full-time - so she had to find jobs that would allow her to work at about a 70% load, but still give her enough to live on. So, she had a really hard time finding jobs, but eventually she got them.
Aug 16, 2012 4:21 PM
3I agree strongly about CELTA, although its focus is on teaching adults. I also agree with China being an option worth considering. Although jobs in government schools & universities pay really badly ( about £500 pm at a guess), you do get free accommodation& usually return airfares, and the cost of living on campus is really cheap. Jobs in private language schools usually pay better but may not include accommodation or airfares.
Finally if it is a long term goal, consider whatever extra qualifications you need to become a registered teacher in the UK, as teaching in International Schools is the best paying job in education!
Aug 17, 2012 8:10 AM
Aug 18, 2012 8:16 PM
I currently teach English in Japan through the Japanese JET programme - http://www.jetprogramme.org/
They take graduates or people of any age with a degree and a certain level of common sense. You don't have to be CELTA or TEFL qualified to teach (although many teachers are or take it while they are over here) and the pay is very high compared to the rest of the teaching programmes in SE Asia. The contract is for one year but you can extend it up to 5 years, renewing each year.
The application is long and might be a bit harder compared to other teaching jobs. You need to apply around the end of October (but start preparing in September) and the application process runs through to May when you finally find out where you're going.
I've been teaching here for a year and I can honestly say I've never regretted it for a single day. It's a great experience and the support network from the JET programme makes the transition to another country a whole lot easier than turning up in, say, Thailand and trying to sort things out by yourself. They provide a great language training course (free), give you a personal supervisor to help you with any problems and they help towards the cost of TEFL training.
Also.....the money means you can travel across Asia on your holidays and still have plenty put aside to fund your return home / next career move. I don't know how much you can save in Thailand or Vietnam but you can live comfortably here in Japan and save at least £500 to £1000 each month.
A similar scheme that runs in S Korea is called EPIK - http://www.epik.go.kr/
Aug 19, 2012 1:03 AM
Aug 28, 2012 2:41 AM
7Be careful of forums and weigh the advice given.
There are a lot of sour grapes out there and forums are usually a one way street. That meaning people complain about schools, but the schools rarely get to respond. Often the guy fired for showing up drunk or not showing up at all will not reveal that part of the story when talking about how a school in X country "scammed" him by firing him or cutting his wages. The teacher caught with his pants down (yes, it happens more than you would like to know about) won't tell you about his transgressions when he talks about how hostile and unfriendly people are in X country.
Take it all with a grain of salt, but you can to some degree piece together a relatively correct picture of different places.
Sep 26, 2012 6:46 AM
8I graduated last year with a languages degree (I'm 22 and female) and I did a Cambridge CELTA. I highly recommend it! It was very intensive but it gave me the opportunity to teach adults from 20 to 50 years old, at varying levels and we learnt how to teach skills, functions and grammar through hands on practice. Either that or a Trinity TESOL is probably the best way to go. Also, I didn't have much savings after uni but if you get a job in South Korea like I did, they pay your flights and accomodation...good luck! :)
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