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TESOL/TEFL/CELTA Confusion Question

 
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Adventeuerin



Joined: 10 Mar 2012
Posts: 7
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:51 pm    Post subject: TESOL/TEFL/CELTA Confusion Question Reply with quote

Hi, I'm new here but have been reading lots of your old posts and feel I have a decent grasp of the process of moving and becoming an English teacher in Germany (including schengen zone rules, spiral, see I have been paying attention). I'm planning on moving to Germany either this December, for the January hiring season, or in the summer for the September hiring season. I am an American (non-EU citizen), have a BA from an excellent liberal arts school and will be finishing my K-12 teaching license this fall. I
also speak decent German; not fluent but I consistently test at an intermediate conversational level. I think I would be a B1 but am not sure how to actually get tested to prove this. Anyway, I'm working hard at improving my language skills so that when I get over there I will be hopefully at or near a B2.

My question at the moment is about getting a TESOL type of cert. I am confused by all the options. I'm not even considering the cheap online-only courses, but there do seem to be a few reputable trainers in the US who have online and in-class options, or intensive courses on-site, though I would have to travel for most of these as there aren't any near me.

I could take classes locally and get a TESOL endorsement on my state teaching license, but am not sure if this will be recognized in Germany, or just be a waste of time and money.

The ideal seems to be to get a Cambridge CELTA, IN Germany, but that would definitely put off my departure date till next summer, because of other commitments. If I got the cert while here, before I leave, I could be there in December.

Do you all have any recommendations for me? What are the schools looking for, in terms of credentials? Does it really matter whether I have a TEFL or TESOL or CELTA--are they pretty much synonomous? Does the trainer/program I get it through (assuming a good one) matter all that much, or just that you have the cert? I am confused and overwhelmed by the options and appreciate any assistence here. Thanks in advance!
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artemisia



Joined: 04 Nov 2008
Posts: 867
Location: the world

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adventeuerin wrote:
...and feel I have a decent grasp of the process of moving and becoming an English teacher in Germany (including schengen zone rules, spiral, see I have been paying attention).
Iím sure spiral will be pleased, especially given that such advice quite often falls on deaf ears!

I realise youíd have to postpone your overseas trip if you took a course in Germany. Theyíre offered in Hamburg and Berlin, and it can be very helpful to do this in the country you want to teach in given the obvious advantage of being on the spot and being able to make local contacts. Getting to know other teachers can help ease your way in a foreign place, too. As it might be easier for you to do this at home, as far as I know the American equivalent to CELTA/ Trinity Cert. is the SIT. Thatís not to say other courses wonít also be valuable, but not all TEFL courses are the same in terms of quality.

You mention specific courses not being available locally but also say this:
Quote:
I could take classes locally and get a TESOL endorsement on my state teaching license, but am not sure if this will be recognized in Germany, or just be a waste of time and money.
The CELTA is well-known in Europe generally and school managers like it because it means they automatically know what training has been done, but it's not the be-all and end-all of TEFL. The local course sounds like it could be a good option if it gives you a decent overview of the basics of teaching. Some questions to consider: How many hours of training are there? Is there observed teaching practice, and yes, what is the national/ international reputation of the cert.?

It might still be possible to get work in Germany without having any TEFL certs at all, but getting teaching work has become increasingly competitive and there are many well-qualified, experienced teachers looking for the same thing. Many schools will be delighted if you have business qualifications and experience. In the absence of this, the better known whatever quals you have are, the easier it often is for you. However, other TEFL certs will also be useful. Without meaning to sound negative, it can take some time to build up sufficient teaching work there. The more you have to offer, the better.
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Adventeuerin



Joined: 10 Mar 2012
Posts: 7
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Artemisia, thank you for your reply. I looked into the local TESOL option as you recommended and it is 6 credit hours (approximately 90 instructional hours) plus 20 observation and teaching hours in a real classroom. This would be an endorsement on my state teaching license so has no real international reputation.

Your point about whether the cert will be recognized is well taken. Since the market seems to be competative it would be better to get the best training available to get a better job.

To clarify the bit of confusion about the local schools, the classes locally are for my state teaching program but there aren't any programs locally that offer what might be termed an international accreditation.

Any other thoughts or advice? All is much appreciated.
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artemisia



Joined: 04 Nov 2008
Posts: 867
Location: the world

PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=92329&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15

If you havenít seen this thread, then the last two posts on it discuss qualifications in Germany.

Itís a little hard to make a definite recommendation concerning your situation because there are pros and cons to whatever you do. Iíd be inclined to take the TESOL endorsement on your state teaching licence (strengthening that qualification) because I think itís likely to be very useful to you, nationally and internationally, to have it. The training sounds good, too.

I know youíre interested in Germany but should you decide to travel and work elsewhere (especially in Asia), it would be a great help to be ESOL qualified at the school teaching level. You could also think about doing a CELTA later on while youíre based in Germany. These courses arenít particularly cheap and it can be hard to take a month out from work to do it, but it will always be a useful certificate to have as it is recognised just about everywhere. In the meantime youíd already have a qualification in ESOL, which would still be helpful in Germany. It would be good to get a cover letter/transcript of some sort from the institution that details what the course covers, especially the observed teaching with students. Hopefully, theyíll give you a reference as well.

Thatís probably what Iíd go for because Iím secondary school trained myself and Iíve taught ESOL in schools. It possibly would be easier to find work with a CELTA in Germany, but itís hard to say with absolute certainty. I guess Iíd be thinking about qualifications in a longer term sense (ie; whatís also going to be particularly useful back home), and not just in a given country. Of course, the CELTA (or SIT) is in this category, too, so I donít know if this really is much help to you!

I don't know where you plan to go, but the South of Germany has most of the industry, in particular Frankfurt (am Main) and Baden Wuerttemberg (Stuttgart).
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Adventeuerin



Joined: 10 Mar 2012
Posts: 7
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for all the advice. You've given me a lot to think about and research. I've looked at all the options and I'm going to go with the CELTA in Germany. I'm not really interested in teaching elsewhere (except maybe Austria or Switzerland) so having a more general certificate isn't really necessary. It'll cost more but will be more useful for what I want to do.
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