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How are my qualifications?
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robhenniker



Joined: 14 Jan 2014
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 11:12 pm    Post subject: How are my qualifications? Reply with quote

Hi everybody and thanks for reading. I’m considering coming to KSA to teach English and I would like to ask you guys if you think I sound like a strong candidate for the better jobs over there. I’m pretty sure Aramco is out of the question, but I’m wondering if I would have a decent chance at the more desirable university jobs.

Quick quals:

American, early 40s, single.

13 years ESL teaching: 6 in Korea, 7 in a U.S. high school.

M.Ed. in TESL, done in-person (not online) at a U.S. college. (My Bachelor’s degree had nothing to do with education but who cares, the Masters trumps it, right?)

State certification in ESL K-12

3 of the Korea years were at national universities. Those 3 years plus the 7 at the American high school were all post-Masters.

Thank you in advance for your feedback. I have lots of other questions about living in KSA. If anyone (or a couple of anyones) would be willing to correspond in private emails, I would love to pick your brains. I don’t know what you’d get out of it, but… normally I’d offer to buy you a beer when I got there but I guess that’s not gonna work. Maybe I could smuggle you in a peanut butter cup or something. Anyway, cheers.
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lcanupp1964



Joined: 12 Dec 2009
Posts: 319
Location: Jeddah, KSA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 3:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even though you have a Masters in TESL, you still need a 120 hour on-site certification in TESOL/TEFL/TESL, or you need to get a CELTA. In KSA, it's a requirement that you really can't get around. They will not take any certifications done on-line.

If you do have one, I would only apply to KFUPM or KAU as a direct hire. As long as you can submit proof of your experience (letters of employment and other related documents), you would be highly sought after. You are in the "driver's seat", so you won't have to work with a recruiter that would only take a chunk of you monthly pay and provide very little in return. Money wise, you should be making somewhere around 17,000sr ($4,500) per month.

The reason I would go with either KFUPM, or KAU is due to the location of the two universities and the total amount of teaching hours you would be required to do. If you taught at a private high school (Jeddah Knowledge, for example), or worked for a military contractor, you would be teaching between five/six hours a day. At KAU would be teaching 18 hours a week and the rest of the time you would be off. At KSU, you would be teaching around the same amount as KAU, but you would have to be on site when you are not teaching and "work" a normal 8 hour day.

That would be one peanut-butter cup please. Very Happy
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15965
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Or if you don't have or want to do a cert, you can apply to any of the universities in the other Gulf countries where it isn't needed if you have a related MA.

And except for Saudi and Kuwait, you can deliver on that beer... Cool

VS
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3862
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I disagree with Icanupp on one point but only because he misread your post. Your M.Ed. in TESL + state ESL endorsement/cert is sufficient; there's no need to get a CELTA or equivalent TEFL cert.
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sicklyman



Joined: 02 Feb 2013
Posts: 449

PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 12:08 pm    Post subject: Re: How are my qualifications? Reply with quote

robhenniker wrote:
I’m pretty sure Aramco is out of the question

because?
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robhenniker



Joined: 14 Jan 2014
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Icanupp1964, VS, Nomad Soul, and sicklyman, thank you so much for your responses. This was exactly the kind of information I was looking for. Now, Icanupp1964, if you’re still reading, do you agree with nomad soul, that my state certification and Masters are sufficient? I really hope so. I like your explanation of the different jobs, it sounds like KFUPM and KAU are what I’m looking for.

And VS, I would certainly be open to the other Gulf states, I was aiming for KSA because the money was better (or course). Is that less true if we’re talking about Masters-required jobs?

As for ARAMCO sicklylman, my understanding (just from browsing the forum) is that a masters, state certification and experience in a U.S. high school might get me in, but only if they were something other than ESL. If I had all that in chemistry, I’d be in business, but why would they pay the high salary when ESL/EFLers can be found more cheaply. (Not to disparage any of you fine people, of course.) Please correct me if I’ve got this wrong.

Another question I have is about time. I’ve read it can take a looong time to get hired, provide all the necessary documents and so forth. I haven’t applied for anything yet, do I have enough time to get hired for September, lots of time, just enough, better hurry, or what?

Thank you all again for helping the clueless. So, the count so far is one out-of-kingdom beer and one peanut butter cup. Keep writing and watch the snacks accumulate! Cheers.
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SENTINEL33



Joined: 19 Jan 2014
Posts: 112
Location: Bahrain

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a couple of questions about your US ESL experience:

1. Is your K-12 credential still active? As you know, in many states, these credentials have to be renewed periodically even if you're teaching in the field. Of course, in some states, the credential is permanent once you get it.

2. In most states of the US, a credential is issued on a major subject, such as English or chemistry or history. ESL is generally not considered a "major" subject so what happens is that it is "added on" to a major subject credential and so the credential is for, say, history with an ESL "endorsement" (after taking a few ESL courses). What is your credential in? In a science? And is your ESL an "endorsement? What state is the issuing state?

Maybe in your state, ESL is now considered a full fledged "subject".

The reason I'm asking is because your going to find that in the Gulf, your pre-university teaching (grade, middle and high school) is often not taken into account either for salary purposes or for hiring purposes = that is to say, it doesn't count. So you're going to have to emphasize the MA in TESL (which is all you really need).

Which is a shame, by the way. I have long held that what the Gulf needs is high school English teachers - teachers that are certified by a US state to teach pre-university level students in English because that's the level (at best) most Gulf students are at when they enter university.

In fact, the LAST thing they need is an ESL teacher whose own command of English as an academic subject is frequently questionable. ESL and TESL is all about getting students to speak colloquial English in informal situations, such as going to the movies, having a party, asking directions in a strange USA city and so on.....you know, the kinds of things you teach in Thailand, Korea and Japan, places like that. It never was about teaching such esoteric subjects as GRAMMAR or (horrors) SYNTAX or COMPOSITION and "stuff" like that. (That's the origin of the truism that "anyone can teach English if he's a native speaker. All it takes is this 2 week certificate......")

Needless to say, my advice has always been ignored, not for pedagogical reasons, naturally, but for political reasons. Just thought you should know this angle to teaching in the Gulf.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15965
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

robhenniker wrote:
And VS, I would certainly be open to the other Gulf states, I was aiming for KSA because the money was better (or course). Is that less true if we’re talking about Masters-required jobs?

If you are aiming for university jobs, the UAE pays as well or better than many of the Saudi universities. And the living conditions are usually better because it is more liberal... and they do have alcohol. There is also Qatar University and some other American branch universities that pay very well there, but it is hard to get hired at these institutions.

Actually the high pay Saudi jobs are with the military or oil company jobs, not the universities.

So, I would expand my search. You have nothing to lose but the time to fill out the applications. Most of these universities take online applications and some of them will probably be at the TESOL convention in Portland the last week of March. Check out their job market listings of open jobs interviewing there... on their website.

VS
(and I agree with sentinel33 that Gulf university students are more like US Middle School/High School kids than US university students.)
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sicklyman



Joined: 02 Feb 2013
Posts: 449

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

robhenniker wrote:

As for ARAMCO sicklylman, my understanding (just from browsing the forum) is that a masters, state certification and experience in a U.S. high school might get me in, but only if they were something other than ESL. If I had all that in chemistry, I’d be in business, but why would they pay the high salary when ESL/EFLers can be found more cheaply. (Not to disparage any of you fine people, of course.) Please correct me if I’ve got this wrong.

I think you must misunderstand the Aramco job market. Finding 'cheap' EFL teachers is not the aim of Aramco. Finding well-qualified and experienced ones is and they pay good money to do just that.

Ironically, in chemistry, mathematics, etc., what you are saying applies because they have a much larger pool of candidates from nations like the Philippines and India which provide more technical teachers than the west at lower salaries. This is because you don't need stellar English skills to teach chemistry and, the regrettable fact is, people from these countries will sign contracts with salaries that most native English speaking nationals will not accept.

Aramco spends by far more money on its EFL teachers than its maths, science and clerical teachers because it employs the vast majority from 'expensive' nations like the UK and the US. I, and many other teachers I work with, were employed when we had more qualifications and experience in TESOL than your estimable resume above. You would therefore find that you fit their bill in these terms.

In terms of Aramco, September is entirely doable if you are happy to be contracted to the company. It took me about 10 weeks from application to arrival. For direct hire positions, the amount of time you would wait for even a response to your application (providing there were any jobs advertised) would be akin to the length of any random piece of string you might want to imagine.
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cultofpersonality



Joined: 12 Jan 2012
Posts: 77

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A few places don't care about a CELTA if you already have an M.A. in TESOL. CELTA is only really necessary and sought after if your first degree was in something non-ESL or education related. CELTA is a really basic teaching qualification and a lot of places are OK with people just having the MA TESOL. I do not have a CELTA but I have a PGCE teaching credential which is more valued in certain parts. I will also have a Masters as well. I knew of a few teachers who didn't have a CELTA.
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robhenniker



Joined: 14 Jan 2014
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You guys have given me a lot to think about and investigate, thank you. Can I ask a question about forum etiquette? When someone replies to my post, can I go ahead and write them a PM, if I want to follow up on what they're saying or if I want to ask something that's not for whole-world consumption? I don't want to intrude on anyone's privacy or bother anyone. Should I get permission before I PM someone? Cheers.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 15965
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Supposedly one needs 5 posts to do PMs (to slow down the spammers), but I'd say, go ahead and see if they will go through. People don't have to answer a PM if they don't want to...

VS
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ttxor1



Joined: 04 Jan 2014
Posts: 62

PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

robhenniker wrote:


I think you must misunderstand the Aramco job market. Finding 'cheap' EFL teachers is not the aim of Aramco. Finding well-qualified and experienced ones is and they pay good money to do just that.

Ironically, in chemistry, mathematics, etc., what you are saying applies because they have a much larger pool of candidates from nations like the Philippines and India which provide more technical teachers than the west at lower salaries. This is because you don't need stellar English skills to teach chemistry and, the regrettable fact is, people from these countries will sign contracts with salaries that most native English speaking nationals will not accept...

In terms of Aramco, September is entirely doable if you are happy to be contracted to the company. It took me about 10 weeks from application to arrival. For direct hire positions, the amount of time you would wait for even a response to your application (providing there were any jobs advertised) would be akin to the length of any random piece of string you might want to imagine.


just to jump in on the note about the pool of candidates: I noticed last year that Aramco was doing interviews in Manila and, in my interview in London, asked why they also did interviews in Manila. The recruiter told me exactly as robhenniker notes, about them hiring lots of math, chemistry, etc teachers as well as EFL teachers.

I was able to speak with a friend who interviewed with them there. He said that he and many others sat around the hotel for hours just to hear a "sorry, try again in two years." i got the same message, three days later...
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sicklyman



Joined: 02 Feb 2013
Posts: 449

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cultofpersonality wrote:
A few places don't care about a CELTA if you already have an M.A. in TESOL.

funnily enough, Aramco were more interested in my DELTA than my MA in TESOL...
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12390
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear sicklyman.

Huh? Were they 'Mercans or Europeans? Most 'Mercans would think Delta was an airline. Very Happy (and CELTA a basketball team.)

Regards,
John
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