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Is ESL For Losers?
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ebooktrial0001



Joined: 02 Jan 2014
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:21 pm    Post subject: Thanks for the Thoughts Reply with quote

I certainly like some parts of the ESL world:

- It's at most 8 hours a day for regular shifts
- Teachers are genuinely respected (everywhere except the Middle East)
- Any job you go will pay you enough to live decently there (save for those few volunteer positions)
- Some places even allow homestays (where you get to live with and get good local food cooked by the locals)
- You'll have more stories to tell than someone who sits at a desk
- You're more grateful when you come back to the West and get more stable HR, labor laws, etc.
- You're much closer to the rest of the world than living with the US
- Almost every country I've been to (even Mexico) has more efficient medical care than the US

So, coming to think of what I'm grateful for, I see this.

However, I eventually want to settle down to a more stable job with a pension, opportunities for advancement, etc.

Teaching in the Middle East is a great way to supplement income; I can't imagine many other jobs where every hour worked= ~$40 SAVED (not just earned), plus enough time for lots of sleep, exercise, leisure time, etc. That's equivalent of at least $100,000 salary back home for 2000+ hours a week. But, of course, unless I make it to Aramco, I'm not sure I could live in Saudi for more than 6 months or so at a time without going crazy.
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Shroob



Joined: 02 Aug 2010
Posts: 1212

PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Thanks for the Thoughts Reply with quote

ebooktrial0001 wrote:

- Teachers are genuinely respected (everywhere except the Middle East)


Add China to that list of exceptions.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3589
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Thanks for the Thoughts Reply with quote

ebooktrial0001 wrote:
- Teachers are genuinely respected (everywhere except the Middle East)

That's a big generalization. It depends on the teaching situation.
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BadBeagleBad



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 824

PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

djunamod wrote:
I think Nomad Soul has a very relevant question - how do we define "loser"?


Excellent point! I don't think we can call anyone a loser without knowing what their goals in life are. I have a friend who loves the water, swimming, surfing, lazing on the beach, that is his idea of heaven on earth. He lives in Central America currently in a small house, works 15 or 20 hours a week and spends the rest doing what he loves. To some, he would be a loser, but he is living in heaven on earth to him. I have wanted to get out of big cities for years and have been able to move to a small town in the middle of nowhere, while I do work full time, I can choose my own hours, take a random day off - or two or three - on a whim. I can work outside on my patio and often do. We eat fresh fruits and vegetables, which is a luxury in many parts of the world. It is quiet and peaceful here, and while there is not a lot of night life - only a couple of clubs, no movie theater, etc., I have plenty of time to pursue my own interests - reading, sewing, quilting, gardening. A lot of my friends in Mexico City gave me six months before I moved back, but the longer I am here the more I hate the idea of moving back there - or to even city really. What to me is peace and quiet to them is the epitome of boredom. On a side note, I am also able to save lots, the cost of living is very low, in fact, will probably be able to retire in another 5 or 6 years. One person's loser is another person's ideal life. I hesitate to use that label on anyone that I don't know well, and even then, really.
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TwinCentre



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 271
Location: Mokotow

PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I felt a bit of a loser doing EFL (which I did for a very long time), but that is my own personal viewpoint based on the fact that I knew I should have been doing something else, which I am now finally doing (again).

So the question to the OP is how many people like me are in EFL?

I would suspect quite a lot because of the escapist nature of travel which is central to EFL. I do believe EFL can be a respected career...but I am trying to raise what is in the eye of the beholder here...and how that is passed on to others.

There was a famous article about TEFL (in Italy) in a British newspaper a few years back which, if I remember correctly, ended with the line "everyone (in TEFL) is a failed someone else". That certainly fitted me when I was doing it...by my own omission.

Now I know some won't believe me, but despite this, I think I was still a good teacher, simply because I have a strong work ethic.
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TeacherTim



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 60
Location: Deep undercover

PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's no need to be bitter about teaching EFL. I started at the bottom and worked up. Getting the right qualifications and experience are keys to a successful/fruitful career regardless of whatever it might be.

I was a lecturer prior to teaching EFL and now I'm earning four times what I took home in those days.I might not have a career like back home but you should see my swimming pool. Smile

In other words life is what you make it. If it isn't working, change it.
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MuscatGary



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 647
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 4:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me the short hours and high pay in the ME have allowed me to pursue my goal of writing. The result? 'Travelling teaching and tippling in Paris: the life of a tefl teacher' will be published before the summer whilst the much harder hitting 'Hookers and Hypocrites: an ex-pats view of life in the Middle East' will be later this year.
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 8921
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those sounds like interesting books!
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MuscatGary



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 647
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

naturegirl321 wrote:
Those sounds like interesting books!


Yours to buy and enjoy very soon!
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kurtz



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 393
Location: off the radar

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MuscatGary wrote:
For me the short hours and high pay in the ME have allowed me to pursue my goal of writing. The result? 'Travelling teaching and tippling in Paris: the life of a tefl teacher' will be published before the summer whilst the much harder hitting 'Hookers and Hypocrites: an ex-pats view of life in the Middle East' will be later this year.


Interesting. Perhaps beats the trials and tribulations of working with a dishonest hagwon owner in South Korea, which some muppet convinced a publisher to print. Heck, from all the characters I've met, I think I've got a bestseller up my sleeve!
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Hod



Joined: 28 Apr 2003
Posts: 915
Location: Home

PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnslat wrote:
Getting the right qualifications is essential, though. You don't want to end up with little in the bank at the end of your career.


Dear John

That’s my concern about TEFLers. Based on previous threads on the subject, far too many TEFLers live from pay cheque to pay check, which means zero future financial planning and a very poor retirement.

johnslat wrote:
To my mind, being a "loser" is spending your life working at a job you don't like, so you can retire and sit around wondering what the point of it all was.


Fair point, but any job will be enjoyable with the right mindset, just as teaching can be hell for the gloomy pessimist. Either way, I’d rather have the option to retire and sit around than be financially obliged to continue working when I feel too old and possibly infirm to do so.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12296
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Hod,

At 71, I'm still teaching (ESL at the local community college, 15 hours a week), but only because I want to, not at all because I have to.

I really am having too much fun. Very Happy

Regards,
John
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Hod



Joined: 28 Apr 2003
Posts: 915
Location: Home

PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

johnslat wrote:
Dear Hod,

At 71, I'm still teaching (ESL at the local community college, 15 hours a week), but only because I want to, not at all because I have to.

I really am having too much fun. Very Happy

Regards,
John


Dear John

Curses. You have yet again taken advantage of my polite nature. I knew full well, but was too polite to mention, your age. It's with great fortune, although you've no doubt made a lot of your own luck, that at 71 years young, you enjoy teaching and fair play to you and your students.

You have to admit, though, that a lot of septuagenarians couldn’t do what you do, or even spell septuagenarian (I had to find my dictionary).

You’ve also mentioned you do it because you want to, but what about those who no longer want to teach? You have to admit it’s a nice position to be in to teach because you want to? What about those who have had enough?

Regards

Hod
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 864

PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But that's not special to TEFL. In the UK it's pretty much the norm to expect to be reliant on the state pension (either entirely or as a top up for an inadequate private pension). Retirement age is already 68 and is likely to hit 70 in the foreseeable future. There's no reason why a TEFLer from the UK can't pay their voluntary basic stamp and have that option, the same as if they'd stayed in the UK.

Not that I would call retiring on less than £6,000/yr a great idea, but plenty of people seem happy enough to try. And TEFLers could potentially have more options to retire abroad to somewhere cheaper than the UK.
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likwid_777



Joined: 04 Nov 2012
Posts: 184
Location: NA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most people consider ESL teachers to be losers, unless the ESL teachers are quite young and are on "gap year" or similar. The fact that most ESL teachers generally earn more than the average locals in country X, yet still manage to p*ss their entire salary up the wall, says something. In saying that, many don't realise that a lot of ESLers do want to "escape reality" in some way, shape or form. That is, not because they necessarily "have" to, but wish to. Such a mentality is not generally conducive to prioritising the hoarding of money for retirement. This is because:

A) Dreamers seeking an alternative reality are going to live forever

B) If dreamer dies at a younger age than expected, he or she will be content, having truly experienced more than his or her Occidental environment

Additionally, in the case of Americans, those GFC refugees who flooded the ESL industry cannot be blamed for dire unemployment levels back home. However, they can be thankful for possessing Colorful English as their native language. I think we have a mathematical equation here.
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