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Denizli or Kayseri
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ghost



Joined: 30 Jan 2003
Posts: 1332
Location: Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2003 3:42 pm    Post subject: Denizli or Kayseri Reply with quote

Hi folks,

I'm a certfied teacher, with several years teaching experience teaching both children and adults. Teaching in Britain and Canada, in the regular school system, was rather stressful, and I am looking to broaden my horizons overseas. I have already taught ESL in Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, and Brazil, and am now looking at the possibility of teaching in Turkey. I possess a B.A., B.Ed., M.A., and T.E.S.L. Certificate.

With this in mind, I would be interested in your opinions about opportunities at two different schools in Turkey.

1. The first position is for a teacher in Denizli. It is 120 hours a month. The owner is Sezai Aydin, and he claims to pay $900 U.S. for 110 hours a month, with fully furnished flat etc (free) and all bills. The advirtisement says the position involves teaching students from Universities and industries.

2. The second position is at TED Kayseri College, a private school (k-12) in Kayseri, Turkey. The head of the Dept. there is Ali Guldas. The pay there is 600 British sterling per month with half in Turkish and the other half in foreign currency. . There is also free accommodation.

Both positions involve filling out an application for a work permit, stamped by the TURKISH Embassy in your home country.

Advice, greatly appreciated. Thanks.


Last edited by ghost on Fri May 09, 2003 3:15 pm; edited 2 times in total
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El Gordo



Joined: 22 Apr 2003
Posts: 35
Location: Turkey

PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2003 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have a look at the comments from Yaramaz and myself on this board (TED Kayseri info).

Unless you have a degree and PGCE (or BEd) you cannot work legally as a teacher in Turkish K12 schools. Some schools are prepared to take you without the PGCE (BEd) but in that case you will be classed as a lab assistant and will not be allowed to give grades.

Do not fall into the trap of thinking that Turkish private schools will be like British private schools - i.e. good discipline, hard-working students and high academic standards. In my experience the opposite is true, and unless you have experience with children and really enjoy teaching them, the language school might be the better option for you.
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ghost



Joined: 30 Jan 2003
Posts: 1332
Location: Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2003 2:28 pm    Post subject: Teaching children in Turkey Reply with quote

Thank you, El Gordo, for the reply regarding teaching in Turkish schools.

I have a B.Ed. degree, by the way, so I 'qualify' to teach in Turkish K-12 schools.

However I want to make the right decision.

The benefits of teaching at TED Kayseri, as I see it, include decent pay, accommodation, and not too strenuous duties (24 contact hours), with, I believe, little class preparation...leaving the teacher (such as myself) the opportunity to get involved with other things...in my case, learning Turkish to a very good level (hopefully with one year of concentrated study). Do you think this is possible. Are there opportunities to take Turkish language classes in Kayseri?

Now, the factor that worries me is the one you touched on - namely, 'behaviour' by the students. It was interesting that you mentioned that Turkish Private school students are not disciplined etc.. and hard working as they would be in Britain.

Is the stress level really high teaching there? or is it just minor stuff?

How accountable are we as teachers in Turkey for getting the students to achieve a certain level in English? (Primary and High school).

Advice on selecting Primary division, or High school division?

Thanks for any advice
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El Gordo



Joined: 22 Apr 2003
Posts: 35
Location: Turkey

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2003 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some more comments:

Quote:
decent pay


Yes, and when I was there they always paid the due amount, and on time. I was able to save the GBP half and live comfortably, but not luxuriously, on the TRL half.

Quote:
accommodation


The accommodation left a lot to be desired in the late 90s, but according to Yaramaz it seems to be better now.

Quote:
not too strenuous duties (24 contact hours), with, I believe, little class preparation


Twenty-four hours is the normal teaching load in Turkish schools. TED, unlike some schools, did not insist on written plans for each lesson.

Quote:
in my case, learning Turkish to a very good level (hopefully with one year of concentrated study). Do you think this is possible. Are there opportunities to take Turkish language classes in Kayseri?


It is certainly possible to reach a reasonable standard in Turkish in one year. There is a language school in Kayseri offering Turkish for foreigners - or at least there was a few years ago. One of my colleagues enrolled, but after a month decided that he could teach himself just as well from a book.

Quote:
Is the stress level really high teaching there? or is it just minor stuff?


That depends on whether or not you are the sort of person who is prone to stress. I am not, and I am happy just to let it all wash over me. But in my years in Turkey I have known quite a few teachers to do a runner after the first month because they just could not cope.

Quote:
How accountable are we as teachers in Turkey for getting the students to achieve a certain level in English? (Primary and High school).


In most cases, not at all. The main English course will be taught by a Turkish teacher, and you will only be there for show, so that the school can say in its publicity material that it employs native speakers of English. You will not expected actually to teach them anything.

Quote:
Advice on selecting Primary division, or High school division?


After my experiences with High School at a place in Istanbul and at TED Kayseri, I swore I would never teach High School (other than Prep) again in Turkey, and I haven't. I always insist on Primary only, for reasons stated in an earlier post. There may be some native speakers who enjoy teaching High School, but I can honestly say I haven't met any so far!

Quote:
the factor that worries me is the one you touched on - namely, 'behaviour' by the students. It was interesting that you mentioned that Turkish Private school students are not disciplined etc.. and hard working as they would be in Britain


In sending their children to private schools, Turkish parents are paying not for education but for good grades. In the Turkish system, the more lessons per week you have with a class, the more your grades count, so you really should insist on having each class for at least three lessons per week. You should also insist on the right to set exams and give oral grades, and make sure you are given a grade-book. As you are a fully-qualified teacher, you are entitled to this and you will find that it makes your life a lot easier. If you are not permitted to give grades, your students will see your lessons as irrelevant and will not take you seriously.

In conclusion, if you feel you are up to it, by all means give TED a go. I think a K-12 is far preferable to a language school, as you will have the prestige of teaching in a 'proper' school and the assurance of a guaranteed salary every month.
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richard ame



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 319
Location: Republic of Turkey

PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2003 6:22 am    Post subject: High school or Primary? Reply with quote

Hi Ghost
I think that El Gordo picked up the main and most important points quite well,on balance I personally think the high school is the best choice if you have any intention of making any kind of career from this type of work the experience in a "real school" is going to pay dividends in the long run there is a lot to be said for having your own grade books and yes the kids will take your lessons more seriously,the only word of advice I would offer about working in private high schools as opposed to language schools is that appearances count it is important to look the part a good high school will have a dress code for the staff there are some people who work in them who think looking "cool" is more important ,they tend to have the most difficult time discipline wise with their students although El Gordo mentioned that you were there for show and not to take the lessons too seriously that doesn't mean you should forget about being professional ,what ever you choose good luck .
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ghost



Joined: 30 Jan 2003
Posts: 1332
Location: Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2003 2:57 pm    Post subject: Thanks for the replies Reply with quote

Thank you 'El Gordo' and "Ame" for the replies re. TED Kayseri.

By the way, 'El Gordo' - why do you choose such an uncomplimentary nickname (the 'fat one" in Spanish)?..just curious? In most places advertising oneself as obese does not present any advantages, I would think?

Interesting comments, El Gordo, about the foreign teachers only being there for 'show' at TED Kayseri.

What happens, El Gordo, in the worst case scenario, that a foreign teacher does not cope well at the school? Will he/she still be able to retrieve their passport and teach somewhere else in Turkey, or is there some sort of centralized tracking system?

I am interested in teaching in a k-12 school, but fear the ramifications of a binding contract...how flexible is it? Can the teacher resign with adequate notice?

El Gordo, have you taught in any other countries in K-12 schools? I am thinking about Spain, because I possess fluent Spanish, and the culture is one that is similar to my own.

Thanks for the comments everyone. Decision time soon...!
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El Gordo



Joined: 22 Apr 2003
Posts: 35
Location: Turkey

PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2003 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
'El Gordo' - why do you choose such an uncomplimentary nickname (the 'fat one" in Spanish)?


Because I am fat! In fact, in Middle Eastern cultures being somewhat rotund is often seen as a sign of wealth and prosperity. When a Turk asks me "Kilonuz kaç?" (What is your weight?) - and I get this question several times a week from children and adults alike - my reply of "140 Kg." almost invariably brings forth a "Maasallah" (as God willed) from my awe-struck questioner!


Quote:
Will he/she still be able to retrieve their passport and teach somewhere else in Turkey, or is there some sort of centralized tracking system?


Turkish schools do not retain your passport and, as I said in my previous post, it is not uncommon for foreign teachers to decide after a month or two that the job is not to their liking and to take a pre-dawn taxi ride to the nearest BA or THY check-in desk on the day after payday! This is not a course of action I would recommend if you think you might want to work in Turkey again at some future date, for the following reasons:

(i) The work visa which you will obtain from the Turkish Embassy in London (or wherever) will be valid for work only in the school with which you contracted. You must produce the contract when applying for the visa and while the name of the school is not marked on the actual visa in your passport, a record is kept (obviously) at the ministry in Ankara. To use that visa to work for a different employer would be totally illegal.

(ii) If the school were to discover that having walked out on them you were working elsewhere in Turkey, they would probably bring a civil action against you for breach of contract. Many schools have a clause in their contract whereby you agree to pay some exorbitant sum - as much as USD 10000 in some cases - if you leave without permission before the end of the year.

(iii) If you are teaching in a K-12 school in Turkey and want to change schools, you need a certificate from your present school to say that you have fulfilled all your duties under your contract. Also, it is highly likely that your prospective new employer would contact your present school for a reference. The only way around this would be to falsify your CV to make it appear that you were coming to Turkey for the first time, but they would still rumble you as soon as you applied for the new work visa.

But I really feel there should be no need ever to behave in this irresponsible way. If a person is really unhappy and feels s/he can no longer cope, all s/he has to do is talk the matter over with the Head of English or Principal and, if necessary, request permission to terminate the contract. I have taught in seven different schools in Turkey and in all cases have found the HoDs and Principals approachable and understanding people. It is not in any school's interest to force an unhappy, depressed foreign teacher to stay against his/her will and, believe me, they would much rather you told them of your problems and gave them the opportunity to help you to solve them, than do a runner and leave them with the headache of redoing the timetable.

Quote:
Can the teacher resign with adequate notice?


No, you cannot just give a month's notice, as you can in Greece for example, and the terms of the contract will make this clear. You are expected to last for the academic year and will be permitted to terminate early only in exceptional circumstances, e.g. family problems at home, ill health (which could be physical or mental).


Quote:
El Gordo, have you taught in any other countries in K-12 schools? I am thinking about Spain, because I possess fluent Spanish


Yes I have, including Spain, but that was many years ago in the Franco era, so any observations I might make would be of historical interest only since things have changed so much since then. As far as I know, state schools in Spain are more or less a closed shop to foreigners, but there are plenty of jobs advertised in international schools in Spain in the TES. Go to http://www.tesjobs.co.uk/rs6/cl.asp?action=browse_start
then click on Other / Overseas Appointments
With your BEd and fluent Spanish you would, of course, have no difficulty in getting a job teaching children in a language school, but I would advise against this if you want to earn a living wage. Spanish language schools do not provide accommodation.


Quote:
and the culture is one that is similar to my own


Yes, but what I like about Turkey is that it is sufficiently different from the UK to be interesting, but not so different that it is threatening or overwhelming. If you have some previous experience of living abroad and enjoy teaching children, you really have nothing to fear in coming to Turkey. The people who have serious problems tend to be those who have never lived abroad before, who do not like children or who are not really intersted in teaching and just want a free holiday. I don't think you fit into any of those categories, so my advice is to grasp the nettle and sign that contract!
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ghost



Joined: 30 Jan 2003
Posts: 1332
Location: Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2003 3:33 pm    Post subject: Visit the school before signing...possible? Reply with quote

El Gordo,

Thanks for the reply.

Is it possible for a prospective teacher to visit the school during the summer, and then sign the contract there...later going to Greece, for example, to have the papers done for the work permit?

Signing a contract without seeing a place does not seem very prudent...or can you guarantee that TED is really worth the effort to sign?

There are also several other TED schools throughout Turkey...how would a prospective teacher find out about those?...a place with a more temperate climate might be more pleasant...as I like to run, bike and play sports all year...and have visited the south coast from Antalya all the way to Antakya and the climate there in winter is generally not too bad?

If only TED Kayseri is advertising for foreign teachers, why do the other schools not do so? Is it because there is a large turnover of staff in Kayseri, or because the other schools do not use foreign staff?

How would you compare Turkey in general, with other countries with regard to this profession. Comparisons with the Far East, Middle East and Latin America?

What about moving up to teaching in Turkish Universities..? How should one go about applying for those jobs...and where do you think it is more interesting to work...Universities or K-12 schools such as TED Kayseri?

Is your Turkish fluent, El Gordo? If that is the case, perhaps you might tell me the method you used to learn/acquire the language? And how long did it take to become competent from a conversational standpoint? (3months, 6 months, one year?).

If I do spend time in a school in Turkey, one of the aims would be to learn the language to the best of my ability, and learn as much about the culture as possible. This would mean, spending most of my 'spare time' with Turks, rather than with expats....not that I want to be labelled as 'anti expat.' but I would rather spend my time with the locals...much more interesting and stimulating, for the limited time that I'll be there....

Thanks for all the interesting info...the rotund one!
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El Gordo



Joined: 22 Apr 2003
Posts: 35
Location: Turkey

PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2003 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Is it possible for a prospective teacher to visit the school during the summer


You probably wouldn't learn much about a school by visiting it in the summer holidays; all you would see would be classrooms and desks. It would, however, maybe give you the chance to see the accommodation and check that it is of a satisfactory standard. I have turned down two offers in the past because the accommodation was not up to scratch.

In recent years I have seen schools advertising for foreign staff as late as August, so it might be possible to find something at the last minute. However, there is no guarantee of this and if you have already had a firm offer, perhaps you should remember the proverb "A bird in the hand..."

Quote:
later going to Greece, for example, to have the papers done for the work permit?


I asked two people about this today and received two different answers - nothing unusual in Turkey! It certainly used to be the case that you could apply for the visa in Greece or Northern Cyprus, but some people now say that you have to get it in your own country. I suggest you ring the Turkish Embassy in London and learn the facts from the horse's mouth.

Quote:
Signing a contract without seeing a place does not seem very prudent


You are always taking a gamble by accepting a job in a place you've never seen, but the school is also taking a gamble by employing someone they've never seen! I don't know of any school in Turkey (or elsewhere) that will pay for you to come from abroad to attend an interview at the school, so unless you have sufficient means to get yourself there and support yourself for a few weeks, or months, you will just have to take the chance.

Quote:
There are also several other TED schools throughout Turkey...how would a prospective teacher find out about those?


TED Bursa were advertising earlier in the year, and I remember seeing an advertisement from TED Istanbul last summer. TED is an old and highly respected, non-profit making organisation and I think you will find them fair and honest in their dealings with foreign staff. You could try faxing your CV to their various schools, enquiring if they have any vacancies for next year.

Quote:
and have visited the south coast from Antalya all the way to Antakya and the climate there in winter is generally not too bad?


The weather on the south coast in winter is quite pleasant, a bit like spring in England. Two schools which advertise regularly for foreign staff are Çag Koleji in Tarsus and Antalya Koleji in Antalya.

Quote:
Comparisons with the Far East, Middle East and Latin America?


I have never been to the Far East or Latin America so I cannot comment. I suggest you have a look through the relevant boards at Dave's and post any queries about those countries there. Regarding the Middle East, if you want to get to know the locals and absorb the culture your best bet would be the countries of the Levant or North Africa (the latter not strictly speaking Middle East, but still Arab/Islamic). Unfortunately there are few jobs advertised in those places, and what there are tend to be very poorly paid. If you want to make big bucks, the Gulf is the place, but because of the structure of society there socialising with the local Arab population is difficult or impossible, except perhaps in Oman.

Quote:
What about moving up to teaching in Turkish Universities..? How should one go about applying for those jobs...and where do you think it is more interesting to work...Universities or K-12 schools such as TED Kayseri?


I have never worked in a Turkish university so I cannot comment from personal experience. In recent years, private universities have been sprouting up like mushrooms and the general concensus of opinion among foreign teachers is that they are best avoided: "The same wild animals as you get in Lise, a year or two older and just as obnoxious" as a colleague once put it. They advertise from time to time on the usual EFL sites, also in the TES and Guardian.


Quote:
Is your Turkish fluent, El Gordo? If that is the case, perhaps you might tell me the method you used to learn/acquire the language? And how long did it take to become competent from a conversational standpoint?


I can understand about 95% of what I read and hear, and I suppose I can speak reasonably fluently at a basic level but if I am asked my opinion on some political or social matter, for example, it takes me some time to find the words and arrange them in the correct order with the correct endings. By that time, the conversation has moved on to another topic!

My background is in classical and modern languages, so perhaps I found Turkish easier than some people do. Although Turkish is not related to any language which I had previously studied, I soon realised that it is wonderfully regular and logical, and the main difficulty was, and still is, the vocabulary. When I was at school we still learned our languages by the grammar and translation method, and this is the method I still prefer when teaching myself a new language. I like to know why a word has a particular ending, why it occupies a particular place in the sentence, and I become frustrated with some of these modern situation-based courses which do not offer adequate grammatical explanations. I started off my Turkish studies with Teach Yourself Turkish by Professor Geoffrey Lewis, a good, old-fashioned grammar-based course, and Hugo's Turkish in Three Months, then bought Türkçe Ögreniyoruz, Book One, by M. Hengirmen and N. Koç when I arrived in Turkey. If you prefer a more modern approach, you could try the new Teach Yourself Turkish by Asuman and David Pollard, and/or Colloquial Turkish by Ad Backus and Jeroen Aarssen. What's right for one person may not be right for another, so you should look around and sample various courses to see which one is right for you.

With regular, not necessarily intensive, study you should be able to get by at a basic level in everyday situations within two or three months. By the end of the year, you should be able to read a Turkish newspaper with the help of a dictionary, and to understand the general meaning of carefully enunciated Turkish such as you would hear on radio and TV news (well, on some channels anyway!). You will have ample opportunity to practise your Turkish with the non-English-speaking teachers, with the students outside lessons, with people you meet in shops, restaurants, etc. Turks are very curious and you will find they want to know all your business. Even complete strangers will ask you what we would consider very personal questions, and you will find yourself having to answer the same questions many times a day.

I hope you have found my comments helpful.
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yaramaz



Joined: 05 Mar 2003
Posts: 2345
Location: Not where I was before

PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2003 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been following your discussion for a while now, trying to figure out when to jump in... I'm the one who is currently working at TED Kayseri. I'm leaving for Istanbul at the end of term to teach at IH Suadiye. The reasons why I'm making this move (some would say it was a downward turn, career wise) are plenty: I miss teaching, for one. We don't have a textbook to work with here, and really, we have no purpose for our presence aside from being the ally to a few kids with imagination and curiosity, and of course to show the parents that TED teaches English with genuine yabancis. My classes have between 20-35 very noisy kids who mob me the instant I walk in the door, demanding 'game game game game!' and who often ignore any 'lesson' I try to present. It is not unusual for them to pretend not to have a pen or pencil or paper. It is not unusual for them to pretend to not understand a single word of English (esp. directions or discipline!). It is not unusual for them to crumple up a worksheet I give them or to make paper airplanes or to colour over all the text. It is not unusual for the older (ie grade Cool boys to comment rudely in Turkish about my body or sex life etc. I understand the high school boys do the same.
But you know what? It's an easy job! I used to teach ESL to small classes of teens and adults back in Canada and I used to panic every morning from the stress of filling 6 hours a day, every day with stimulating lessons and activities for the same 8-12 students for months on end. Here I have few if any responsibilities. No one expects the kids to actually learn anything concrete from me, and when they do, hooooray! I am saving between half and 3/4 of my salary, living comfortably, travelling often. There are lots of holidays. The flats are spacious with nice natural light. I think we have new furniture too, because it's not as spartan and rickety as others have said.
However, I am leaving. Of the four teachers who arrived in Sept., only one is staying on. The life expectancy of a yabanci teacher at TED is 1 or 2 years. I actually miss teaching. I miss having a point to my workday, aside from discipline. I want students who don't resist my efforts and do their damnedest to make activities flop. It's frustrating.
Good luck, whatever you do!
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richard ame



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 319
Location: Republic of Turkey

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2003 10:02 am    Post subject: T.E.D.or similar Reply with quote

Hi
My turn to jump in now ,a lot of what was said by the ex- T.E.D employee is I believe quite true ,having spent the last 7 yes SEVEN years at a large private high school in Izmir,when I say large I mean in excess of 5000 students ,it was a daily battle of wills and wits and how I survived is a story I will one day tell in a book . Yes the kids are awful most of the time but the few good ones for me at least made it worth while and yes they are here now with me in a PRİVATE university and yes they do all of the things mentioned and maybe one dayI will go somewhere else and teach as I would like to but for now I will stay cos' there a few who make it ok and after the high school it's a walk in the park . good luck
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ghost



Joined: 30 Jan 2003
Posts: 1332
Location: Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2003 2:59 pm    Post subject: A couple of questions for El Gordo Reply with quote

Guys,

Thanks for the info. about the TED schools.

El Gordo, you mentioned that there are other TED schools in Turkey. Where would I get the list of those places?

Why, also is only the Kayseri branch advertising? How do the other TED schools get their 'yabanci' staff, or do they not necessarily use foreigners?

It was interesting to read the comment of one teacher on this forum who mentioned that he was making a 'downslope career move' by going to teach at a place (I think a language school) in Istanbul. Does this mean, El Gordo, that teaching at a place like TED is as high as one can aim for in Turkey...that is for people, such as myself, with certified teacher status? BTW, I also possess an M.A. degree from a Univ. in the States.

El Gordo, I have visited Turkey twice (both times for 2 week long vacations) and was impressed by the incredible friendliness of most Turks I came into contact with...especially in towns/cities where there were few foreigners...I remember in Zonguldack (on the Black Sea coast) being showered with presents in my hotel room from people I had just met..in other places, as well, I was the recipient of very generous behaviour.

The one thing which I found sad in my travels, though, was the treatment I observed meted out to Kurdish street children in different places.

I recall, in Safranbolu, for example, speaking with some Kurdish street children, and offering them some bread, and being criticized by the locals for doing so...they told me that 'all Kurds are dirty (pis) and cannot be trusted' - well guess what, El Gordo, I accepted an invitation to a Kurdish house (or hovel, actually) on the outskirts of town, and was very well received, bringing tears to my eyes, for the efforts this impoverished family made to put forth a tasty little meal.

In Antalya, I witnessed Turkish policeman kicking and hitting Kurdish street children who tried to approach German tourists alighting from tourist buses....and the list goes on. These scenes, and others, saddened me no end.

Just speaking about the Kurdish issue in Turkey, with perfectly intelligent Turks appears to be a 'no no' and this is a sad state of affairs. But I digress from this thread. Any thoughts?

El Gordo, it seems that you have spent quite a few years in Turkey, and obviously being qualified to teach elsewhere, perhaps you might tell me what the reasons are for you to elect to stay in there?

As I see it, when looking at different locales, one has to draw up a list of pros and cons for each place. Perhaps you might be able to do this for the readers on this board?

How do most teachers spend their time in a place like Kayseri? I am not the drinking type. Are there gyms and sports clubs near the school (basketball, table tennis, etc...). What about options to go skiing?

How about buying English novels, etc...? I assume there are no English language bookstores in a place like Kayseri? Is it safe to have books and magazines sent by the normal post office from Britain and the U.S.A?

Also, lastly, despite the depreciation of the local currency, many people say they can save a lot of money at places like TED....does this mean that they are essentially spending very little, because everything is provided? Some people in Taiwan and Korea state that they save up to $1000 (U.S.)per month....would that be possible in Turkey, at a place like TED?

Many thanks.
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El Gordo



Joined: 22 Apr 2003
Posts: 35
Location: Turkey

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2003 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
El Gordo, you mentioned that there are other TED schools in Turkey. Where would I get the list of those places?


Go to www.ted.org.tr/index.asp , hover the mouse over OKULLAR and the drop-down menu has links to all TED schools. You should find contact fax numbers on each school's individual site. Unless they give a specific e-mail address for the Head of English, I suggest faxing.

Quote:
Why, also is only the Kayseri branch advertising? How do the other TED schools get their 'yabanci' staff, or do they not necessarily use foreigners?


I know that Istanbul and Bursa employ foreigners, as I have seen their advertisements. I don't know about the others. Bear in mind that not all private schools employ foreigners, and some of those that did no longer do. Why? Some of them concluded that foreigners were more trouble than they were worth, and some can no longer afford to employ and house them in the present economic climate. Contrary to popular belief, not all private schools are rolling in money.

Quote:
Does this mean, El Gordo, that teaching at a place like TED is as high as one can aim for in Turkey


No, but it might be a good start, in that it would give you an insight into the system which the students come through before entering university. Ultimately you could aim for one of the prestigious universities such as Istanbul Bogaziçi (Bosphoros).

Quote:
Just speaking about the Kurdish issue in Turkey, with perfectly intelligent Turks appears to be a 'no no' and this is a sad state of affairs.


The Kurdish issue is a definite no-no, and if you do go to Turkey you would be well advised not to express any opinion on any matter of domestic politics or any sensitive issue such as the military, the police, press freedom or Islamic fundamentalism. Your motto should be "Eyes and ears open, mouth shut." Foreign politics, however, should be a safe area, as should issues such as the environment, education and transport, providing you do not criticise or imply criticism of any governmental department or official. You never know who may be listening!

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perhaps you might tell me what the reasons are for you to elect to stay in there


I first came to Turkey in 1993, but have not been teaching here continuously since then. I had a year in Greece, a year in Abu Dhabi and for family reasons a year back in England. Why do I always return to Turkey? Well, I get a reasonable salary for what is, as Yaramaz says, an easy job with accommodation provided. At present I am saving about USD 700 a month, something I could not do if I were working in England and having to pay a mortgage / rent. At school there is nobody breathing down my neck, I am free to conduct my lessons as I wish and provided I cover the required syllabus (the "Yearly Plan" which in any case I draw up myself at the beginning of the year) the HoD and Principal are happy. Of course there are some classes I don't particularly look forward to going into, there are some pretty uncooperative and disruptive students, but it was thus in every school in which I have ever worked - in every country. I find, however, that the good experiences far outnumber the bad, and that is what makes it worthwhile. The good experiences include: the little gifts from the children on Teachers' Day; being offered crisps, biscuits and sweets by the students as I walk down the corridor at breaktimes; being invited to dinner by students' parents (this is officially frowned upon, but everybody turns a blind eye); getting a proper wet shave from a proper barber; being offered a seat and a glass of tea when I go into the local grocer's; eating tomatoes which taste like tomatoes, not the little mushy balls of acid which pass for tomatoes in England...

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one has to draw up a list of pros and cons for each place. Perhaps you might be able to do this for the readers on this board


Yes, perhaps I'll write something for the Job Information Journal when I have time.

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How do most teachers spend their time in a place like Kayseri? I am not the drinking type. Are there gyms and sports clubs near the school (basketball, table tennis, etc...). What about options to go skiing?


I am not the best person to comment on this, as I have never in my life darkened the threshold of a gym or sports club! Some schools have very well-equipped sports centres (e.g. Ar-El in Istanbul) but I don't know about TED. I can't recall seeing anything special but then I wasn't looking! The famous (at least in Turkey) ski-resort of Erciyes is near Kayseri, and I received many invitations to accompany students at weekends. I never went, so I cannot give you any more info.

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How about buying English novels, etc...?


Probably as easy as buying Turkish novels in Aviemore! Even if they were available, they would be frightfully expensive, judging by what they cost in Istanbul. To be on the safe side you could have them sent by registered mail.

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Some people in Taiwan and Korea state that they save up to $1000 (U.S.)per month....would that be possible in Turkey, at a place like TED


Not at TED it wouldn't - the salary is only about USD 900. At TED you should be able to save the GBP half of your salary (GBP 300) and live on the TRL half. While prices in Turkey have increased in real terms (i.e.when converted to USD) over the past two years, they are still much cheaper than in the UK, and you should be able to live very well on USD 450 - 500, buying the best quality ingredients and cooking at home. Of course, if you want to eat out every night, or buy a lot of electronic equipment, or clothes from the fashion houses of Milan, you won't save very much! It all depends on the individual's lifestyle.
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ghost



Joined: 30 Jan 2003
Posts: 1332
Location: Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2003 2:45 pm    Post subject: How long can I wait before signing on the dotted line? Reply with quote

Thanks for the info. El Gordo.

If I enter into contact with a school, and they send me a sample contract, etc..how long would be reasonable before signing a contract?

I, like you, would prefer to wait to at least see the accommodation and speak with the Director before signing. Do you think it would be reasonable for a teacher to wait until July, before signing?

It would be of interest, El Gordo, for you to compare conditions in Greece with Turkey? From my own point of view, I found the Turks to be, in general, much more friendly and accommodating than the Greeks...

Many people say that Greek and Turkish cultures are similar, but I did not find this to be the case.

Were you able to learn Greek (modern) during the time you were there? Which country (Greece or Turkey) were the students better behaved and more diligent?

In which country did you prefer to live (Greece or Turkey)?

Thanks for providing the list of TED schools.

Perhaps, also, your good (overall) experiences in Turkey are to do with your willingness to immerse yourself in Turkish culture and the life there in general, including learning the language, which apparently you speak at a very proficient level. It is sad, when one sometimes sees foreign teachers make no effort to learn the language or other aspects of the host country.

A teacher who finishes work at 4pm at one of the TED schools still has a lot of time on her/his hands. How do most teachers at TED schools spend the rest of the day? How many hours do they spend (on average) correcting the students' exercise books and preparing the classes for the next day?

Do most of the teachers eat all their meals at the school, or do they also cook in the flats?

Can you have your own private t.v. hooked up to cable?

Just trying to get a picture of the general conditions there.

Thanks for the interesting comments you make.
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El Gordo



Joined: 22 Apr 2003
Posts: 35
Location: Turkey

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2003 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
If I enter into contact with a school, and they send me a sample contract, etc..how long would be reasonable before signing a contract?


I think you will find that they will want you to make a decision within days. Look at it from their point of view: what if they do agree to wait until July for your decision, then you decide not to accept? They will have to start the whole process again, during their holidays! Also, bear in mind that it can take as much as eight weeks for the preliminary approval to come from Ankara and for the work visa application to be processed, so by waiting until July you risk not being in possession of the visa for the start of term.

By all means make your feelings known to the school - it does no harm to ask - but don't be surprised if they want an immediate decision.

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It would be of interest, El Gordo, for you to compare conditions in Greece with Turkey? From my own point of view, I found the Turks to be, in general, much more friendly and accommodating than the Greeks


The working conditions in Turkey are far preferable to those in Greece. You would be working at a language school - as in Spain, state schools are a closed shop to foreigners - for a salary of around GBP 400, with accommodation provided. Since these schools ('frontisteria' in Greek) cater for schoolchildren, the working hours are usually 1600 - 2100, with some Saturday classes. I found I was bored during the day, and very hungry by the time I got home at night. Unlike in Turkey, no lunch is provided at the school so I found I had to eat out every lunchtime, as I didn't really feel like cooking two full meals a day at home. The cost of living in Greece is considerably higher than in Turkey - though still a bit cheaper than in the UK - so I was unable to save anything. In fact, I often had to draw on my savings in the UK to live comfortably. Also, Greek language schools do not pay your airfare.

I did not notice much difference between the Greeks and Turks; in fact, were it not for the different language and different religion, I often felt I could have been in Turkey. Admittedly I was in Western Thrace, which was under Turkish administration until the early 20th century, and there are examples of the Ottoman legacy everywhere you look, especially in the old parts of towns. Elsewhere in Greece, things are probably otherwise.

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Were you able to learn Greek (modern) during the time you were there? Which country (Greece or Turkey) were the students better behaved and more diligent?


I had already dabbled in Modern Greek off and on over the years, and I found it fairly easy to reach a reasonable standard in a relatively short time.

The children were definitely better behaved in Greece, but I suspect this was because they were just too tired to misbehave after spending a day in regular school! Class sizes were only 10-12, so that helped too, as did the fact that we had to write weekly reports on each child for the parents (translated into Greek by the secretaries).

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In which country did you prefer to live (Greece or Turkey)?


That's difficult to answer. For conditions and pay, obviously Turkey. For the behaviour and attitude of the students, Greece. For the people, not much difference.

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It is sad, when one sometimes sees foreign teachers make no effort to learn the language or other aspects of the host country.


I totally agree. I had a colleague at a school in Istanbul who had been living in Turkey for 10 years and who prided himself on not being able to utter even a simple sentence in Turkish. It takes all sorts, I suppose.

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How do most teachers at TED schools spend the rest of the day?


I don't know what most teachers do (nor, indeed, do I much care!), but this is my afternoon/evening programme. After school, I generally walk downtown - often accompanied by students who live in that direction - to do my shopping for my evening meal. On my return to my flat, I prepare the food, put it on the stove, and read the (Turkish) paper while it is cooking. By about 1930 it is ready, just in time for me to watch the news on ATV as I am eating. At 2000 I switch over to Kanal 7 (a moderate Islamic channel) for a slightly different slant on the news as I am having my dessert and coffee. After washing the dishes, I go out for my hour's post-prandial perambulation, generally stopping off for a piece of baklava and a glass or two of tea in one of the many cake-shops I frequent. By the time I get back, it's bedtime.

It's essentially the same routine every day, with only slight variations. Not a very interesting life? Well, I'm happy and that's all that counts.

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How many hours do they spend (on average) correcting the students' exercise books and preparing the classes for the next day


Again, I don't know about the others, but in my case it is zero and zero! I have never believed in taking work home, and I have covered these course books so many times that I nearly know them by heart. I have two or three free lessons every day, and that's when I correct students' exercise-books. The only time I work at home is when I am preparing exams because then I like to concentrate, free of interruptions.

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Do most of the teachers eat all their meals at the school, or do they also cook in the flats?


Nearly all Turkish schools provide free lunches for staff (TED Kayseri made a small charge when I was there), and most teachers take advantage of this. As for the evening meal, I always cook my own but I know some people prefer to eat out. Only boarding schools will provide breakfast and dinner.

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Can you have your own private t.v. hooked up to cable?


In six of the seven schools at which I have taught, including TED Kayseri, a TV hooked up to cable has been provided free-of-charge in the flat. My present school also provides a (rather slow) computer in the flat with which I can connect to the internet.
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