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Real Newbie Questions

 
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escrime99



Joined: 14 Jan 2016
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 4:32 am    Post subject: Real Newbie Questions Reply with quote

I'm glad I found this forum!

My wife and I are looking at early retirement in the next two years. We have always dreamed of living abroad for extended periods and I'm considering teaching ESL as a way to accomplish this. I also enjoy teaching although I have never done it formally.

I have a BA degree (earned many years ago) and I'm considering an MA in ESL that I can complete online. I am only looking at reputable and accredited schools. My thinking here is that an MA from an American University is preferable to a certificate program and will help if I also want to teach ESL here in America. That said, I have a few questions:

- I will be at least 60 years old when I retire and have earned the MA. What are the job prospects for an older teacher? Especially an older new teacher? Are some markets closed to older teachers?

- Is there and upper age limit for teaching (i.e., something like forced retirement for pilots)?

- I have read here that the EU is closed to non-EU residents. Both my wife and I have EU citizenship. Will this allow me to teach ESL in Europe? Will I need to establish residency or does EU citizenship suffice?

- Do you agree that a Masters degree is preferable to a certificate when teaching ESL? I guess what I'm asking is do employers really care? Would an MA in English with ESL certification be just as good?

Sorry for all the questions. Thank you in advance!
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11371
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You never mentioned if you expect to live completely off of your retirement pension or from whatever you earn teaching abroad or in the US.
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escrime99



Joined: 14 Jan 2016
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
You never mentioned if you expect to live completely off of your retirement pension or from whatever you earn abroad or in the US.


It is a good question and the answer is a combination of both. Looking at the cost of living in western Europe for example, we can only subsist off of our retirement income.
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Jmbf



Joined: 29 Jun 2014
Posts: 660

PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can search here on Dave's about topics related to teaching over the age of 60, I recall seeing a few recently. I personally think you will struggle. Many places will reject you straight out of the gate due to your age. Also, even with an MA, your lack of experience will make you suitable only for entry-level posts. And to be honest most entry-level ESL positions aren't a walk in the park. I certainly couldn't see myself in that position at 60!
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11371
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the US, look at current TESL job ads in your city to see what qualifications employers expect. Try TESOL.org and craigslist for postings.
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Xie Lin



Joined: 21 Oct 2011
Posts: 731

PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the café, escrime99!

While there is no widely enforced upper age limit for teachers, there are two limiting factors. The first is visa regulation. This varies by country, but a number of countries have an upper age limit for a visa that permits work, and for some countries, an initial visa in particular. (i.e., you may be able to continue working past a cutoff age, but you can't get a visa as a newcomer.) 55 to 65 is the range I have seen, with 60 probably the most common.

That's the legal consideration. The other difficulty comes from hiring preferences--ageism is alive and well and LEGAL in many, possibly most, countries. This is not insurmountable, however, and teachers in their sixties do get hired, although, again, this is much more of a challenge for a new teacher at this age than one with experience. Your chances are probably maximized in positions working with adult learners, particularly if you have business experience to call on. Another factor that could mitigate your age would be your retirement income, if it allows you, at least for a while, to work part-time, where there is often less competition (for perhaps less desirable jobs, with fewer benefits such as paid vacation time.)

While a solid MA should make you more competitive, if you go the online route, be sure that there are provisions for a supervised teaching practicum. Otherwise, you will benefit from a TEFL cert course to provide the observed TP. Also, note that some countries will not consider qualifications earned online for visa purposes, although these are primarily in the Middle East, where I believe your age and lack of experience will already prevent you from working.(Probably not where you meant by "living abroad," anyway!) Ecuador also places limitations on online work for visa purposes, but there you may qualify for a retirement visa, which permits work.

Do you have particular regions/countries in mind? There are a couple of recent threads on the General Latin America forum by a poster in his early sixties with some discussion of age and qualifications as I recall.

I don't know your timeline, but consider volunteering in your home community to get some ESL classroom exposure. Some community ESL programs will offer training for volunteers, and you may be able to gain some teaching experience that way.

.
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suphanburi



Joined: 20 Mar 2014
Posts: 891

PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 11:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Real Newbie Questions Reply with quote

escrime99 wrote:
That said, I have a few questions:

- I will be at least 60 years old when I retire and have earned the MA. What are the job prospects for an older teacher? Especially an older new teacher? Are some markets closed to older teachers?

- Is there and upper age limit for teaching (i.e., something like forced retirement for pilots)?

- I have read here that the EU is closed to non-EU residents. Both my wife and I have EU citizenship. Will this allow me to teach ESL in Europe? Will I need to establish residency or does EU citizenship suffice?

- Do you agree that a Masters degree is preferable to a certificate when teaching ESL? I guess what I'm asking is do employers really care? Would an MA in English with ESL certification be just as good?

Sorry for all the questions. Thank you in advance!


As mentioned above, 60 is past the cut-off age for visa issuance as a teacher in many countries (including most in Asia).
Ageism is also alive and well (and legal) in many other places.

An on-line MA (US or otherwise) won't do you any favors in many parts of the world. In some places any credential with any on-line components can be cause for rejection of the credential.

For entry level EFL jobs a TEFL cert is preferable to an MA.
The MA is largely theoretical while a TEFL (at least those that are classroom based) are far more practical in nature and usually include an observed practicum. An on-line TEFL is a waste of your time & money.

"Would an MA get you into an internationally accredited school?" = no.
If you want to go down that road then a Professional Teacher training program leading to licensure would be required.

For basic, entry level EFL you have what you need: a BA, a passport from one of the 6(7) anglophone countries and willingness to work abroad.
You'll probably need to get an FBI check done as well (often a visa requirement and/or employer for teacher applicants).

As an unlicensed teacher the bulk of opportunities will be in language centers / language academies working with kids after school and on weekends.

In Europe, I have been told, there is a larger demand for teachers to adult students.

.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11371
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 11:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Real Newbie Questions Reply with quote

A major consideration is the cost of an MA (approx. $18,000 on up) --- whether the financial investment is worth it based on your age (eligibility to work), retirement pension vs current debts, future medical expenses, and so on. It may be best to simply get a CELTA and focus on the countries where it (and zero experience) meet the requirement.
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Xie Lin



Joined: 21 Oct 2011
Posts: 731

PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2016 12:08 am    Post subject: Re: Real Newbie Questions Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
A major consideration is the cost of an MA (approx. $18,000 on up) --- whether the financial investment is worth it based on your age (eligibility to work), retirement pension vs current debts, future medical expenses, and so on. It may be best to simply get a CELTA and focus on the countries where it (and zero experience) meet the requirement.


This is a good point--the costs vs. benefits of an MA merit careful consideration.
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LH123



Joined: 13 Jun 2010
Posts: 59

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll focus on Europe here, so will assume no visa issues...

Quote:
- I will be at least 60 years old when I retire and have earned the MA. What are the job prospects for an older teacher? Especially an older new teacher? Are some markets closed to older teachers?
- Is there and upper age limit for teaching (i.e., something like forced retirement for pilots)?


Not officially, but employers - myself included, if I'm honest - may worry that a) your heart may not really be in it - this is just a means to retirement, b) younger classes will find it difficult to relate to you, and c) you are more likely to have or develop an acute illness. All of this said, people in their 60s do teach EFL in Europe; it's just that little bit more difficult for them.

Quote:
- I have read here that the EU is closed to non-EU residents. Both my wife and I have EU citizenship. Will this allow me to teach ESL in Europe? Will I need to establish residency or does EU citizenship suffice?


EU citizenship is all you really need - although there will doubtless be paperwork to do in whichever country you end up in. You will probably have to sign up for some kind of residency card, make arrangements for paying taxes, etc.. These are formalities, though.

Quote:
- Do you agree that a Masters degree is preferable to a certificate when teaching ESL? I guess what I'm asking is do employers really care? Would an MA in English with ESL certification be just as good?


I would prefer a CELTA to an online MA, because at least then I know that you actually have teaching experience. Both would be even better! The entry-level positions that you will be eligible for will nearly all ask for a CELTA as a pre-requisite, an MA comes later...

I don't know if it's on your radar, but Spain has a huge market for English teachers. Here, for instance, is a job in Barcelona for a native-English speaker, no experience required. The pay isn't great (E1,200 per month), but hey... Spain also has a big market for teaching adult professionals; your age might work in your favour for that market.
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plumpy nut



Joined: 12 Mar 2011
Posts: 1652

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's difficult to assess what you should do given the information you have given. Keep in mind that you're accredited online degree may be excellent, in Asia they're interested in teacher degrees they can post on information flyers or the internet and an online MA degree in their way of looking at things is going to stand out in the wrong way. Some places like the Gulf States won't acknowledge degrees that have even 1 credit hour that is online. The Saudis may be dumber than lizards, but they "think" online schools lower the quality of their already rock bottom education. Other than the Gulf states, the money is not so good, unless you're already on a stipend. The ESL situation is getting worse and worse with schools knowing that people are desperate to get out of the country and work in paradise or work for easy money, and doing as they please with teachers, including as mentioned before low wages getting lower. Is this the field you want to go into? If you already have a stipend then you can make it work otherwise, you will be disappointed.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11371
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

plumpy nut wrote:
Some places like the Gulf States won't acknowledge degrees that have even 1 credit hour that is online.

I seriously doubt that at age 60, the OP and his wife want to head to KSA to enjoy their retirement. Besides, he's already past recruitment age for positions in the Gulf.
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Hod



Joined: 28 Apr 2003
Posts: 1613
Location: Home

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Real Newbie Questions Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
A major consideration is the cost of an MA (approx. $18,000 on up)


Just to sidetrack a minute, I think we may have some breaking news on the MA Vs CELTA debate.
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