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IF I had it to do over, I would not enter into ESL teaching.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 10902
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sammysez wrote:
I would not become an ESL teacher. Basically I'm eating my degree, because it's really not paying the bills like I thought.

You've taught for many years including stints in the Gulf, yet you're unable to pay your bills? You either have extravagant spending habits, made lousy financial or job choices, or you have ongoing obligations (e.g., dependents to support). Regardless, teaching abroad (or working in any profession, for that matter) is not a path to financial security unless you're willing to proactively up your game. Passively expecting external factors to always be in your favor doesn't cut it.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1525
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:17 pm    Post subject: erm Reply with quote

My take on it is this: When I left uni, I went to work as a trader for an investment bank in the City. It bored me shitless and quite honestly, I wasn't ready to work my ass off at 23. I had a mate in Mexiico, who had quit his maths degree to travel and on the way he picked up a CTEFLA. I got a postcard from him once describing a very chilled out existence and thought it sounded good, so I did a CTEFLA and off I went.

Partied my way through Eastern Europe in the mid-90s. Drank a lot of beer, did many shots and dated girls way out of my league. Never took any of my jobs seriously but then again, I don't consider language school gigs or uni gigs as serious jobs. Yep, I worked in a university department early on and was a Cambridge Assessor. I got cheated out of money at some point by every employer I had in Eastern Europe.

Son came along, life got real had to earn money. Applied for a job at QP on a whim in Doha and that lead to the chain of events that saw me spend 19 years in the oil and gas industry, in which I became a very accomplished Technical English teacher and materials writer. I just fell into it. The first couple of oil gigs were not challenging, so I developed myself in the oil and gas content field. I'm excellent at my job and pretty rare in my skill set. Financially, I'm safe until I die and I'm a few years under 50. No credit,, several dwellings, no worries and a happy, healthy family, second time round Smile.

Knowing what I know now and seeing what I've seen and experienced personally, I wouldn't choose this line of work if I could live my life again. Yeah, I lived free as a bird in my 20s when my uni pals were working their asses off but I think it's a pretty shit career option: Wages are crap for most people, it's a relationship killer, loneliness is apparent in most TEFLers you meet over a certain age, some just become hopeless piss heads or shameful sociopaths and when you go back home, no-one gives a shit about your endless tales of travel and your selfies. Meanwhile, you disconnect from people you really care about and eventually as you age, your priorities change and you reflect on your old employers and how you really could have done so much better careerwise. There are very few employers out there who respect TEFL teachers. Even the students have cottoned onto the fact that the locals teach you stuff and the native speakers are fun but teach you less.

TEFL as a career is a rudderless ship and is getting harder and harder to make a living in. As my Dad used to say;'It's a holiday job son. When you gonna grow up?'
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sammysez



Joined: 20 Nov 2016
Posts: 99

PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As my Dad used to say;'It's a holiday job son. When you gonna grow up?

I gotta remember that.

Thanks for the responses and of course, with any line of work you get a range of opinions and experiences.
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sammysez



Joined: 20 Nov 2016
Posts: 99

PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:39 pm    Post subject: Part-time in the U.S. for adult education Reply with quote

And most of it ends up PART-TIME employment as one employer described to me with "no benefits, no insurance benefits, no holiday pay, no sick pay, no prep time and no possibility of full-time employment."

And that was the document contract we had to sign for employment.

On top of this, the schools take the student's word over yours if you ask the students politely to stop talking or stay off their cellphones. I'm just expressing what I have experienced.
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GambateBingBangBOOM



Joined: 04 Nov 2003
Posts: 1994
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To make a career in English as a Second Language (in an English-speaking nation), most people want to teach in universities or colleges. For that you almost always need overseas experience and a masters degree in Applied Linguistics or TESOL.

If you have those things and cannot find a decent university or college ESL teaching job, then I think the most sensible thing to do (other than going into another line of work) is to go overseas and try to get a university job in an EFL environment. I've met people with PhDs in unrelated areas teaching at universities in Japan because they can't get a job in their field in their home country. Graduate degrees in liberal arts areas often don't pay off, financially. There just aren't that many tenured posts for people with PhDs in Art History or English Literature etc.

The opportunity cost of spending a long time in TEFL (or TESL for that matter) if you don't actually consider it your career can be steep if you want to go into another area. But that can be the same pretty much with anything.

For people here who have said they wouldn't do it again, what would you do instead? Are there jobs for people with a BA in a liberal arts area and nothing much else where you're from? There aren't where I'm from. The jobs available at that level seem to involve wearing a golf shirt and name tag.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15122
Location: Respice post te! Hominem te esse memento! Memento mori!

PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Train to be a driver on the subway. Or a plumber. Or anything.

Accept that your prospects of travel will be limited to whet you can pay for out of your earnings at home. Go abroad on vacations to places like Benidorm or Tijuana. Forget any opportunities to immerse yourselves in the life and culture of foreign lands. Learn to be ordinary.

i am glad that I lived the way I did and made all the mistakes that i made. Sometimes I got it right ! errare humanum est. I know no others who have lived and worked in Germany, the Land of the Bemba, Saudi, Bulgaria and now I am seeing life out on the island of St Blane. "i did it my way" as that corny old crooner sang.

i appreciate that opportunities may not be so great as they were in my youth which coincided with a growth in demand for educated native speakres to teach English, often in exotic locales.
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Yanklonigan



Joined: 23 Jan 2017
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was a Lecturer at an American University when I decided to go over to Japan for a one-year hitch. I was thirty-two years old and recently divorced so I wasn't ready to settle down. I thought a short jaunt was what the doctor ordered. My 'gap year' mutated into a decade long detour from reality and responsibilities. Now, 28 years later, I am an Associate Professor at a community college. I would have stayed the course in 1989 and focused exclusively upon my teaching life in my home country. I was the classic example of a 'run away.' This is all retrospective thinking of a 63 year old man. My worldview was radically different all those years ago. I don't believe I would have missed out on much if my rambles In Egypt, India, Argentina, Saudi Arabia or South Korea were deleted from my memory banks.
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suphanburi



Joined: 20 Mar 2014
Posts: 808

PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here, here!!

TEFL today is not what it was 20 years (or more) ago.

Back then you needed the guts to leave home and take the road less traveled, the ability to roll with it all and willingness to do without a lot of things (but what an adventure).

Today it is either one of: (1) a gap year exercise or (2) get professional and make an honest career out of it.

IF you are looking for the big bucks... then teaching has NEVER been the way to go. Get an MBA and cubicle on Wall Street if getting rich is the game plan.

IF you want a comfortable life with options then it is possible in TEFL but not on the bottom rung of the ladder. Move up or move out. Pick one.

.
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papuadn



Joined: 19 Sep 2016
Posts: 131

PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MOD EDIT TEFL today is not what it was 20 years (or more) ago. Thirty years ago (when I first started reading the ads at the back of TESOL Quarterly) the options were far fewer, and 10-20 years beyond that it was a cottage industry for Ivies because higher education was only available to an elite. Is anything the same 20 years ago? Ironically, not much has evolved in terms of method since 1990. Its enterprise has expanded and improved in many ways, outpaced only by how such improvement is touted.
Quote:
Back then you needed the guts to leave home and take the road less traveled, the ability to roll with it all and willingness to do without a lot of things (but what an adventure).
It still takes guts, and an ability to roll, but I don't think you can exaggerate the degree and magnitude of deprivation. (I couldn't agree more.) Scot47 was in KSA without air-conditioning. As well as Africa. To really know the "old days", Africa is still indescribably needful.
Quote:
Today it is either one of: (1) a gap year exercise or (2) get professional and make an honest career out of it.
I miss JohnSlat's definition of professional.

That said, many responses are somewhat dissonant with a pattern of, "Wasted many first years, but ...,... now own many ____ and _____. Most losers in the game will never do the same."
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15122
Location: Respice post te! Hominem te esse memento! Memento mori!

PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

deleted

Last edited by scot47 on Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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papuadn



Joined: 19 Sep 2016
Posts: 131

PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MOD EDIT

I could not agree more with what
suphanburi wrote:
IF you are looking for the big bucks... then teaching has NEVER been the way to go.
The same can be said of nursing, or even (surprising to many) architecture, but many will disregard salary averages when pursuing their exception. And our profession, with its component of residency in developing nations, bears as wide a range of salary as can be found (volunteer [zero] to specific industrial purposes, such as mineral extraction or your work with airlines).

I think many replies in this thread do accurately attest to a quantifiable trend spanning, say, some fifteen years, from when earnings relative to those back home, added to lower costs of living in the nations of residence, yielded a more substantial differential. How this difference is exploited by any individual (drink, vacation travel, or ambitions of becoming a rentier) is, in my view, irrelevant.

But as others have noted, in terms of the OP, motivations matter. A predominantly mercenary perspective is problematic in vocations with a social component. As Princess Leia said to Han Solo: If money is all you love, then that's what you'll receive. Whether the result is one of bounty or deprivation is one left to forces beyond our control Wink

Or to acknowledge a shared Vonnegut reference, So it goes.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15122
Location: Respice post te! Hominem te esse memento! Memento mori!

PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple of years ago my daughter was unemployed. I suggested that she go and get a job in Starbucks or similar. "That is not the sort of place where I want a job," was her riposte.

I should have pointed out that Saudi Arabia was not my dream location but I worked there for years to support her and her sister.
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Nicky_McG



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 185

PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Luckily, it led to some other teaching in my field but I wouldn't recommend it for more than two years and, even then, only if you're going to either learn another language or make some serious money (I don't even know if that's possible now).

I'd only recommend staying longer if you have a real passion for it which I never had. It still takes up about 30% of my professional life but I only do it for the money (it pays quite well where I am) and I'm seriously considering doing some further study in my field to get out of it.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15122
Location: Respice post te! Hominem te esse memento! Memento mori!

PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Serious money" is not there much. maybe a few residual jobs in the ME and some well-paying one in China.

Mainstream teaching in the Anglosphere pays better, but there is a terrible price to pay for that. It could be the road to insanity !
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sammysez



Joined: 20 Nov 2016
Posts: 99

PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:13 pm    Post subject: I was literally paid $14 an hour for my degree, "part-t Reply with quote

Part-time, no benefits, no "possibility" of full-time employment, no healthcare, no sick time, no prep time etc.. and on and on the contract went.....

Just posting the contents of the contract...
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