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Unrelated BA and no CELTA, fluent in Arabic. TEFL options?

 
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Am I crazy?
Yes
66%
 66%  [ 4 ]
No
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Maybe so
33%
 33%  [ 2 ]
Total Votes : 6

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ryanlogic



Joined: 04 Jan 2011
Posts: 101
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:36 pm    Post subject: Unrelated BA and no CELTA, fluent in Arabic. TEFL options? Reply with quote

I've been in and out of these forums for years, but I've never actually taken the plunge and switched to teaching English as a foreign language. However, I did end up overseas, and have been working fairly happily in Turkey for a number of years as an expat.

When life is tough, my flight response somehow always gravitates back towards TEFL. In general, I am highly interested in language learning, my primary interest being Arabic. I'm also kind of a late bloomer.. should have been doing all this stuff when I was 20, but I'm almost 30.

- I have bachelors degrees in International Studies, and Sociology.
- I taught history and social studies for a year in the US before winding up overseas.
- No MA (yet)
- No CELTA (yet)
- Dependant wife and kids in tow.

Things haven't been good in Turkey for a while, unfortunately... and I am finding it hard to compete in my current field (humanitarian and development program management), and things are looking a bit dead-end in my current post. I've been trying to find a better job for almost a year... I'm not getting any good offers.

I really need a change. Thus, I am considering spending most of my savings to study Arabic for 15 Months in a fully accredited institute in Jordan. I would be studying classical Arabic, but I already speak very basic Modern Standard and understand a LOT of the Syrian dialect. I am certain that completing the entire 15 month program would bring me up to a very high level of Arabic fluency. The course is worth 60 credit hours at the Undergraduate level, which combined with my current degrees would almost be the equivalent of another BA in Arabic.

I have some professional contacts in Jordan, and there are internships and volunteering opportunities available there that should help me avoid unsightly employment gaps on my resume... I THINK I should be able to pick up where I left off in terms of my current career path upon completing the program. I do think that professional Arabic competence will give me that competitive edge that I am currently lacking. Of course, nothing is guaranteed, and I am looking for potential back-up plans in the TEFL world (and elsewhere) because I don't want to have to show up in the states jobless without any savings.

Obviously it's hard to say how things will be in the Gulf states in a year and a half, but I am wondering how professional Arabic fluency may help offset the lack of CELTA, and MA?

Even if I couldn't score an ideal placement.. I would just need something to help me soften the hard landing, and keep me overseas in the event that I can't immediately re-enter my current field.

Also, if I do decide to pursue a masters degree in the near future, I am thinking a year or two of teaching English abroad, combined with the Arabic program I am thinking to attend will help me secure assistantships, research and other funding to help me offset the costs of the degree.

I have family and friends in Kuwait, so that would be my first choice... but I would be fine in Saudi, Oman, UAE, etc.

Any thoughts or opinions?
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11137
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ryanlogic wrote:
I am looking for potential back-up plans in the TEFL world (and elsewhere) because I don't want to have to show up in the states jobless without any savings.

Obviously it's hard to say how things will be in the Gulf states in a year and a half, but I am wondering how professional Arabic fluency may help offset the lack of CELTA, and MA?

Even if I couldn't score an ideal placement.. I would just need something to help me soften the hard landing, and keep me overseas in the event that I can't immediately re-enter my current field.

Also, if I do decide to pursue a masters degree in the near future, I am thinking a year or two of teaching English abroad, combined with the Arabic program I am thinking to attend will help me secure assistantships, research and other funding to help me offset the costs of the degree.

An unrelated BA, lack of a TEFL cert, zero experience, and basic proficiency in Arabic won't impress Gulf employers. For starters, employers are looking for teachers to use English only in the classroom, which is why you don't see Arabic listed as a requirement in job ads. Besides, there are plenty of Arabic-English bilingual speakers in the region -- some hold western or dual citizenship and are highly proficient in both languages, not to mention they have TESOL-related graduate degrees.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15266

PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For many employers and programme administrators, proficiency or fluency in Arabia will count AGAINST a would-be-teacher.

Increasingly in KSA it is not possible to send children to school using the education allowance alone. You need an extra income.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11137
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Take a look at Speaking Arabic, discussed on the Saudi forum.
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ryanlogic



Joined: 04 Jan 2011
Posts: 101
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:50 pm    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

Thank you all, I appreciate the perspective.
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Gulezar



Joined: 19 Jun 2007
Posts: 480

PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
ryanlogic wrote:
I am looking for potential back-up plans in the TEFL world (and elsewhere) because I don't want to have to show up in the states jobless without any savings.

Obviously it's hard to say how things will be in the Gulf states in a year and a half, but I am wondering how professional Arabic fluency may help offset the lack of CELTA, and MA?

Even if I couldn't score an ideal placement.. I would just need something to help me soften the hard landing, and keep me overseas in the event that I can't immediately re-enter my current field.

Also, if I do decide to pursue a masters degree in the near future, I am thinking a year or two of teaching English abroad, combined with the Arabic program I am thinking to attend will help me secure assistantships, research and other funding to help me offset the costs of the degree.

An unrelated BA, lack of a TEFL cert, zero experience, and basic proficiency in Arabic won't impress Gulf employers. For starters, employers are looking for teachers to use English only in the classroom, which is why you don't see Arabic listed as a requirement in job ads. Besides, there are plenty of Arabic-English bilingual speakers in the region -- some hold western or dual citizenship and are highly proficient in both languages, not to mention they have TESOL-related graduate degrees.


If you have a passion for learning Arabic, go for it, but it would probably not lead to teaching English in the Gulf or a fellowship. However, Arabic might lead to another profession.
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Gulezar



Joined: 19 Jun 2007
Posts: 480

PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:05 am    Post subject: Re: Unrelated BA and no CELTA, fluent in Arabic. TEFL option Reply with quote

ryanlogic wrote:
- I have bachelors degrees in International Studies, and Sociology.
- I taught history and social studies for a year in the US before winding up overseas.
- No MA (yet)a
- No CELTA (yet)
- Dependant wife and kids in tow.


I would say that you might consider getting an MA in Education with dual certification to teach History/Social Studies/Global Studies AND ESL. I know that it sounds like a lot of work, but your probably have many of the electives already. I would suggest finding a position as a History teacher in a small town town with easy access to a community college that has a teaching program. SUNY Oswego might work, and there are many other such options in the US.
https://www.oswego.edu/programs/tesol-teaching-english-speakers-other-languages-program
The small farming communities of Upstate New York might have teaching positions in History.

Utica, NY has a growing refugee community, but there are probably plenty of folks with Masters for the paying positions there. It all seems dependent on a job, of course, but one that gets you near a teacher's college.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11137
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ryanlogic wrote:
I am finding it hard to compete in my current field (humanitarian and development program management), and things are looking a bit dead-end in my current post. I've been trying to find a better job for almost a year... I'm not getting any good offers.
....
Of course, nothing is guaranteed, and I am looking for potential back-up plans in the TEFL world (and elsewhere) because I don't want to have to show up in the states jobless without any savings.

Why not contact that school you taught for in the US to see about working for them again? I recall you posted that they were willing to fund your MAT.

Another option is to check AMIDEAST for non-teaching positions at one of their MENA country offices or in their headquarters in Washington DC. However, the money may not be enough to support a family of four.

Otherwise, you might be able to get TEFL work in China with your current qualifications. That means putting your Arabic immersion plans on hold. But at least you'd be able to earn a living for your family and save a bit.

Sometimes life compels us to rethink our priorities and compromise.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11137
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BTW, if/when you're ready for grad school, look into a Master of Nonprofit Management (MNM) program. It's in line with your interest in humanitarian and development program management -- locally and globally, and would complement your international studies BA.
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