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Certified American Teacher Needs Your Advice (Where to Go)

 
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hampster



Joined: 29 May 2016
Posts: 7
Location: U.S.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:35 am    Post subject: Certified American Teacher Needs Your Advice (Where to Go) Reply with quote

Hi all,

I have 2 years teaching experience at an American high school teaching ESL. I moved to the UAE a few months ago to teach English, and I'm absolutely miserable. I'm looking to get out as soon as possible.

I have close to 50,000 USD in student loans to pay off, and I was wondering where you think I can earn at least $2,500 AFTER expenses per month to pay the loan off in 2 years.

Before I became a certified teacher, I posted on here about the best paying ESL jobs, and someone had mentioned university positions in China. Are these still widely available, and is the compensation still good?

Are there high paying positions in Russian-speaking countries (i.e. Central Asia or Eastern Europe)?

I prefer to teach university students or adults, but I am open to high school students. Also, I would like to avoid the Middle East if possible.
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nomad soul



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

PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You may end up taking a financial hit by exiting your UAE contract prematurely.

Anyway, since you hold licensure from the US, I suggest searching for job openings targeting licensed teachers for international schools in your desired regions/countries. (You'd best know if the culture is a good fit.) The better schools require a teaching qualification as well as relevant experience and education.

BTW, what is your specific license focus? ESL, bilingual education, English Language Arts... ?
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hampster



Joined: 29 May 2016
Posts: 7
Location: U.S.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:55 am    Post subject: ESL and English Arts and Reading Certified Reply with quote

Thanks for the response. I hold an American ESL license and English Arts/Reading (Grades 7-12).

I am that unhappy that I am willing to take a hit. My issue is I need about $2,500 per month AFTER expenses in order to pay off my student loans.
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nomad soul



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

PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hampster wrote:
I hold an American ESL license and English Arts/Reading (Grades 7-12).
....
My issue is I need about $2,500 per month AFTER expenses in order to pay off my student loans.

Your expectation of paying off $50,000 student loan debt in two years will limit you and may mean a compromise on living/work conditions (as you found out with the UAE). You might reconsider that financial goal for one that's more reasonable and attainable.

STEM subjects tend to be the highest paying -- ESL, not so much. Since you hold a license in ELA, that's likely your more marketable qualification because it would allow you to also teach the dependents of US expats in an IB or American-accredited private school. (I attended such a school at age 10 when my family was stationed in Taiwan.)

In addition to job ads for TESOL teachers, Google international school job sites for openings in ELA. Also check out International Schools Review, which focuses on teaching subject content rather than TESOL.
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hampster



Joined: 29 May 2016
Posts: 7
Location: U.S.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:43 am    Post subject: Willing to be Flexible Reply with quote

I'm willing to extend that 2 year goal into a 3 year one if I'm in a Russian-speaking region as I'm trying to learn the language.

I'm also open to staying past two years in Asia (i.e. China). I did a year in Taiwan and loved the culture, food, and attitude towards education.

If you were in my shoes, what would you do? (The Middle East is an absolute no-go for me).

Now if I'm set on paying off 50k USD in 24 months (willing to work summer language camps), what are my options? The China jobs I'm seeing seem to max out at 21,000 RMB (around $3,000 USD) before expenses.
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nomad soul



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

PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hampster wrote:
I'm willing to extend that 2 year goal into a 3 year one if I'm in a Russian-speaking region as I'm trying to learn the language.
....
If you were in my shoes, what would you do? (The Middle East is an absolute no-go for me).

Now if I'm set on paying off 50k USD in 24 months (willing to work summer language camps), what are my options?

Ironically, my teaching experience was entirely in the Mid East and included a high-paying contract with the US State Dept. Regardless, I personally wouldn't try to pay off a student loan debt of $50K in 2-3 years. For me, it's unrealistic. Student loans that high are usually paid down over a person's career.

The UAE has the highest number of English-medium international schools in the world. But you say you're miserable there.

Again, see my previous post about searching for TESOL and ELA positions to see what's out there in terms of salary and what your quals would net you. You may or may not find the level of pay you're seeking along with everything else on your wish list. You've set a financial goal that greatly limits your options.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11498
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm willing to extend that 2 year goal into a 3 year one if I'm in a Russian-speaking region as I'm trying to learn the language


Making 16,666 USD per year over and above living expenses teaching at university or high school level in any Russian-speaking region is unrealistic, unless you happened to get very lucky re: an international school position. And, as has already been pointed out, certification and experience in STEM subjects is far more sought-after for these rare positions than ESL or English Arts/Reading. These are subjects that are most often taught by qualified locals all over the European continent.

Your best bet is surely Asia.
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RedLightning



Joined: 08 Aug 2015
Posts: 118
Location: United States

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Make sure that the school/work environment is not the real issue you have as opposed to the region at large, because the Middle East is the only place you can realistically hope to pay off that student loan in 2-3 years.

If you're set on finding that elusive job somewhere else though, double check your resume and how it comes off. HR personnel sift through several applicants and if they see 'ESL' teacher, you may be deemed a backpacker and discarded. As you've already been told, you really need to market yourself as a certified Western teacher
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Scott in Incheon



Joined: 31 Aug 2004
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't forget the Hong Kong NET Scheme. It is a good job with good saving potential. Very competitive to get a job.

I worked in Hong Kong from 1998-2004.
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1st Sgt Welsh



Joined: 13 Dec 2010
Posts: 941
Location: Temburong, Brunei

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scott in Incheon wrote:
Don't forget the Hong Kong NET Scheme. It is a good job with good saving potential. Very competitive to get a job.

I worked in Hong Kong from 1998-2004.


Hi Scott,

I've been checking out the NET scheme as well. The conditions appear generous. However, I've heard that they really work you like a dog. However, that's only what I've heard third hand. I'm not afraid of hard work, but, yeah, work/life balance is an important consideration. I know you haven't been doing it for a while, but, do you have any thoughts on that? Thanks.
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Scott in Incheon



Joined: 31 Aug 2004
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I worked there, your working conditions depended almost entirely on your principal and the quality of school you were working at.

Teachers in the upper band (the good schools) English medium schools were working a lot harder than those in lower band Chinese medium school. There was a Band 1 English medium school next to my Band 5 (there are only three bands now) Chinese medium school. I was expected to do a lot less work than the teacher in the other school. i stayed 6 years while the band 1 school went through 3 or 4 teachers.

It might be more equal now, everyone working fairly hard, but it wasn't so when I started. I was there the first year the NET scheme started so schools weren't really sure how to use the NET's.

Even if you are 'working a lot', you still get fairly good holidays. Two long holidays (six weeks) a year plus all of the local holidays which there are quite a few.

The teaching used to be quick dull as you were simply preparing students for their HK exams....done in Form 5 and Form 7 (seven forms in all in HK schools).

You should head over to the HK forum as it is still active and just scroll through the posts. You will probably get more up to date information.

I saved up $180,000 (Can) over the 6 years I was there and there were people who saved more. You don't make as much now, as the starting salary has dropped but you still get increases each year, and I think they housing allowance is higher than before.

There was a teaching couple from Australia that were both on the top end of the pay scale making $12000 (Can) a month each. They spent 4 years in HK and returned to Aus to retire.
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1st Sgt Welsh



Joined: 13 Dec 2010
Posts: 941
Location: Temburong, Brunei

PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Scott. That's awesome!
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