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Already a teacher, do I still need TEFL or CELTA?
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willie fontaine



Joined: 04 Dec 2010
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 11:41 pm    Post subject: Already a teacher, do I still need TEFL or CELTA? Reply with quote

I have been looking at these boards for a while now, but haven't come across any postings that would answer my question(s).

I am currently a licensed language arts teacher in the states (four years experience), but am considering a move to teach in another country. I am interested in teaching in central or eastern Europe, maybe Krakow or Prague. I am aware of the saturation of EFL teachers in both cities, but I am curious about my qualifications.

I have a BA in Communications Studies and became certified (marked highly qualified) in language arts when I began my teaching career. I am 34 years old and teaching is my second career. However, I can not see myself doing anything else because I love my job. My first career was in film and television (an assistant director), so I use a lot of technology/media in the classroom.

Anyway, enough about me. I would like to know if I would need a CELTA or TEFL certification even though I am already a licensed teacher. Yes, I understand that teaching english as a foreign language is quite different than teaching english to native speakers. However, I teach in an inner city school (2nd most violent in the state!!) where most of the population is studying english as a second language. I have extensive ESL training through professional development and I am very comfortable speaking to and teaching non-native english speakers.

I am hoping to make the move at the end of this school year. If I do need CELTA or TEFL, I would have time to get certified over the summer before the hiring season begins. However, they are pretty expensive, and I don't need to explain the financial woes of teachers.

I appreciate any (serious) advice or comments.

Thanks
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TeresaLopez



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Posts: 601
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 12:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am also a certified teacher, and I think you still need some kind of TESL training. It also depends on where you want to go, and what kind of job you want to do. If you want to work in an International school, teaching content in English, then, no, you donīt need it. But if you want to teach just ESL, then I would recommend getting some kind of training, even if itīs not a job requirement, it will help you do a good job, especially if you want to teach adults. But, bear in mind, in most places, certified teachers make more money and have a better benefits package than an ESL teacher. There is also job satisfaction to consider. In many of the international schools the kids you get are spoiled brats, from rich families. I taught in 2 international schools in 2 different countries, and decided that I prefered teaching adults, so took a pretty big pay cut, but am far, far happier in terms of the work I do.
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smithrn1983



Joined: 23 Jul 2010
Posts: 320
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While you do have more experience than a number of the teachers in Prague (and probably Krakow), keep in mind that there are also a number of teachers in both cities with both a CELTA and years of teaching experience. So while it may not be a requirement, getting a CELTA does make you more competitive in this market.

However, being a licensed teacher in the States, and having some experience, you have the requirements to teach at international schools. You will likely be teaching English much as you teach it now, but the pay is definitely better, not to mention the hours. If I were in your place, this is the route I'd be looking to take.
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Chris Westergaard



Joined: 14 Mar 2006
Posts: 208
Location: Prague

PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can always give it a shot. You either know what you're doing or you don't. As a TEFL course provider, we get a lot of teachers that take the course and the skills learned and needed on the course and afterwards are much different than any other teaching subject.
However, if you can get a job, find a place to live, develop contacts without a TEFL and do a good job in your classes - go for it. You can always take a TEFL cert course later and you'll most likely get a better deal on one anyway if you come as a walk in.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9293
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also studied for a BEd in the long past and taught for a couple of years in US schools. TEFL is a VERY different animal (I've been teaching EFL for more than 12 years now and hold a related MA along with other related quals).

You mention 'extensive ESL training through professional development.' A more detailed description of this MAY get you by without a TEFL cert, particularly if your professional development in the ESL field included a significant amount of supervision of your actual teaching.
It's the practice teaching with feedback from experienced teacher trainers that is a key element of a CELTA or equivalent qualification.

You'll also want to describe approaches and methods you use in the classroom. Keep in mind that the biggest newbie market here is Business English, so issues like classroom management and motivation are very different to what you will have experienced in a US school under the university level.


I think part of what Chris is getting at is the difference between coming over to Prague (or whatever city), taking a cert course, and then looking for a job - or doing it all cold on your own.
The in-country cert courses are a helpful bridge into country/culture/job market. They usually handle logistics such as airport pickup, arrange for your accomodation during the course, offer local orientation, and probably survival local language classes. Your fellow trainees can form your first social connections, and a training centre can give you invaluable information regarding reputable local employers.

I agree that the international school route would be feasible in your case, but openings are pretty rare. It's certainly worth a search, though.

Good luck!
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willie fontaine



Joined: 04 Dec 2010
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your responses.

I have been looking at international schools, but like spiral said, those openings are few and far between. I'll keep trying though.

However, in the meantime, I would like to figure out another way. I would not be opposed to being an EFL teacher, though I have heard they are treated as "second class citizens" in a lot of places.

Spiral, I am observed twice each quarter at my school. Once by my principal and once by another teacher. Do you know if I could use these observations as the "feedback from experienced teachers"?

If so, would an online TEFL be worth it?

Also, would it be a good idea to provide reports or proof of student achievement in standardized testing?

Thanks again!!
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9293
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The standardised testing scores won't really be applicable to most of the business students you will have as a newbie in this region.

Your observation reports will help, but probably not really be considered equal to the supervision on an on-site course.
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cks



Joined: 12 Jul 2005
Posts: 144

PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are not going to be hired with an online TEFL course when there are plenty of competitors with an onsite TEFL. I have helped with the hiring process at schools in Prague, and if we do not see the word TEFL or CELTA on the CV, it goes straight to the trash can no matter what other credentials you may have. As Spiral stated, teaching ESL is a completely different animal.
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willie fontaine



Joined: 04 Dec 2010
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once again, thanks for the replies.

I'll start saving for a course. Now my next question would be, should I get certified here in the US or take a summer course in Prague, then start pounding the pavement and hope I find a job before my tourist visa runs out?

There is an Oxford Seminars TEFL course in the city I live. Does anyone know if that TEFL will be recognized in Prague (or any other central/eastern european country)?

I'll be coming over in March to visit some friends in Prague. If I already had my certification, could I start visiting schools in hope of finding the rare summer work or a position in the fall?

Thanks.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9293
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oxford (unless they've changed it) doesn't have practice teaching with real students - just peer trainees. This will put you at a disadvantage on the Prague job market.

It's a better idea to take a summer course in Prague, where you will have access to employers right away. You can also be sure that your cert will be recognised by local employers.

Sure, you could try to interview in March for a September start.
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mr tree



Joined: 09 Oct 2007
Posts: 112
Location: Prague, CzR

PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

do a quick search about Oxford Seminars here, they are evil, do not use them

March might be too early for interviews, but worth a shot i guess...
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willie fontaine



Joined: 04 Dec 2010
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, I have decided to do the CELTA at IH-Akcent. It's a lot of money, but seems to be the best option.

I am planning on taking a summer course, but I'm concerned about the dates. I am thinking about June 6 - July 1 or July 11 - August 5.

I am leaning more towards June 6 - July 11.

Would schools be open in July and August or looking for teachers for the fall during that time? I am trying to keep the whole visa in mind (US citizen).

Thanks!
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9293
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, I think the later dates would likely be better.
Europeans take the August holidays pretty seriously and you may not find too many employers around ready to interview and start filing paperwork for your visa until the end of the month - early Sept.

Remember your 90 day clock starts ticking as soon as you enter the zone, so you'll want to time your course to maximise the chances of landing employment right after your course if possible.
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willie fontaine



Joined: 04 Dec 2010
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought if I took the earlier dates, then I could find work and get my paperwork started before they go on holiday. Maybe I am overestimating the efficiency of how things work there.

If I don't find work until September and it takes 90 days to obtain a work permit, does that mean I can't start work there until November or December?
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smithrn1983



Joined: 23 Jul 2010
Posts: 320
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Legally you would not be able to work until November or December, but when I left two years ago schools would let teachers work while the visas were being processed.

As for course timing, I agree with Spiral. July and August are holiday months in CR, and you're best chance of finding a job will be late August/early September.
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