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Any hope for a middle-aged Asian-American?
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Captain_Fil



Joined: 06 Jan 2011
Posts: 604
Location: California - the land of fruits and nuts

PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:57 pm    Post subject: Any hope for a middle-aged Asian-American? Reply with quote

What are my chances?

I believe TESOL would be the perfect career for me.

I love to travel and meet people. I also love the beauty of the English language and I think I would like to teach others the wonders of that language.

I hold a BA degree in Liberal Studies from San Francisco State University. And I did some substitute teaching for a while at elementary schools.

However, there are two issues...

Race: I am an Asian-American. I was born in the Philippines and had emigrated to the United States when I was just three years of age. (Hence, my cute username -- Captain_Fil [Fil for Filipino]). But I have heard that whites are preferred as ESL teachers above other racial or ethnic groups. This may prove to be a difficult obstacle in my dream of becoming an ESL teacher.

Age: I'm in my mid-40's. ESL employers may prefer younger teachers.

Despite my national origin, my English is flawless. (In fact, it is the only language I know.) I speak without any Asian accent and I sound like an American. I also hold a US passport as a naturalized US citizen. I consider myself more of an American than an Asian (culturally, that is).

And despite my age, I feel young at heart. I am ready to take on any new challenges in life. (Of course, with age comes wisdom and maturity.)

So, what are my chances in achieving my career dreams?

Question
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tttompatz



Joined: 06 Mar 2010
Posts: 1951
Location: Talibon, Bohol, Philippines

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:08 am    Post subject: Re: Any hope for a middle-aged Asian-American? Reply with quote

Captain_Fil wrote:
What are my chances?

I believe TESOL would be the perfect career for me.

I love to travel and meet people. I also love the beauty of the English language and I think I would like to teach others the wonders of that language.

I hold a BA degree in Liberal Studies from San Francisco State University. And I did some substitute teaching for a while at elementary schools.

However, there are two issues...

Race: I am an Asian-American. I was born in the Philippines and had emigrated to the United States when I was just three years of age. (Hence, my cute username -- Captain_Fil [Fil for Filipino]). But I have heard that whites are preferred as ESL teachers above other racial or ethnic groups. This may prove to be a difficult obstacle in my dream of becoming an ESL teacher.

Age: I'm in my mid-40's. ESL employers may prefer younger teachers.

Despite my national origin, my English is flawless. (In fact, it is the only language I know.) I speak without any Asian accent and I sound like an American. I also hold a US passport as a naturalized US citizen. I consider myself more of an American than an Asian (culturally, that is).

And despite my age, I feel young at heart. I am ready to take on any new challenges in life. (Of course, with age comes wisdom and maturity.)

So, what are my chances in achieving my career dreams?

Question


You will encounter some racism in Asia because you are of Asian decent.
I don't think there will be as much of a problem in Mexico, Central or South America. As an American, most of Europe is not open to you (visa issues).

Don't tell anyone you are originally from the Philippines (unless that is where you are planning to work - it is possible to reclaim dual citizenship and for you to work there but that is a topic for another thread).

For all intents and purposes, you are American. They won't know and don't need to know any different (and saying so WILL cost you (up to 50% in terms of pay if not cost you the job)).

There is some ageism but it is not that bad and there are many ESL teachers who are older than you.

You will start at the bottom of the ladder as an ESL teacher but if you are any good at it you will move up quickly (albeit by changing jobs/countries as you go).

Getting a recognized TESOL certification (120 hours with 6 hours of observed practicum with real students) will be a benefit to you.

Having the degree (and American passport) ensures that you will be able to work in ALL of Asia as a "Native speaker".

Your best bet for a quick hire would be China but you most likely won't be on the eastern seaboard or in Beijing.

Get your documents in order. It takes time and you will need (at a minimum):

Original (or university issued replacement) degree.
Official transcripts from your university.
Criminal background check (FBI is best but many countries will accept state level checks).
Do be aware that some countries will require additional authentication (an apostille) of your documents.

Start looking at the job boards and good luck.

.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't tell people you are Asian-American. Hyphenated attributes only confuse the wrong people. Just say you are American. Period.
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Captain_Fil



Joined: 06 Jan 2011
Posts: 604
Location: California - the land of fruits and nuts

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:11 am    Post subject: Re: Any hope for a middle-aged Asian-American? Reply with quote

tttompatz wrote:


You will encounter some racism in Asia because you are of Asian decent.
I don't think there will be as much of a problem in Mexico, Central or South America. As an American, most of Europe is not open to you (visa issues).

Don't tell anyone you are originally from the Philippines (unless that is where you are planning to work - it is possible to reclaim dual citizenship and for you to work there but that is a topic for another thread).

For all intents and purposes, you are American. They won't know and don't need to know any different (and saying so WILL cost you (up to 50% in terms of pay if not cost you the job)).

There is some ageism but it is not that bad and there are many ESL teachers who are older than you.

You will start at the bottom of the ladder as an ESL teacher but if you are any good at it you will move up quickly (albeit by changing jobs/countries as you go).

Getting a recognized TESOL certification (120 hours with 6 hours of observed practicum with real students) will be a benefit to you.

Having the degree (and American passport) ensures that you will be able to work in ALL of Asia as a "Native speaker".

Your best bet for a quick hire would be China but you most likely won't be on the eastern seaboard or in Beijing.

Get your documents in order. It takes time and you will need (at a minimum):

Original (or university issued replacement) degree.
Official transcripts from your university.
Criminal background check (FBI is best but many countries will accept state level checks).
Do be aware that some countries will require additional authentication (an apostille) of your documents.

Start looking at the job boards and good luck.

.


Thank you so much. You have given such priceless advice and information. If I should ever become an employed ESL teacher, I don't know how to repay you.

I am just speechless.

Anyway...

It is sad and ironic that Asians and Asian-Americans will encounter racial discrimination in Asia. Mad

But how will I be able to keep my ethnic identity a secret? Will I not have to reveal my place of birth when applying for an ESL job?
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tttompatz



Joined: 06 Mar 2010
Posts: 1951
Location: Talibon, Bohol, Philippines

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:24 am    Post subject: Re: Any hope for a middle-aged Asian-American? Reply with quote

Captain_Fil wrote:
Thank you so much. You have given such priceless advice and information. If I should ever become an employed ESL teacher, I don't know how to repay you.

I am just speechless.

Anyway...

It is sad and ironic that Asians and Asian-Americans will encounter racial discrimination in Asia. Mad

But how will I be able to keep my ethnic identity a secret? Will I not have to reveal my place of birth when applying for an ESL job?


Nope. the only thing they are concerned about is your country of passport and that is America. You are American and you are a native speaker.

(The exception would be if you decided to return and teach in the Philippines where you have more options than the average American has).

.
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Captain_Fil



Joined: 06 Jan 2011
Posts: 604
Location: California - the land of fruits and nuts

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Any hope for a middle-aged Asian-American? Reply with quote

tttompatz wrote:


Nope. the only thing they are concerned about is your country of passport and that is America. You are American and you are a native speaker.

(The exception would be if you decided to return and teach in the Philippines where you have more options than the average American has).

.


Just curious.

What defines a native speaker?

Can someone who was born in Asia (or a country where English is not the native language) be considered a native speaker?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9378
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If his/her parents are both native English speakers and English was the language of their home, the child is a native English speaker.

It used to be defined as 'mother tongue,' but this has gone a bit out of date as many bi-lingual couples use language other than the mother's in the home these days.
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 8962
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Race, might be an issue. BUt because you have a US passport, you should be ok. I worked with a woman with a Philipnes passport, she got 75% less pay.

I kind of look ASian/ Indian/ Latin and with my last name it makes me looks like a non native speaker. I-d had interviews where employers bring it up and have lost jobs becuase of it. IN my opinion, those employers aren-t worth working for.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Any hope for a middle-aged Asian-American? Reply with quote

Captain_Fil wrote:
It is sad and ironic that Asians and Asian-Americans will encounter racial discrimination in Asia.
Yes, it's ironic, but only if you have never traveled to other Asian countries. They don't all love each other. Heck, not all Americans love each other either.

Quote:
But how will I be able to keep my ethnic identity a secret? Will I not have to reveal my place of birth when applying for an ESL job?
Actually, you might, but the simple fact is you are not a Filipino according to your life experience and passport. Some employers may not see it that way, and they may learn you were born in the Philippines. Big deal. Now that you are mentally prepared for that eventuality, deal with it. Realize that you will have to explain to employers and convince them that you are American with an Asian-looking face. Nothing worse than that.

Quote:
But I have heard that whites are preferred as ESL teachers above other racial or ethnic groups.
Yeah, we caucasians outnumber the rest, but are you really going to let that stop you? In some places, they want Americans over Brits. Or vice versa. Nobody had a 100% monopoly on TEFL, though.

If you are qualified and have the right personality, you'll get hired by the employers who don't have narrow minds. I think that is a far greater number than you imagine.

Best of luck.
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smithrn1983



Joined: 23 Jul 2010
Posts: 320
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the issue here is that some schools like to hire people with white faces so they can put their picture on flyers and use them as advertising tools. The 'real' teaching, however, is done by local teachers, while the caucasians get stuck teaching conversation lessons.

On the other hand, there are loads of schools that hire native speakers who are, in fact, good teachers, and are hired on as such. For these schools, your place of birth and ethnicity will not matter much. You need to have been educated in an anglophone country to qualify as a native speaker, and if you can convince them you'd be a good teacher you'll be fine. They might be a bit shocked when you get off the plane, but as you were hired as a teacher and not a marketing tool, it won't matter.
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Captain_Fil



Joined: 06 Jan 2011
Posts: 604
Location: California - the land of fruits and nuts

PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:30 am    Post subject: Re: Any hope for a middle-aged Asian-American? Reply with quote

Glenski wrote:
Captain_Fil wrote:
It is sad and ironic that Asians and Asian-Americans will encounter racial discrimination in Asia.
Yes, it's ironic, but only if you have never traveled to other Asian countries. They don't all love each other. Heck, not all Americans love each other either.


Other than the Philippines, I have traveled to Taiwan. If I fly back to the Philippines this April (via Asiana Airlines), I will stop over in Seoul. True, Asians don't always like each other. Just look at history. The Japanese invaded China and Korea. The Chinese conquered Tibet. The Vietnamese attacked the Cambodians. And on and on.

Quote:
Yeah, we caucasians outnumber the rest, but are you really going to let that stop you? In some places, they want Americans over Brits. Or vice versa. Nobody had a 100% monopoly on TEFL, though.


Since English is a European language, it is automatically assumed that whites are more proficient English speakers. It's just like assuming that only Chinese speak Mandarin well. Of course, there are whites who speak Mandarin fluently.

Quote:
If you are qualified and have the right personality, you'll get hired by the employers who don't have narrow minds. I think that is a far greater number than you imagine.

Best of luck.


Thank you very much.

Smile
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Captain_Fil



Joined: 06 Jan 2011
Posts: 604
Location: California - the land of fruits and nuts

PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

naturegirl321 wrote:
Race, might be an issue. BUt because you have a US passport, you should be ok. I worked with a woman with a Philipnes passport, she got 75% less pay.

I kind of look ASian/ Indian/ Latin and with my last name it makes me looks like a non native speaker. I-d had interviews where employers bring it up and have lost jobs becuase of it. IN my opinion, those employers aren-t worth working for.


Will I have to provide a personal photo of myself to my prospective ESL employers?

My brown skin and almond-shaped eyes will reveal my true ethnic self and may thus affect the hiring process.
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1st Sgt Welsh



Joined: 13 Dec 2010
Posts: 536
Location: Salalah, Oman

PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Captain_Fil,

I have only taught ELF in Vietnam so I can't comment about elsewhere. Having said that I teach with a Singoporean (of Indian descent), two Asian Americans (both of Japanese descent), two Filipinos and plenty of local teachers. Only about half of the teachers at my school are caucasion so there are opportunities for non-whites out there. Also most of the non-white teachers are well over thirty Cool

But, to be honest, unfortunately, being of Asian descent will probably not do you any favours in regards to job hunting. But, as others have said, the fact that you are an American should be a plus. I knew a Filipino woman in Hanoi who was told flat-out during a job interview that the 'language mill' she was interviewing with would not offer her a full-time contract simply because she was not white. They did give her a part-time gig though. In Western countries this would be a law-suit waiting to happen, but over here there is no anti-discrimination legislation. I have heard quite a few stories like this.

I don't know if it is just my experience, but it seems to me that the lower the calibre of school, the more important the race of the teacher is. My school is a really good place to work and, as I've said, our teacher's room is a very diverse place. If anyone else has any perspectives on whether less quality schools = more discrimination, it would be interesting to hear from you.
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Captain_Fil



Joined: 06 Jan 2011
Posts: 604
Location: California - the land of fruits and nuts

PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1st Sgt Welsh wrote:
Hi Captain_Fil,

I have only taught ELF in Vietnam so I can't comment about elsewhere. Having said that I teach with a Singoporean (of Indian descent), two Asian Americans (both of Japanese descent), two Filipinos and plenty of local teachers. Only about half of the teachers at my school are caucasion so there are opportunities for non-whites out there. Also most of the non-white teachers are well over thirty Cool

But, to be honest, unfortunately, being of Asian descent will probably not do you any favours in regards to job hunting. But, as others have said, the fact that you are an American should be a plus. I knew a Filipino woman in Hanoi who was told flat-out during a job interview that the 'language mill' she was interviewing with would not offer her a full-time contract simply because she was not white. They did give her a part-time gig though. In Western countries this would be a law-suit waiting to happen, but over here there is no anti-discrimination legislation. I have heard quite a few stories like this.

I don't know if it is just my experience, but it seems to me that the lower the calibre of school, the more important the race of the teacher is. My school is a really good place to work and, as I've said, our teacher's room is a very diverse place. If anyone else has any perspectives on whether less quality schools = more discrimination, it would be interesting to hear from you.


Hello 1st Sgt Welsh,

I want to thank you for being so brutally honest. I can now plan my ESL career realistically and effectively.

It looks like I'll have to emphasize my American background and downplay my Asian heritage. At first, I'll naturally start from the bottom with modest pay. Gradually, I can move up the career ladder through more and more experience.

Despite the discrimination, there still seems to be plenty of opportunities out there for ESL teachers of all ethnicities.

My ESL path has become more clear.

Thank you so much for the truth.

CF
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 8962
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Captain_Fil wrote:
naturegirl321 wrote:
Race, might be an issue. BUt because you have a US passport, you should be ok. I worked with a woman with a Philipnes passport, she got 75% less pay.

I kind of look ASian/ Indian/ Latin and with my last name it makes me looks like a non native speaker. I-d had interviews where employers bring it up and have lost jobs becuase of it. IN my opinion, those employers aren-t worth working for.


Will I have to provide a personal photo of myself to my prospective ESL employers?

My brown skin and almond-shaped eyes will reveal my true ethnic self and may thus affect the hiring process.


Yes, many countries ask for photos. YOur employers will find out about you since your passport states where you were born. Just explain that you're American now and good employers will hire you. The shifty ones won't. But why would you want to work for them anyways ? Smile
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