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Newbie that could use some good advice

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Joined: 19 Apr 2003
Posts: 1
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2003 8:58 pm    Post subject: Newbie that could use some good advice Reply with quote

As it says I'm a newbie or will be this time next year, as soon as I finish College, and hopefully get my University Degree as well. So I will give you my story and then I would appreciate any and all comments with respects to my queries. So I'm a 44 year old white male, single, finishing up his education after spending the past 12 years in the Canadian Navy. I've been to over 50 countries in my travels and have spent quite a bit of time in the Asian region, you'll notice I said Navy, one of the mistakes I made when I was younger was I got a few tattoos. Nothing Biker like but I have 3 on each arm and one small one on my chest, enough said.

Where is this going you ask, well I spent my last three years in the Navy teaching and I loved it, considered it the best part of my career, now that it's over I decided that I would give TESOL a try. I'm not a fresh face right out of school who hasn't been out of his own province let a lone the country. I have seen my share of poverty and the goings on in some of these countries but I still want to give it my best, I have been back to one in fact probably 18 times in the past 10 years both with the Navy and on my own for vacation, in that I mean Thailand and that area of Asia.

So hurry up and ask the question already, well here it is. Given the above facts, especially the one about my tattoos, I would like to hear back from any and all with there imput to teaching abroad. I've been following Daves ESL Cafe now for a couple of year ever since I first heard about it and I guess in some way that has also steered me towards this choice. However as with anything else there seems to be a lot of horror stories posted, now I know you can't believe everything you read and only half of what you see, but any feed back would be appreciated.

I do want to make this work, and unlike some others I take my studies seriously and I really care about the people I teach. I've been told by almost every class I taught in the Navy I was the best Instructor they ever had and my students grades reflected that to a great extent.

Jamie Armsworthy CD

Thanks for your time I can be reached at the following e-mail address

[email protected] or you can try [email protected]
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Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Posts: 69
Location: Thailand

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2003 9:05 pm    Post subject: go for it! Reply with quote

Well Jamie - to me it seems like you have a big plus in your favour and that's your attitude. Keep up this positive approach and you'll do ok. Don't worry about the "tats" - wear a long sleeved shirt to work. If you like Thailand, there are many jobs around but they are not highly paid but ok by local standards.
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Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 256
Location: Taipei, TAIWAN

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2003 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it's Japan, I'd keep your tats covered up and just not say anything to anyone about them in an interview. Don't be put yourself out too much about that.

For example, when I was at the gym, the staff would come running up to foreigners asking them to cover up their tatoos.

If it's Taiwan - No problem!

Lots of tatoos here and the Chinese seem to be relaxed about the whole thing.

Thailand - No problem as you most likely already know.

I don't think you'll have any problems in Korea either.

The Japanese seem to be the most sensitive about it.

Your EFL experience, in any country, will be determined by your employer, I beleive. If you get treated fairly by your employer you'll have a great time. And this is possible. But in EFL, chances are that you'll end up with an employer that will try to take advantage of you if they can.

You can get some good positions and most often than not they're not advertised.

I find that I don't like the big chain language schools like HESS/NOVA/Berltiz/GLOBAL VILLAGE KOJEN/GABA/ECC/AEON/SHANE/GEOS

That might be like being in the military for you again if you go and work for one of these companies! Ha, aha, haa!!

Seriously, you might do all right in one of these companies but I find them to be very controlling and I don't like the type of people that invariably seem to gravitate towards the "head teacher' positions in these large companies.

I also don't like their agressive sales tactics they use on the students.

Good luck in your job search!
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Joined: 19 Jan 2003
Posts: 9138

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2003 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do not know if it would be a problem in China except that in southern China, tattoos are, legitimately, associated with triad gangsterism.
Not that Chinese think Americans adopted this from their country...
BUt I would not show off any tattoos and swagger!
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer

Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2003 5:16 am    Post subject: "go for it", Jamie Reply with quote

Dear Sushiguy (a.k.a. Jamie):

In your first paragraph, you said, "... hopefully get my university degree." Maybe you were just being modest, but my first and most important advice would be this: FINISH your degree, no matter what it takes. With it, you will have so many more options.

As Omar805 already stated, having a good attitude is half the battle. Cool

With your extensive travel experience, some time already spent in a teaching environment, a university degree and a good attitude, I have no doubts that you will find what you're looking for and enjoy your new career in EFL.

As others have already mentioned; I wouldn't worry too much about a few tatoos. If it really makes you feel uncomfortable, there are several techniques that can be used to remove them. (excision, laser surgery and derm-abrasion are the most common)

Personally speaking, as long as the tatoos aren't on your forehead, I'd 'pass' on the derm-abrasion. Razz

Good luck, Jamie!

PS: Here's a link that explains the various procedures and costs for removing tatoos:,13568,257095-4,00.html
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