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What do ex-ESOL teachers do?
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Yorks Lad



Joined: 16 Aug 2009
Posts: 70
Location: England

PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:39 pm    Post subject: What do ex-ESOL teachers do? Reply with quote

I've been teaching abroad but am very keen to return to the UK. However, from looking at jobs websites, speaking to friends in the UK and reading these pages, it seems that there is almost nothing around. I've got a DELTA (and PGCE) but that doesn't seem to make a blind bit of difference.

As such, I've decided that I might need to make a career change. What do other ex-ESOL teachers do? (Already tried secondary school teaching and that's what made me go into ESOL so no going back there!) Surely we've got skills that must make us employable?

Any ideas?
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 146

PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 8:37 pm    Post subject: Re: What do ex-ESOL teachers do? Reply with quote

Yorks Lad wrote:
However, from looking at jobs websites, speaking to friends in the UK and reading these pages, it seems that there is almost nothing around. I've got a DELTA (and PGCE) but that doesn't seem to make a blind bit of difference.


It's grim in the UK. You're well-qualified and should in an ideal world be able to pick up some lucrative work. However, lucrative work is in short supply in the UK. The irony is that record numbers of international students are coming to the UK, especially from China, so the market should be yours for the picking. So what goes on then? Basically lucrative jobs used to exist in the tertiary sector for well-qualified TEFL teachers, but the growth of private companies that take over language centres attached to universities are the main cause of the current crisis. First, companies such as Study Group and INTO University Partnerships have driven down salaries, forcing many TEFLers to reapply for their current jobs at lower rates. Second, these private companies have a laissez faire attitude to who they hire. Delta-qualified teachers are often difficult and opinionated, so the private companies simply don't hire them, favouring teachers who tow the line. And the teachers that tow the line are usually drawn from the ranks of the vulnerable a la foreigners whose 2nd of 3rd language might be English, or native speakers who hold the basic qualifications, ie, a BA, but no CELTA. Third, these companies favour short-term contracts, which don't tie them down to a particular employee who might turn out to be incompetent or troublesome. If things don't work out, the company can just not renew their contract, and bring in new meat.

My advice is stay overseas. Things will only get worse here with the current government attempting to tighten visa regulations for international students. I'm currently working on a short-term contract, but beyond that I've been told they'll be nothing for me. I'm now applying for jobs overseas. I hope I get one, because if I don't, I'm looking at joining the ranks of the swelling dole queues . . .


Last edited by slapntickle on Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:10 am; edited 1 time in total
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1818

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Go abroad and work with some locals to start a language school. (I'm not joking; I'm doing it.)
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 11701
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Retire and live on Parish Relief. Now called Pension Credit. The catch is u hv to be 60 years old.

Last edited by scot47 on Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 146

PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Further to my post above, I would like to publish a list of universities in the UK that Study Group and INTO University Partnerships are partnered with. I do this to warn serious teflers to beware of these operations because they are nothing more than factories churning out an inferior 'product'. Sometimes their advertised hourly pay rates are quite reasonable, but once you start working for them, especially over the lucrative summer period when a 40+ hour work week becomes the norm, the attractive hourly rate becomes quite dismal. Here's the list:

Study Group work with:

University College Dublin
Heriot-Watt University
Keele University
Kingston University
University of Huddersfield
Lancaster University
University of Leicester
University of Lincoln
Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU)
Royal Holloway University of London
University of Stirling
University of Surrey
University of Sussex
Trinity College Dublin
University of Wales, Newport (Wales ISC)

http://www.studygroup.com/uni_partners//isc_universities_uk_and_europe.aspx

INTO University Partnerships work with:

University of East Anglia
University of Exeter
Newcastle University
Glasgow Caledonian University
University of Manchester
City University London
Queen's University Belfast
University of East Anglia, London
St George's University of London

http://www.into-corporate.com/en-gb/university-partners/uk-university-partners.aspx

I think that the universities that have had the integrity not to join these corporate cowboys in their joint ventures pay much better and don't work their teachers like Trojans. These maverick universities still retain their old school charm, whilst producing first-class research. Unfortunately jobs at these prestigious institutions are few and far between, so one is forced to look overseas for better options. I for one have got my eyes set on foreign shores . . .
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Yorks Lad



Joined: 16 Aug 2009
Posts: 70
Location: England

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, it's about 90 degrees here most days and the beach is twenty minutes away but staying abroad is not an option. I just want to walk over the Yorkshire hills with my dogs and go home to a log fire and a glass of red wine.

Seriously, have no TEFLers got any ideas for alternative careers? We must have lots of skills that employers need: organisation, planning, presentation skills, communication, working in multi-cultural environments, customer focus, adaptability, resourcefulness...

Not to mention being able to order beers in various languages, negotiate bizarre and often reckless foreign transport systems and refraining from punching the lights out of dim students....
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 146

PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yorks Lad wrote:
Well, it's about 90 degrees here most days and the beach is twenty minutes away but staying abroad is not an option. I just want to walk over the Yorkshire hills with my dogs and go home to a log fire and a glass of red wine.


Funny really but when I'm overseas I never fantasize about the UK, but when I'm in the UK I always fantasize about being overseas. I'm only in the UK to earn money to get me back on the plane and overseas once again . . .

Quote:
Seriously, have no TEFLers got any ideas for alternative careers? We must have lots of skills that employers need: organisation, planning, presentation skills, communication, working in multi-cultural environments, customer focus, adaptability, resourcefulness...

Not to mention being able to order beers in various languages, negotiate bizarre and often reckless foreign transport systems and refraining from punching the lights out of dim students....


This is all very well, but you're competing with others whose CV is fine-tuned to get these "alternative careers". But the bottom line is that there aren't any jobs. As noted above, it's all ad hoc, short-term contracts in the ESL sector, which is a nightmare because moving around or waiting around in the UK for the next gig can be very costly. At least going overseas allows you to work in a full-time permanent position, pay reasonable rents, and have a better quality of life.

Just to illustrate how bad things are, the Royal Mail advertised 18,000 jobs for the busy Christmas period, only to have 100,000 apply! The jobs pay around 5.95 per hour . . .
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desertdawg



Joined: 14 Jun 2010
Posts: 136

PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2011 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hate to repeat it but it's grim up north. And by the sound of things everywhere else too.

In the past I returned and got work as a trainer (mainly IT) with my transferable teaching skills. Another option is yoof work with the ability to hold back on the punches. However with the Gov cuts I imagine this is hard to come by. And perhaps not desirable after your secondary school experiences.

I have made several attempts to escape the TEFL world. All of them unsuccessful. But in my experience if I had been willing to take a substantial drop in earnings and standard of living and work a lot harder, then it might have been possible five or ten years ago. But as the previous poster has said, in the present economic climate there aint a lot going.

Doom and gloom, but good luck anyways. Please let the board know if you find the answer and we can return home for a decent pint after a nice walk.
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Perilla



Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Posts: 773
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 3:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Methinks it would be akin to a miracle if, given the current state of affairs, a TEFLer returned/went to the UK and found decent work, in or out of TEFL.

Old Blighted, as it's known these days. In fact, do poeple still work there? I wonder what they do ...
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 146

PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perilla wrote:
Methinks it would be akin to a miracle if, given the current state of affairs, a TEFLer returned/went to the UK and found decent work, in or out of TEFL.

Old Blighted, as it's known these days. In fact, do poeple still work there? I wonder what they do ...


It's not just getting a job in the UK that's the problem, but also looking for one. The exorbitant cost of living makes seeking work a very expensive proposition. Many of the cities outside London only have one or two universities/language schools, so really the only place to be is in London, which as we all know is very expensive. Before getting a job, one has to live, ie, eat, pay the rent, do the laundry, get from a to b, etc. One also has to look for work, ie, send out CVs, get online(or buy a computer), buy suitable attire for the interview(if you're lucky enough to get one), and top up the Oyster Card. If you're outta work and looking, Jobseeker's Allowance is often not enough to cover these costs; if you're living on savings, they too will soon dwindle after paying for basic needs. So, many are trapped in a Catch 22: You need money to look for work, but can't get any money because you're unemployed.

Sometimes it's a lot easier(and cheaper) to just get on a plane bound for SE Asia or South America or some other cheap location on a tourist visa and just look for something while you're there. Far more logical than forking up a king's ransom for food and rent and a nice haircut in London . . .
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Dedicated



Joined: 18 May 2007
Posts: 702
Location: UK

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

slapntickle,

Sorry, but I don't agree with you. There are about 300 institutions in the UCAS scheme including universities, colleges of Higher Education and Colleges of Further Education that offer H.E Courses, all requiring English
(EFL or EAP). For example, Birmingham has about 9 universities, Bristol area 15, Manchester 10, Liverpool 12 etc etc. You do not need to be in London. You can go to the nearest public library and surf the Internet free.

I cannot count the number of language schools.

If you are in receipt of benefits, such as Jobseeker's Allowance, your rent is paid. If you have to go for an interview, you can claim the travel costs. You can even claim for the cost of a suit.

This week on the Job Centre data base there are over 500,000 jobs available (yes, half a million) and over 2,000 apprenticeships in Tottenham alone, but nobody wants them. They prefer to claim benefits.
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Perilla



Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Posts: 773
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dedicated wrote:
slapntickle,

Sorry, but I don't agree with you. There are about 300 institutions in the UCAS scheme including universities, colleges of Higher Education and Colleges of Further Education that offer H.E Courses, all requiring English
(EFL or EAP). For example, Birmingham has about 9 universities, Bristol area 15, Manchester 10, Liverpool 12 etc etc. You do not need to be in London. You can go to the nearest public library and surf the Internet free.

I cannot count the number of language schools.

If you are in receipt of benefits, such as Jobseeker's Allowance, your rent is paid. If you have to go for an interview, you can claim the travel costs. You can even claim for the cost of a suit.

This week on the Job Centre data base there are over 500,000 jobs available (yes, half a million) and over 2,000 apprenticeships in Tottenham alone, but nobody wants them. They prefer to claim benefits.


Dedicated, your optimism is heartwarming. But I can't agree with you.

As has been copiously pointed out, most of the UCAS-sector ESL jobs have either gone to the dogs or, in the increasingly rare instances where the position is actually reasonable, the incumbent teacher hangs onto his/her position like grim death. There's no way for us outsiders to get a foot in the door of those few remaining decent jobs.

Private language schools? In the UK? Are you serious? Yes, there are many, and generally speaking McDonalds pays better.

500,000 jobs advertised in Job Centres? Oh please! Spindle polishing, bar work, care assistant, trainee sales staff ... a crock of @#&T
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 146

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dedicated wrote:
Sorry, but I don't agree with you. There are about 300 institutions in the UCAS scheme including universities, colleges of Higher Education and Colleges of Further Education that offer H.E Courses, all requiring English(EFL or EAP). For example, Birmingham has about 9 universities, Bristol area 15, Manchester 10, Liverpool 12 etc etc.


From what you write, it appears that you are employed. However, if you are an unemployed tefler, then the picture is quite different. You say that there are 100s of institutions that might give me a job. This couldn't be further from the truth. Currently universities are firing, not hiring. Government cuts are starting to bite and universities are having to raise their own funds, which means future cash-flows are uncertain. Further, those teflers that have been lucky enough to have fairly safe jobs are now living in a constant state of anxiety, wondering when the axe will fall and they too will join the dole queues. So, even though there are "300 institutions", there are no jobs to be had within these establishments.

Quote:
You do not need to be in London.


I think it's advantageous to be in London simply because there are more institutions and therefore a better chance of landing a job. Although having said this, the competition is cut-throat.

Quote:
You can go to the nearest public library and surf the Internet free.


Yes, but you need to get to the library first and then you need to wait hours to get to a machine. This costs in both money and time.

Quote:
I cannot count the number of language schools.


Language schools pay peanuts. You couldn't even pay the rent on a language school salary. Many pay under 10 . . . some as low as 7.

Quote:
If you are in receipt of benefits, such as Jobseeker's Allowance, your rent is paid. If you have to go for an interview, you can claim the travel costs. You can even claim for the cost of a suit.


Housing benefit will not necessarily cover the whole rent. It depends on your individual circumstances. JSA is only around 65 a week. Do the maths. Trying to live on this in London is impossible.

Quote:
This week on the Job Centre data base there are over 500,000 jobs available (yes, half a million) and over 2,000 apprenticeships in Tottenham alone, but nobody wants them. They prefer to claim benefits.


But what % of these jobs are we qualified to apply for? Do you think we are the only ones applying?
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Dedicated



Joined: 18 May 2007
Posts: 702
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
But what % of these jobs are we qualified to apply for?


I think this is the crux of the problem. There are thousands of people who have an unrelated BA and a 30 day CELTA, and there are hundreds being churned out as I write, which puts them at entry level, and entry level jobs for the virtually untrained and inexperienced don't pay well. You are classed as" unskilled labour", and language schools exploit this fact. Just as if you have a degree in Finance and Accounting, you cannot start as a bank manager, you start at the bottom.

If you want to make a lifelong career of EFL, it works the same as any other career. Get the proper qualifications. People start at entry level and unless they show professional development and more formal qualifications, then they stick at entry level. After 2 or 3 years overseas teaching at Chinese universities, or Korean hagwons, they return to the UK, and expect to waltz into something higher up the scale, and are unwilling to stay at entry level, but are unable to move up.

I work at a leading university(non-INTO) and help interview for pre-sessional teachers. This summer, there were about 30 applications for two EAP posts, all of whom had had some overseas experience. At interview, most didn't even know what EAP meant,let alone teach it, but because they had "taught" at a Chinese university, presumed that would be enough to teach overseas postgraduates in the UK. It was shocking. Most overseas experience, particularly "conversational English" is scarcely relevant to the UK university market.

If you have an MA, plus experience in materials design, examining, item writing for such as UCLES, then you can find work. Many posts are not advertised - just send your CV to the appropriate person, then you will be "on the books" and when they need maternity cover, you are ready to jump in.
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 146

PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
There are thousands of people who have an unrelated BA and a 30 day CELTA, and there are hundreds being churned out as I write, which puts them at entry level, and entry level jobs for the virtually untrained and inexperienced don't pay well. You are classed as" unskilled labour", and language schools exploit this fact. Just as if you have a degree in Finance and Accounting, you cannot start as a bank manager, you start at the bottom.


Your assumptions are simply incorrect. You assume that people who start at the bottom can and will become managers. Firstly, if you have a job in tefl, there is very little room to move up. Generally the only possibility is to get a DOS position, but as noted above, people are holding onto jobs(or losing them) so getting those positions if and when they become available is virtually impossible. Anyway, most jobs go to those on the inside and have gone before they are advertised.

Quote:
If you want to make a lifelong career of EFL, it works the same as any other career. Get the proper qualifications.


A lifelong career in EFL? Isn't that a contradiction in terms? Today there is no lifelong career . . . it is all short-term contracts. You of all people should know this if you've been interviewing for 6-week summer presessional courses.

Quote:
I work at a leading university(non-INTO) and help interview for pre-sessional teachers. This summer, there were about 30 applications for two EAP posts, all of whom had had some overseas experience. At interview, most didn't even know what EAP meant,let alone teach it, but because they had "taught" at a Chinese university, presumed that would be enough to teach overseas postgraduates in the UK. It was shocking. Most overseas experience, particularly "conversational English" is scarcely relevant to the UK university market.


I'm really surprised only 30 applied. Maybe the reason is that good tefl teachers are fed up with these short-term gigs and most are now permanently based overseas. All you're left with are the dregs in the teacup?

Quote:
If you have an MA, plus experience in materials design, examining, item writing for such as UCLES, then you can find work. Many posts are not advertised - just send your CV to the appropriate person, then you will be "on the books" and when they need maternity cover, you are ready to jump in.


I find this quite laughable. Send your CV to the "appropriate person". Well, who might that be? And would I really be in a position to wait around for someone to go on maternity leave? How long should I wait? And what about next week's rent? Really Dedicated, which planet you from?
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