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algernonsidney



Joined: 16 Nov 2011
Posts: 18
Location: Austin, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

EFLeducator wrote:
tttompatz wrote:
Reality check.

Working from Mexico south to Cape Horn is an option but not one that will pay well (read subsistence/back-packer level wages), especially since you don't have a degree.


Right! Get a degree first or a certificate in TEFLing and see what options that may open up for you. Check out some of the universities website in Austin and see if they offer a TEFL course with job placement assistance. If you're going to do this, do it right so you won't be living on back-packer level wages as ttompatz said.


Actually one person told me that he made more money giving people individualized lessons. He said that he taught classes and picked up private teaching that way.
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 9041
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

algernonsidney wrote:
Actually one person told me that he made more money giving people individualized lessons. He said that he taught classes and picked up private teaching that way.

Totally possible, but it doesn't happen overnight. Plus, that's only one person. I don't want to be negative, but teaching privates is hard work. I did it for two years, it was the only job I had. I did make more than if I had worked at a school, but I also worked a heck of a lot harder, and worked 6 days a week.
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algernonsidney



Joined: 16 Nov 2011
Posts: 18
Location: Austin, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

naturegirl321 wrote:

AS for becoming fluent in Spanish, teaching English usually isn't the way to go about it Smile Granted, there are people who do achieve a high level in the host country, but it isn't automatic. It's not like osmosis. After speaking Spanish daily for the past 8 years and studying it since I was 12, I still don't consider myself fluent.


I never said that I wanted to teach English so that I could learn Spanish. I said that I am interested in Latin America because I would prefer learning Spanish to other languages.

I hear lots of great things about Estonia. But if I go to Estonia, I would have to learn a language that is completely and totally useless outside of Estonia.

Wherever I go, I am going to have to learn the language there. Spanish is spoken by at least 400 million people, so that makes it more useful than a lot of other languages. And I really would prefer to stick with a language that uses the Latin alphabet. I already have some knowledge of Spanish as well.

My main goals are ultimately getting the hell out of IT and getting the hell out of the USA.

It seems like about the only people I know who are happy with their jobs are teachers.
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algernonsidney



Joined: 16 Nov 2011
Posts: 18
Location: Austin, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

naturegirl321 wrote:
I don't want to be negative


Negativity is all I've gotten on this board so far. It isn't discouraging me from exploring this. However, it is making me wonder why I am bothering with this board at all.
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 9041
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Look, you could do it. YOu definitely can. I know people a lot older than you and peopel without even a HS diploma that teach overseas. Just be aware that you are going to face challenges due to your lack of degree. Your age really isn't an issue at the moment.

Make a plan and go. Have a back up plan just in case.

What's stopping you from applying for jobs now? Many schools all over the world start in March, so it's a great time to look for jobs.

Best of luck
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tttompatz



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

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

algernonsidney wrote:
naturegirl321 wrote:
I don't want to be negative


Negativity is all I've gotten on this board so far. It isn't discouraging me from exploring this. However, it is making me wonder why I am bothering with this board at all.


40 years old, no experience, no degree and you want to be a teacher?

Try TEXAS or ARIZONA.

Just because the truth and the cold hard facts aren't what you want to hear won't change them.

I could tell you to jump on a plane, head for Ecuador and you will be welcomed with open arms and people will throw money at you to teach them. Won't make it so but I can tell it to you.

.
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KizuStrife



Joined: 19 Jan 2012
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:50 am    Post subject: Re: getting started Reply with quote

Do not be discouraged, I am new to this whole 'front' as well and frankly, it's daunting to see so many job listings and then trying to discern:

"what am I qualified for?"

"is this legit?"

"what is my next step?"

Individuals within a forum will have different "personalities" when responding, some nurturing and helpful - some blunt and a bit brash. All have their merits, so don't let an individuals method of communication dissuade you from a forum as a whole.

As a newbie to a newbie, I can't necessarily give you great advice but I'd like to at least tell you the steps I've taken thus far as they may help you.

First, I want to respond to a few things in your initial posting.

algernonsidney wrote:
I have also come to loathe my career in information technology, as I seriously wonder if I will be given a chance to be successful in it.


I am young (24), but can understand not being satisfied with a career path. I hope this is not just a whim, and you have really done some self evaluation upon what makes you happy. Deciding a career path shouldn't just be 'drawing from a hat.'

algernonsidney wrote:
I have serious questions about the future of the USA and would like to have the option of leaving if I need to. Dual-citizenship is certainly something I would like to obtain.


I am very concerned by this statement. I can understand that some people feel that way. However, teaching is not some idle career - it takes dedication and passion for conveying knowledge. Teachers work hard after the 'hours' in planning, reflecting, and evaluating. 'Any fool can teach' is a very poor misconception. I am not saying this is how you feel, but if this is your reason for wanting to teach ... I feel merited in having some concern.

algernonsidney wrote:
What is the best way for me to get started in this? I did do some volunteer ESL teaching back in 2002-3 for the Columbus (Ohio) Literacy Council. I did work for a magazine back in the mid 1990's and have also had some articles published. I pick up on things very quickly and have never lost my childhood curiosity.


Volunteer ESL is going to be completely different from actually "teaching" as a career. When you're in the classroom as a volunteer you mindset is thus, "I'm just here for a bit, then I go home to my life." When you are a teacher - that is your life, and as such you have a different level of concern for classroom management, materials, and student's well being (learning and otherwise). Again, do not underestimate the level of commitment teaching requires.

algernonsidney wrote:
I am open to combining a teaching job with IT work if I need to.


This seems contradictory to your only legitimate reason to pursue a new carrer?!?

algernonsidney wrote:
I have heard that some jobs require college. I don't have that.


From what I've gathered, you can find a job without it. But, it is a bit insulting - would you want me to be your doctor with no degree, teaching is the implementation of knowledge and the nurturing of young minds ... it is very important to either have vast experience or education ... and above that, a true passion for it.

All that said, I don't mean to be insulting - but I feel insulted by some of your reasoning. I suggest first and foremost, evaluate if you really want to pursue teaching for more than just "escaping the US and your job."

After that, you need some credentials, at least take an ESL certification course. You could go ahead and apply to postings ... I have emailed for 20+ postings today, don't expect someone to say "hey man, i'll get ya a job with the district I'm in." I have been told that, then never heard from them again ... There is nothing wrong with asking for advice, everyone needs help getting started or on specific inquiries. But, you have to do some of the legwork.

Beat of luck, I hope we both find the career we are looking for!
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Opiate



Joined: 10 Aug 2011
Posts: 630
Location: Qingdao

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I won't question your reasons for wanting to change your career as I also left a career in IT to do this. I was not much younger than you, I began at 34. If you are unable or unwilling to get a bachelors degree before you leave the US your options will be limited greatly as has been mentioned before. I do not know enough about working in South/Central America so I won't comment on that but China is an option for you. Not exactly a legit option without a degree but it's certainly doable.

Now, depending on the type of person you are, you may also consider the skills that you or your friends may have.....there are creative ways to solve your biggest issue which is the lack of a degree. You can also get an online TEFL certificate for a few hundred dollars and about 15 minutes of your time. It has little use but it is something to point to for the schools who simply do not care or do not know the difference. That would include most schools in China.

While you'll never obtain dual citizenship in China, your chances of finding a woman willing to marry you are fairly high. In theory, you could keep renewing spousal visas until hell freezes over. You can't technically work under a spousal visa but it's common. Avoid the big cities like Beijing or Shanghai where they are more strict with rules.
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algernonsidney



Joined: 16 Nov 2011
Posts: 18
Location: Austin, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

naturegirl321 wrote:

Make a plan and go. Have a back up plan just in case.

What's stopping you from applying for jobs now? Many schools all over the world start in March, so it's a great time to look for jobs.


One thing that is stopping me right now from applying for jobs is that I don't know where to apply. I also do not know how to apply. What should my application look like? What should I say or not say?

This is called the newbie forum. Did you notice how many posts I have so far?


Last edited by algernonsidney on Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:19 pm; edited 3 times in total
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algernonsidney



Joined: 16 Nov 2011
Posts: 18
Location: Austin, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Opiate wrote:
While you'll never obtain dual citizenship in China, your chances of finding a woman willing to marry you are fairly high.


Why the hell would I want citizenship in China anyway?
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algernonsidney



Joined: 16 Nov 2011
Posts: 18
Location: Austin, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:56 pm    Post subject: Re: getting started Reply with quote

KizuStrife wrote:
All have their merits, so don't let an individuals method of communication dissuade you from a forum as a whole.


My big mistake was probably coming to a forum on the Net in the first place. Of course, this was recommended to me by a person I've known for ten years in real life. She taught ESL in South Korea for two years and had absolutely no interest in it as a career.

Quote:
Deciding a career path shouldn't just be 'drawing from a hat.'


I am basically looking to do something that is as different as possible from my current life. It's a way to start over.

Of course, I know people who have done this who basically were just drawing from a hat. I know one guy who just went to Russia without a job or anything.

I have also taken acting classes and would love to do more of that. But I don't think anyone here is going to tell me that finding an acting job is easier than finding an ESL job.

Quote:
Volunteer ESL is going to be completely different from actually "teaching" as a career.


I'm not interested in a career anyway. Volunteering is always different from a job.

And at 40 years old, I certainly do not need anyone to tell me what job-hunting is like. I have spent plenty of time searching for jobs. I have sent applications to people who acted very interested and then never heard from them again. I have walked out of interviews thinking, "I got it," and never heard anything else. I have walked out of interviews thinking I did terribly only to find a job offer a few days later. I have seen a lot.


Last edited by algernonsidney on Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Tudor



Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 339

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't worry about the lack of a degree; I think your biggest stumbling block will be your appalling attitude.

Close the door on your way out...
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algernonsidney



Joined: 16 Nov 2011
Posts: 18
Location: Austin, Texas

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can someone tell me why I should continue looking for advice here?

Ultimately, I should have realized that coming to a board like this was probably a big mistake. People go onto Internet forums because they like to show everyone else that they are "right" about things and they like to make someone else "wrong."

Look at the number of posts that actually offer helpful advice or information compared to the number of posts that have basically said, "I'm right. You're wrong." And now it is at the level of personal attacks. Even worse is that I admit that I know almost nothing about this and am sincerely looking for advice and nothing else.

As I said before, I am not discouraged from doing ESL. I am, however, discouraged from continuing to participate here.
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Tudor



Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 339

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personal attacks? Dear me, I think you're better off staying at home if you're so sensitive.

And yes, people probably could tell you why you should look for advice on here, but they probably won't bother as all you'll do is accuse them of being negative, patronising, and then get in a strop if you don't get the answer you want to hear.

Foe example, in your opening post you stated that you'd like to obtain dual-citizenship yet when somebody helpfully suggested China your response was, "why the hell would I want Chinese citizenship". So, you're not so charming yourself are you?

Anyway, do as you please, it's no skin off my nose nor, I suspect, anyone else's on here.
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MotherF



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1450
Location: 1748'N 9746'W

PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm really late in this conversation as I had a lot of work to do yesterday. It has been an amusing read however!

I'm turning 40 this year, and EFL is my career and has been since I was 22.

I think the most important thing everyone needs to know about teaching English as a Foreign Language is that the it is a very very broad field. Someone mentioned a doctor with no educational back ground. IF you are going to compare EFL to the Healthcare field you need to recognize that the healthcare field is made up a of lot of different people not just MDs. If you want to get out of the US--forever or for a time, no need to decide right now--sure you can do it. Of course you are not going to be at the top of the field, probably not ever. But it sounds like you are okay with that.
Going with the health metaphore, you could get a red cross CPR certification in 3 hours. You could train to be a paramedic in 18 months, you could be an RN in 4 years Or you could spend the next 12 years of your life training to be a doctor. You could save a life with any of those options. They are all just as valid and necessary as doctors.

Since you are in Texas, I'd suggest starting in Mexico. You can take a TEFL course here in Mexico which will get you a job that will pay your rent and justify your visa. You can begin to give private lessons on the side--your friend was right, you'll make more money that way. If you find a city in Mexico you like and want to say in, you'll undoubtedly build a network that will get you more and more work. One or two posters among us have rather gruff personalities and have proven themselve unable to build such a network, but don't let their experiences been seen as the norm. If you find a place you like and want to stay, there is a path to Mexican citizenship that will take you about 9 years. If not you could move on further south. I worked with one woman who had spent 18 months in Argentina (split into three different cities). 9 months in Chile, a year in Peru. Six months in Ecuador. A year in Colombia. 3 months in Panama. A year in Costa Rica. 4 months in Guatemala. And 3 years in Mexico. She did all that with no savings only the money she made on the way. She did have a degree (in biology) and a TEFL certificate. She was also in her 40s, and had had it with her old life, had a close friend die, and decided she was not dying without seeing the world.

Where there is a will, there is a way--but my fellow forum members are right, it won't be easy. You have two things to over come--no degree and not being 20 something, but that doesn't mean can't, just that it's not going to be a vacation.


OH and BTW, I think acting classes are excellent preparation for language institute type English teaching--seriously.
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