Site Search:
 
TEFL International Supports Dave's ESL Cafe
TEFL Courses, TESOL Course, English Teaching Jobs - TEFL International
Job Discussion Forums Forum Index Job Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Personal Middle East Ambition Plan Review

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> General Middle East Forum
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
jkrishnamurtidotorg



Joined: 15 Sep 2012
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:24 pm    Post subject: Personal Middle East Ambition Plan Review Reply with quote

Hello, and thanks for dedicating your time to this post.

My wife and I are currently teaching in Korea, and will finish up later this year. We are teaching Kindergarten through to Intermediate level students at a private institute. At the end of the contract we will have 1 year of experience. We both work 120 'contact' hours per month, which equates to 1,440 hours of actual teaching experience for the year.

We both have Bachelor's degree's in 'unrelated' (Not English/Linguistics/TESOL) areas, although both of us completed our degree's in Arts subjects. We also have completed 180 hour TESOL Certificate programs, although they were online. However, our certificates don't necessarily state that they were completed online. The program is from a reputable institute.

Our ultimate goal is to teach in the Middle East before we have children. We are very serious about this and are planning our moves for the next few years which will make us as attractive as possible to potential employers in the region. My wife is very interested in the culture, the money looks good, and I am incredibly able to enjoy being anywhere new.

The current plan is to return to our country of residence next year. We are deciding between:
a) Going back to University to become certified teachers (English and Social Studies);
b) Going back to University to complete a BA TESOL program.

Option a) gives us the flexibility to teach in our own country, as well as abroad. It will take us 1.5 years to complete the certification.
Option b) may look more attractive to this particular goal of ours as it is more subject-specific, and will take less time to complete (1 year).

Also, we will have a few months to travel before we go back to school next year. In order to advance ourselves in those few months, we are considering an investment into completing a CELTA program. If we do, we plan to try and complete the CELTA in an Arabic speaking country so as to look (and be) more serious about our future prospects in that region.

Ultimately, we want to invest in something which will help us to teach in the Middle East. To summarize:
- Do we invest 5-6 thousand $'s in CELTA certification?
- Do we become certified teachers in our home country, or do we complete a BA TESOL program?
- Is our 1 year experience, plus our investments, enough to land a job anywhere in the Middle East? or will we have to find another year or 2 teaching experience following our new certificates?

If anyone experienced is sincerely willing to respond to this post, that would be absolutely wonderful.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
jargonscott



Joined: 19 Sep 2011
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 5:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Personal Middle East Ambition Plan Review Reply with quote

In my experience, it's mostly a matter of getting your foot in the door. There's a lot of grey area in the Middle East, so it can't hurt to throw your hat in the ring (even if you feel your qualifications aren't up to snuff). Furthering your qualifications will only help you. I'm sure some of the old timers in this forum will be more than happy to chime in with their experience and opinions.

I've seen a lot of threads on here where folks are quick to shoot down others who are interested in the Middle East, but don't have extensive qualifications and experience. Though they offer plenty of sage advice, I think it's important to acknowledge the small chance of defying the odds.

My first overseas contract was in KSA. Had I posted my qualifications on Dave's beforehand, I'm sure most people would have told me that I had no chance or if I could get lucky enough to land an entry level position, it would most likely be with a sketchy company and an unattractive salary package. In reality, I had a very stable employer, $4250 USD/month, low hours, generous vacations, and all expenses (minus food) covered. Though it was certainly a challenging time, I learned a lot in the process. Most importantly, I finished the contract with the best reference letter of my life and much needed experience from a reputable school/company on my CV. I never planned on staying in KSA long-term, it was just a means to an end. I accomplished everything I set out to do.

Though it's different for every school and company, my CELTA has been a key part of me getting my foot in the door over the years. My last 3 employers have all stated that it was one of the main factors that got me an interview. Though it was more expensive than a TEFL cert, it has paid off immensely. In fact, I'll be heading to the UAE at the end of the summer for a new contract. This one makes my former KSA salary/perks package look like chump change. A couple of my friends applied for the same position but didn't get interviews. Though most would say they have more experience/qualifications than someone like myself, they don't have CELTAs and therefore weren't considered. One of the administrators confirmed that they require it of all new hires. I'm not here to debate whether or not that's fair, I'm just happy I have mine.

Once again, I know if I posted my experience and qualifications in the UAE forum, most folks would tell me not to bother and to stick to Eastern Asia. I'll admit, I felt a bit under-qualified when I applied. After all, I didn't meet all the the listed requirements. However, I did have a CELTA, experience working in the gulf, and the clincher: experience with a particular software program that they happen to use for their CALL labs (which I received in KSA). My CELTA was the foot in the door for KSA and now I've been able to parlay that into a much better situation in the UAE.

I've always been confident in my ability to be a solid employee/teacher, even in the Middle East (where it often seems good administration and colleagues are hard to find). All I needed was a chance to prove it. In conclusion, take everyone's advice with a grain of salt and don't ever completely count yourself out. Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16068
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:21 am    Post subject: Re: Personal Middle East Ambition Plan Review Reply with quote

jkrishnamurtidotorg wrote:
Ultimately, we want to invest in something which will help us to teach in the Middle East. To summarize:
- Do we invest 5-6 thousand $'s in CELTA certification?
- Do we become certified teachers in our home country, or do we complete a BA TESOL program?
- Is our 1 year experience, plus our investments, enough to land a job anywhere in the Middle East? or will we have to find another year or 2 teaching experience following our new certificates?

You might land a job with your current credentials, but it will likely not be a very good one.

A few comments... online certificates are NOT recognized in the Middle East. The key is that they want to see supervised teaching as a part of it.

A CELTA is the minimum that you should have. (Check out the British Council in Cairo. Good chance to get one in an Arabic speaking country.)

Get certification for your current BAs in your home country... this will be useful when you want to return home... and probably overseas.

Don't get another BA. If you want to move up the employment ladder in ESL/EFL in the Middle East, invest in an MA in Applied Linguistics or ESL/EFL.

VS
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
jkrishnamurtidotorg



Joined: 15 Sep 2012
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:49 am    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

The effort from both responses are appreciated. Thanks for your inspiration, experienced analysis, and relevant suggestions.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 4325
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jkrishnamurtidotorg wrote:
We both have Bachelor's degree's in 'unrelated' (Not English/Linguistics/TESOL) areas, although both of us completed our degree's in Arts subjects. We also have completed 180 hour TESOL Certificate programs, although they were online. However, our certificates don't necessarily state that they were completed online. The program is from a reputable institute.

Our ultimate goal is to teach in the Middle East before we have children. We are very serious about this and are planning our moves for the next few years which will make us as attractive as possible to potential employers in the region.

I'd like to suggest that you also keep up with the trends in TEFL---become members of your local and/or national TESOL organizations and attend conferences and workshops for networking and learning purposes.

Based on your post, it appears you'd like to continue teaching children but in an international school setting. A teaching license from your home country (relevant to your BA degree major) and two years' experience (post-license) are required for teaching subject content in the better schools in the Gulf. By the way, since English is the medium for instruction in these schools, the focus is mainly on teaching content and not TESOL. Teachaway.com is a good resource for info on the requirements for teaching in int'l schools.

However, if you're exploring the idea of teaching EFL in a university prep year program in the Mid East, then, as VS stated, a CELTA (or SIT TESOL or Trinity CertTESOL) in addition to a master's degree in applied ling, TESOL, language education, etc., and a few years of teaching at the the tertiary level (preferably with Arabic speakers) would help you compete for jobs in this region. Additionally, an ESOL practicum (in lieu of a CELTA/TEFL cert) and any experience and/or training in educational technology (technology for teaching & learning) as well as curriculum design, academic writing, materials development, and language assessment and testing will help you stand out above other applicants.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 4325
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jargonscott wrote:
Once again, I know if I posted my experience and qualifications in the UAE forum, most folks would tell me not to bother and to stick to Eastern Asia. I'll admit, I felt a bit under-qualified when I applied. After all, I didn't meet all the the listed requirements. However, I did have a CELTA, experience working in the gulf, and the clincher: experience with a particular software program that they happen to use for their CALL labs (which I received in KSA).

In conclusion, take everyone's advice with a grain of salt and don't ever completely count yourself out.

I doubt you would have been told by other posters to head to Asia. You have some quals that employers in this region prefer, particularly instructional tech skills/knowledge and previous experience with ME students. A CELTA isn't always specified but is the standard for an entry-level EFL teaching qualification.

In regard to posters requesting feedback on their experience and qualifications, they usually receive advice (from anonymous, unseen regulars like myself and others) relevant to their specific situation and based solely on whatever information they chose to divulge. Frankly, they only needed to have gone through job ads to see what their qualifications might get them, if anything, and then applied for those positions that appeal to them. Instead, we see enough casual what-will-my-qualifications-get-me type posts on these forums. (By no means does this reflect the questions/concerns of the original poster of this thread.)

Anyway, taking others' advice with a grain of salt discounts any validity the message may hold in terms of its context and intent based on the messenger's own experience and perspective. What if the responses are all conveying the same message? I suggest having an open mind but also looking at your situation (i.e., interests, career goals, needs, likes/dislikes, qualifications, etc.) from all angles; conducting your own research; listing the pros/cons relevant to you; and then making an informed decision and owning it. We're certainly not obligated to passively accept the path put in front of us by others; however, not everyone is touting snake oil either.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
jargonscott



Joined: 19 Sep 2011
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
however, not everyone is touting snake oil either.


Agreed. I've just seen a number of posts that essentially tell others that they stand no chance. I've worked with some recent grads that got into KSA with unrelated BAs and not much else. They lucked out with a decent employer and made the most of their respective opportunities. They were willing to be team players and upstanding employees when many of our more experienced colleagues weren't.

Though their chances of landing a decent job in the Middle East were slim, they got lucky and weaseled their way in. Part of me just wants to remind everyone that there's always a chance. Insha'Allah! Wink
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
helenl



Joined: 04 Jan 2006
Posts: 1185

PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I tend to be one of the more negative posters if the OP's credentials are less than optimal -

I would agree with jargonscott in that it doesn't hurt to apply and see what offers you get. Too many posters want the $$$ but don't have the qualifications to earn the larger pay packets.

If anyone is discouraged by naysayers (myself included) and don't apply, then that's a choice. Sure, you may not qualify, but if you don't apply you sure won't.

However, better employers demand and get better qualified employees. That's a given worldwide.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 4325
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

helenl wrote:
Too many posters want the $$$ but don't have the qualifications to earn the larger pay packets.

If anyone is discouraged by naysayers (myself included) and don't apply, then that's a choice. Sure, you may not qualify, but if you don't apply you sure won't.

We're on the same page, Helen1. My point was that those posting their minimal to zip qualifications and expecting positive responses should still take any discouraging advice under consideration, especially from those of us who have experience in this region. However, ultimately, it's the job seeker's responsibility to take the initiative to look at actual job ads and the requisite qualifications for each position as well as researching the potential employer's reputation/track record, the teaching environment, students' linguistic issues, country culture, etc., in order to make their own informed decision about applying. Employers will either say yay or nay.

Quote:
However, better employers demand and get better qualified employees. That's a given worldwide.

This is so true. Jargonscott mentioned having minimal quals and getting lucky with a decent employer in Saudi Arabia. But that was his situation and isn't the norm. Seriousy, this is the type of encouragement that has the potential to end in major disappointment (or worse) for those with "barely-there" qualifications because it usually entails buying the bad mojo snake oil waved about by sketchy, desperate Saudi contracting companies and not from the better, direct-hire job situations. And the Saudi forum has plenty of unlucky teachers looking for a refund on that oil. Wink

Anyway, advising others to ignore naysayers like you, me, VS... is moot; folks will do whatever they choose. Yet, relying entirely on any advice from nameless, faceless strangers on a public forum isn't enough and frankly, indicates a lack of personal accountability for one's own career choices.

(@jkrishnamurtidotorg, my apologies for highjacking your thread!)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
jargonscott



Joined: 19 Sep 2011
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
Seriousy, this is the type of encouragement that has the potential to end in major disappointment (or worse) for those with "barely-there" qualifications because it usually entails buying the bad mojo snake oil waved about by sketchy, desperate Saudi contracting companies and not from the better, direct-hire job situations.


If you take a look through any post I've made in this forum, I've never once told anyone to rush over to the Middle East and snap up a job with a contracting company. The OP can even attest to the fact that I discouraged him (via PM) from dealing with contractors. I've always stuck to direct-hire positions and it has served me well.

Because the original post was less haphazard than many of the ill-informed and desperate posts we see on here, I felt some encouragement was warranted. After all, the OP seems patient and willing to properly prepare before attempting the transition to the ME.

As you've acknowledged above, this is veering away from the topic at hand. The OP wanted some feedback in regards to securing additional qualifications. I think VS made some good recommendations and I supported them in my PM to the OP.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
jkrishnamurtidotorg



Joined: 15 Sep 2012
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 5:32 am    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

Thanks to veiledsentiments. Your response was direct and easy to read/understand.

Thanks to nomad soul. You displayed various ways to assess my situation, and even expanded the realm of opportunities and choices available, and what those choices might entail.
- No worries on the highjacking. I happen to encourage tangents so long as the original content is (which it was) also addressed. I also prefer that these tangents remain civil with a scope of self-awareness and proper breathing.

Thanks to helenl. You made some common sense points that may often get overlooked by posters who throw up their credentials, and then ask the forum what it will land them in the Middle East, when the truth is that you will never know unless you apply. Obviously with more credentials and experience, you will land more jobs and often more lucrative ones.

A special thanks to jargonscott. Never before have I received such well thought out, balanced, and reasonable analysis, so full of effort and concern. I really appreciate the 'other' messages sent by this poster. It's actually really helped wrap my mind around a few things, and I am very grateful.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Voyeur



Joined: 03 Jul 2012
Posts: 275

PostPosted: Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As someone who lacks formal credentials, but was looking to beat the odds and get a shot in the ME, I appreciated Jargon's realistic reminder that many things are possible.

However, after doing a lot of recent research, I've come to the conclusion that this may have been more true in the past than it is now. Not only do employers seem to demand more formal qualifications each year, but the governments have become factors as well. Even if an employer wants you, you also have to meet increasingly stringent government requirements to get a proper visa. And the ability to slide by suing alternative visa solutions is increasingly in question. I realize this applies mostly to Saudi, but I've seen signs of the same phenomenon in other ME countries I have been researching.

I'm becoming convinced that you should avoid the ME until you have the right qualifications, because these days, even if you get your foot in the door and have a nice run, a government regulation change could shake up your plans at any point.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> General Middle East Forum All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group

Road2Spain - TEFL and Spanish with one year student visa
EBC