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zeekthegeek



Joined: 06 Apr 2013
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:00 am    Post subject: General Advice. Reply with quote

Hello,

I am about to be a newly minted teacher here in the US. I have been overseas before and have lived in many different regions of the US. So, I am comfortable being someplace new and the loneliness that comes with it.

My background:
Education
BA: 2006, Arts Administration
MA: 2014, Middle Childhood Education, Language Arts (Reading and English) and Social Studies (History)

Work Experience
2006-2010—Various arts organizations

2010-2013-Substitute Language Arts and History teacher in three school districts

I know that I do not have a lot of experience. I do, however, have some experience. Where would be the best place to start teaching if I were to teach abroad?

Would it be beneficial to get a TEFL/TESL certification? I am willing to do anything to make myself more attractive to schools but at the same time hoping that it pays off in terms of compensation.

Places that I would like to teach and have never been to:
Turkey
Lebanon
UAE
Qatar

Where have people gone and had a decent amount of success? In terms of compensation, what would I be making in those countries? Should I be looking at areas outside of the Middle East?

Many thanks!!
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 5181
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 6:12 am    Post subject: Re: General Advice. Reply with quote

zeekthegeek wrote:
2010-2013-Substitute Language Arts and History teacher in three school districts

I know that I do not have a lot of experience. I do, however, have some experience. Where would be the best place to start teaching if I were to teach abroad? Would it be beneficial to get a TEFL/TESL certification? I am willing to do anything to make myself more attractive to schools but at the same time hoping that it pays off in terms of compensation.

Places that I would like to teach and have never been to:
Turkey
Lebanon
UAE
Qatar

Depending on your teaching license and amount of full-time, relevent teaching experience you have, you may qualify for international school (k-12) language arts positions in Qatar and the UAE. See Teachaway.com for the basic quals for the Gulf.

If you're focused on TEFL, you're not likely to land a TEFL spot in the Mid East without a CELTA or equivalent TEFL cert + post-certificate teaching experience. Additionally, Lebanon rarely gets mentioned in the Cafe's general Mid East forum because the country produces its own highly-qualified k-12 and EFL teachers. I don't know about Turkey; you'd have to check the Turkey jobs forum for info on what you might qualify for (TEFL at the adult level or language arts in international schools). Anyway, Asia would be your best bet for getting a TEFL position.
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1837

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Following on from Nomad Soul's point about the difficulty getting a job without a good TEFL qualification, you should also know that teaching a language requires fairly specialised skills, so just going off to teach without adequate preparation is likely to mean disappointment for your students and ultimately for yourself. There is getting a job and there is doing it properly and holding the job down.
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Voyeur



Joined: 03 Jul 2012
Posts: 355

PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From everything I have read here, getting two years under your belt teaching in your home country (or, I imagine, another of the developed, English-speaking countries) is something that will really help you. Many international schools require it. I'm unsure whether you can make up for not having those two years by getting lucky with an initial placement at a flexible international school, and then getting you experience internationally. It seems like not having those two years could haunt you every time you try to get a new international school job. It might be best to just get it out of the way before you head overseas.

Also, from what I have read, teaching ESL and teaching a Western curriculum (could be math, science, or even English--but not as a second language) at an international school overseas are two different tracks. If you want to teach ESL, then you can definitely get a decent starter job without a certificate. And your teaching cert will help you somewhat, but is largely wasted. However, to keep progressing down the ESL track you will eventually need further ESL qualifications; and the work you have put into getting your MA in education and teaching certification will become more and more unimportant (and thus wasted) the further you go along the ESL track.

There are, or so it appears to me, two ideal overseas teaching tracks (generalized, to be sure).

The international school track requires a BA and certification in one of the more developed English-speaking countries (Can., USA, UK, NZ, Aus., SA, Ireland), and ideally 2-years experience teaching in one of these countries. Ultimately, a relevant masters is also a good idea. You can do this kind of work into your 60s, settle down in one country, get a good salary and benefits, raise a family, etc. The only thing you need to be wary of is that your compensation isn't back-ended the way it is in most Western countries. If you plan on staying overseas for a long time, you need to invest some of those extra up-front savings to compensate for your comparative lack of a traditional teacher's pension.

The other track is actually teaching ESL. While this world is more varied in terms of what kinds of jobs you can get, by and large, the job you probably want to work up to as you get older is a University position--from what I have read, these types of positions are the most suited to someone who has become older, being more sustainable over the long haul, and less likely to burn you out. You ideally want a related BA (TESOL, English, Linguistics), but that is not required. You then need a relevant MA/M.Ed. (TESOL or Applied Linguistics) to get you teaching at a university. Given continuing qualification inflation, you eventually want a Ph.D or Ed.D (and should plan your Masters accordingly). Furthermore, you should probably pick up a CELTA (or similar certification) and eventually a DELTA along the way. Finally, you will need to publish, attend conferences, and network. As you can see, the ideal ESL track seems to be a lifelong commitment. There are many ways to start; however, from what I have seen and read, while language academy work is a fine place to start, you really need to get to the universities by your fifties.

A shortcut track in ESL seems to be to get your BA (in any field), an initial TEFL cert or CELTA, a one-year MA TESOL (a terminal degree) and a DELTA (which can somewhat be 2-for-1ed with the MA). With just the MA you can teach at many universities, and the DELTA adds a nice little "cherry on top". However, it is unclear how well this approach will age as degree inflation sets in. Perhaps twenty years down the road you will really be feeling the competition from those with the PhDs, at least at universities. That being said, a MA TESOL and a DELTA, from what I have read, should at least keep you in the game for a long time to come. And you will also be able to craft other, more niche, careers with these qualifications should you desire, such as working for oil and gas companies, etc.

But if you are just looking for a few years of fun overseas, and are relatively young, you could head over now. You could try to find an international school that doesn't require two-years experience. Or you could work at one of the better language academies. You wouldn't need a TEFL cert for that, though you might find it helpful. Just make sure you don't stay too long, and that you aren't messing up your ability to get back on the right teaching track back home.

In any event, take all of this with a grain of salt. I am new to the world of ESL and overseas teaching qualifications (despite having taught overseas for 10 years), and have been asking a lot of similar questions lately, in addition to doing my own research. Other, more experienced, posters will undoubtedly let you know if I have gotten anything wrong.
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