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Teaching in Asia, looking for advice

 
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Omen7



Joined: 27 Mar 2013
Posts: 2
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:30 am    Post subject: Teaching in Asia, looking for advice Reply with quote

I know some of my questions may have been answered but I'm looking for some specific input into some particulars in my situation. Thank you in advance for any advice and input.

To provide some background, I'm 24 year old male living in the US with a BS in Psychology and over a year working in IT. I have thought about teaching English (no formal teaching experience) in Asia since I studied abroad in China during college, and I figure now is as good a time as any to do it. I'm open to teaching in South Korea, Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan, and/or Japan. As far as I'm concerned, I've already committed to doing this as I've already worked out all the logistical things, had the talk with my family, etc. I'm looking to go sometime near the end of this year or early next year.

My first question: I have a two reliable contacts who I can trust with multiple years experience teaching English in South Korea. They said they could assist me in finding a position and evaluating any job offers. I also have one contact in mainland China who will do the same. Does this option sound better than using a recruiter? I also am under the impression that currently you will not make great money in mainland China compared to other Asian countries, but that it is improving - how accurate is this?

My second question: How valuable is a CELTA for obtaining a university job (a few years down the road) in these locations? I initially thought I would get an online TEFL, but with higher pay-scales in South Korea requiring 20 hour/50 hour in class TEFLs (so I would have to pay an increased price for an in-class course and pay for lodging). I'm thinking I could spend the extra money for a better program (Unfortunately no US centers offer online CELTA yet, but I would get free lodging within walking distance from the center if I took the CELTA). I also don't want pay for the TEFL then have to pay for the CELTA later if I choose this as a long-term profession. Most of my friends/contacts who work/worked in Asia tell me that they don't have a TEFL or CELTA or got one while teaching, and most of their friends don't have one either. However, I want to be a knowledgeable teacher, open up my initial job options now and in the future, and of course get paid a little more money.

My final question, with a preface: I'm currently planning on teaching in South Korea for two years, then a) staying if I really love it, or b) come home with plans to work on my masters degree, and finally try to get into Hong Kong or a university position somewhere in east Asia. Does that sound viable? Is there some option I'm not thinking of or haven't read about?

Thank you very much for reading, and for any advice you share.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9494
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Probably more appropriate in the General Asia forum below.
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revenger2013



Joined: 01 Mar 2013
Posts: 111

PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 9:24 am    Post subject: Re: Teaching in Asia, looking for advice Reply with quote

Omen7 wrote:

My first question: I have a two reliable contacts who I can trust with multiple years experience teaching English in South Korea. They said they could assist me in finding a position and evaluating any job offers. I also have one contact in mainland China who will do the same. Does this option sound better than using a recruiter? I also am under the impression that currently you will not make great money in mainland China compared to other Asian countries, but that it is improving - how accurate is this?


If you have friends who can point you in the right direction for jobs that they know are good numbers then that is always a bonus. People sometimes end up in bad situations through no fault of their own down to the nature of getting jobs via the internet. So, if you know someone who has 'on the ground' knowledge then that is a good start.

As for making money, the wages in Mainland China are improving all the time, they don't look too good next to a wage you may earn in the states granted, but you have to take into account living costs - even on 6000 RMB a month, I always had money left over. Of course, this all depends on your spending habits and hobbies and whatnot - but you can live well on the wages you get and there is always opportunity to make extra money.

Quote:
My second question: How valuable is a CELTA for obtaining a university job (a few years down the road) in these locations?


I think CELTA is useful (for example) teaching highly motivated, German, business English students in small classes. Teaching a class of 70 students in a Chinese university lecture theatre? Not so much if I am being honest. Get the CELTA by all means but it is going to be of little use in Asia.

Quote:
I initially thought I would get an online TEFL, but with higher pay-scales in South Korea requiring 20 hour/50 hour in class TEFLs (so I would have to pay an increased price for an in-class course and pay for lodging). I'm thinking I could spend the extra money for a better program (Unfortunately no US centers offer online CELTA yet, but I would get free lodging within walking distance from the center if I took the CELTA). I also don't want pay for the TEFL then have to pay for the CELTA later if I choose this as a long-term profession.


Then don't do it. I wouldn't waste my time with an online cert.

Quote:
Most of my friends/contacts who work/worked in Asia tell me that they don't have a TEFL or CELTA or got one while teaching, and most of their friends don't have one either. However, I want to be a knowledgeable teacher, open up my initial job options now and in the future, and of course get paid a little more money.


Getting a CELTA is a good idea, a lot of places want you to have it - such as the British Council - they love a CELTA certificate more than anybody.

Quote:
My final question, with a preface: I'm currently planning on teaching in South Korea for two years, then a) staying if I really love it, or b) come home with plans to work on my masters degree, and finally try to get into Hong Kong or a university position somewhere in east Asia. Does that sound viable? Is there some option I'm not thinking of or haven't read about?


That is a very viable option. English is big business all over Asia and it still hasn't reached its peak yet.
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Omen7



Joined: 27 Mar 2013
Posts: 2
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 9:39 am    Post subject: Re: Teaching in Asia, looking for advice Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:
Probably more appropriate in the General Asia forum below.


I wondered if that might be the case, I only posted here because its my first time posting and I figured this is where I "should" go.


revenger2013 - Thanks for the info. I was thinking of a CELTA specifically because I've heard its a good thing to have for Hong Kong specifically from a few people. Would you suggest something else? Like the Trinity or the SIT Tesol?
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revenger2013



Joined: 01 Mar 2013
Posts: 111

PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2013 9:50 am    Post subject: Re: Teaching in Asia, looking for advice Reply with quote

Omen7 wrote:
spiral78 wrote:
Probably more appropriate in the General Asia forum below.


I wondered if that might be the case, I only posted here because its my first time posting and I figured this is where I "should" go.


revenger2013 - Thanks for the info. I was thinking of a CELTA specifically because I've heard its a good thing to have for Hong Kong specifically from a few people. Would you suggest something else? Like the Trinity or the SIT Tesol?


Getting a CELTA is a good idea - but for now, get a university job in China and see if you like teaching - or the idea of it - and then you can get the CELTA which is a massive help in teaching business English classes in places like Hong Kong and Singapore.

If you fancy teaching university classes in China, CELTA is a waste of time. I would get your feet wet and get some experience before heading off to Hong Kong. As far as I can see though, all your long term plans are very viable. Good luck! Very Happy
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