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Not sure, but thinking about teaching English

 
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lsanders490



Joined: 16 Dec 2013
Posts: 2
Location: Atlanta, GA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 4:09 pm    Post subject: Not sure, but thinking about teaching English Reply with quote

I am considering teaching abroad but honestly don't know whether it is the right move for me. This website has been a great resource. Many of my questions have been answered in reading the forums but I have a few remaining.

I am a 46 years old U.S. native, with a liberal arts BA (political science) and a law degree (JD). I have lots of experience practicing law, as well as 10 years experience teaching oral and written advocacy skills at a top tier U.S. law school. I have no experience teaching ESL and don't have a TEFL certificate yet. I intend to get a certificate before looking for a job teaching overseas.

1. China or Korea or somewhere else? It seems like China and Korea are the best options for someone with my experience. I'd be interested in SE Asia, especially Thailand, but it seems like these countries are much more challenging. Between Korea and China, it seems like I may have more options in China, whereas in Korea I will likely teach all ages in a private institution. I think I'd like to work with young adults in a university setting, and it seems like there are more of these opportunities in China. Is this an accurate assessment? Am I making a mistake by limiting my search to university jobs?

2. Teaching certificate at home, abroad, or not at all? A few people over on the China board indicate that I can get a job teaching in China without any certifications, but I'd like to get some training before trying to teach. Oxford Seminars offers a 6-day (3 weekends) course, but it does not appear to be equivalent to CELTA/Trinity. Does anyone here have any specific experience with this certification? Is it worth it? Or else, there are two local universities with TEFL certificate programs (120 or 140 hours), but both take 6 months to complete. My other option is to go overseas for a 3-week intensive TEFL certification. Aside from the timing, is there any advantage to training overseas? Several posters on this board have recommended this route, but I don't see much advantage to it. I think I'd like to have all my ducks in a row (certification, job contract, etc.) before leaving the U.S.

3. Do employers really want a copy of my diploma? Reading job postings, I see that employers routinely want a copies of diplomas. Are they talking about the parchment certificate that some people frame and hang on their wall, or something else? I have not seen my college diploma since the day I graduated back in 1989. I'm sure I can lay my hands on it if I need to, but I just want to be sure.

4. Is there a hiring season? When do I need to apply if I want to begin teaching in the fall? Or else, to put it a little differently, if I have my TEFL certificate and am ready to go in June, when can I realistically expect to begin working?

5. Will I encounter age discrimination? I've read the post about the age of teachers and it does not seem like my age will be an issue. On the other hand, I've seen several references to Korean and Chinese employers discriminating against older applicants. What's the story here?

Thanks so much for the help. I really appreciate an input y'all can offer.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9441
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Tue Dec 17, 2013 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
2. Teaching certificate at home, abroad, or not at all? A few people over on the China board indicate that I can get a job teaching in China without any certifications, but I'd like to get some training before trying to teach. Oxford Seminars offers a 6-day (3 weekends) course, but it does not appear to be equivalent to CELTA/Trinity. Does anyone here have any specific experience with this certification? Is it worth it? Or else, there are two local universities with TEFL certificate programs (120 or 140 hours), but both take 6 months to complete. My other option is to go overseas for a 3-week intensive TEFL certification. Aside from the timing, is there any advantage to training overseas? Several posters on this board have recommended this route, but I don't see much advantage to it. I think I'd like to have all my ducks in a row (certification, job contract, etc.) before leaving the U.S.



I can't speak to the Asian market, so my input here is general.

The key component of CELTA and equivalent training courses is supervised teaching practice with real students. The Oxford Seminars course falls short in this respect; that is why it would not be considered equal to a CELTA.

The advantages to taking a cert course in country include:
Your practice teaching students will really be representative of those you'll be working with when you start (students in a US based course are likely to be from a range of countries and a multi-lingual classroom is quite different in some respects to a monolingual one).
Your fellow trainees can form your first social network in country.
Training centres can give you invaluable info regarding reputable local employers.

It's probably more useful to take a course in-country if you are targeting a country where most hiring does not take place sight-unseen from abroad, but the above apply most everywhere.

Good luck.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3966
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lsanders490 wrote:
I am a 46 years old U.S. native, with a liberal arts BA (political science) and a law degree (JD). I have lots of experience practicing law, as well as 10 years experience teaching oral and written advocacy skills at a top tier U.S. law school.

Just a thought... New York University-Abu Dhabi (NYU AD) often hires writing faculty for its writing center. Ditto for other unis in the UAE. It might be worth it to give nyuad.nyu.edu, higheredjobs.com and chronicle.com a look.

and wrote:
Do employers really want a copy of my diploma? Reading job postings, I see that employers routinely want a copies of diplomas. Are they talking about the parchment certificate that some people frame and hang on their wall, or something else? I have not seen my college diploma since the day I graduated back in 1989. I'm sure I can lay my hands on it if I need to, but I just want to be sure.

Yes, they're referring to your actual diploma. Expect to provide a copy (or show your original diploma) to employers regardless of which country you apply in. Some employers require a copy of your transcripts as well.

lastly wrote:
Will I encounter age discrimination? I've read the post about the age of teachers and it does not seem like my age will be an issue. On the other hand, I've seen several references to Korean and Chinese employers discriminating against older applicants. What's the story here?

I've noticed the topic of age discrimination in Asia often pops up. As such, a good strategy would be to head to China or wherever for your TEFL training for the reasons Spiral listed. You'd already be in country to meet face-to-face with potential employers, especially in cities where the demand for teachers is big. Check out the Cafe's country-specific forums for advice from those already teaching in your target areas.
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teenoso



Joined: 18 Sep 2013
Posts: 242
Location: east china

PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think taking the CELTA/Trinity course will help you decide whether you want to teach English abroad. What are your motives for considering this change? If you are looking to wind down, reduce stress, have some adventure , and have a meaningful job , it may make sense. If you are looking for a challenging career move , then not so much so.

The job market in China has some age-restrictions, but only about 60 y old + applicants; some Chinese schools, and Unis actually welcome and keep their older teachers.
I would not advise doing the CELTA/Trinity course in China, though, because all providers here are new relatively , and may not have adequate external quality control.
Also bear in mind, the CELTA etc. training is not a very good preparation for the large-class teaching you will find in Chinese Unis and high schools. (according to those on the China forum who have the qualification.) Many teachers in China don't have any real EFL /ESL training.

One of the reasons I chose to teach in China , was because of the opportunities to teach at Uni level , to young adults. I don't teach, and have never taught, children.
But the Chinese system of uni education is much less relaxed than in the UK/US, and so things like attendance, class management , physical class layout , etc. are probably more like secondary school level teaching in the West.

As another poster suggested, there may be real mileage in promoting yourself as a lecturer/teacher in law/legal English . Jobs will be scarcer , but much higher paying, and possibly more interesting .
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3966
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

teenoso wrote:
As another poster suggested, there may be real mileage in promoting yourself as a lecturer/teacher in law/legal English . Jobs will be scarcer , but much higher paying, and possibly more interesting.

For clarification, my suggestion was to focus on teaching academic writing in a wider context---not as a lecturer in legal English. However, if you're thinking about pursuing a position teaching law or legal English abroad, the topic was recently discussed in "Any US Lawyers teaching English out there?" (http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=104663).
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1835

PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do not do one of these 3 day courses. People who do them never do well at teaching English to foreigners, which has a distinctive range of necessary skills (the gift of the gab is useful but only part of it all). You really want to four week intensive course; the CELTA and Trinity TESOL are the ones recognised by pretty much all employers. They give you a good start, although you will still need to develop.
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D-M



Joined: 30 Nov 2013
Posts: 79

PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ill add some info from my China-perspective.

Chinese university and vocational college oral English teaching jobs can be very very hit or miss. They represent the bottom of the barrel for lots of TEFL work in China IMO. The teacher training and syllabus may often be nothing more than the instruction 'just make them speak English', and support and mentoring is unlikely. Add to this mix large classes sizes that you dont really see frequently, and a range of students in each class from fluent and confident speakers to people who cant count to ten in English ... A lot of these jobs are just about crowd control / being goofy and damage limitation. That isnt too say some teaching and learning cant take place, but its not a given. (Non-believers can just read some of the many threads in the China forum to confirm a lot of the above is true).

A CELTA or Trinity is a great investment, and very worthwhile. But one also has to be realistic. If you are teaching Chinese teenagers in the above setting, what you learn on a CELTA (which is geared towards teaching small classes of adult learners, Chinese uni students are NOT adults) may not transfer too well. To get the most out of that basic teacher training you need to follow up with employment that allows you to continue to learn and develop your skills. If you are set on working in that sector in China ... the CELTA might not be the best use of your time and money.

Another thing to consider about training in-country, and this is China specific ... the visa process tends to be far easier when done outside of China. Travelling into China on a tourist visa, and then changing later involves a trip outside China (this may or may not be on your own coin) and anecdotally at least ... some provinces insist this process can only be done in your home country. So its could be possible that to secure a legal visa, you need to make a trip back home again. That would be nuts. Chinese jobs tend to be best secured outside of China, unless you are experienced, in China and transferring jobs, All IMO
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Big Worm



Joined: 02 Jan 2011
Posts: 144

PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2014 2:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You would most likely regret your decision to leave a decent career for what will most likely be a glorified babysitting job...which is what a lot (most) esl jobs are, in asia at least.

If you aren't in a hurry, invest in some sort of teaching qualification in an area you'd like to teach. Night and day.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 728
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2014 9:39 am    Post subject: yep Reply with quote

Big worm's right.

Had I had the sense to stick to my first career, I wouldn't be facing the options I now have. Unless you've got a pot of money, don't go near ELT.
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