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Sunny places to teach ESL?

 
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kylevdr



Joined: 22 Dec 2013
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 4:41 pm    Post subject: Sunny places to teach ESL? Reply with quote

I'm interested in teaching English abroad after I graduate, but I'm having a hard time deciding where to do it. I'm looking for a place where it is usually sunny and warm. I'd also like to be near the water. A nice beach would be my first choice, but a large river or lake would be great too. I don't really care about living in a major city, but there should at least be one within reasonable visiting distance. I really like traveling and exploring, so I'd like to be reasonably close to some natural resources such as rainforests, mountains, lakes, or rivers.

Preferably the local language would be either Japanese or Mandarin Chinese, as I am interested in learning those languages. I like Japanese a little better, but Chinese would be fine.

Since I'll probably be going to Asia, I'd like to be able to experience some of their traditional culture. A few examples of things I like are their food, tea, architecture, gardens, painting, and calligraphy. I also enjoy playing go/weiqi. I imagine it will be easier to find people to play against in Asia. I enjoy some Manga/Anime and Sushi too, although I realize these are mainly Japanese.

I'm also interested in Central or South America, especially because I already speak decent Spanish. However, I have heard that it is difficult to find a good job there and that in general they do not pay very well.

A second question I have is how competitive the JET program is. I'm in the honors program, getting a double major, and my GPA is very high, but I don't have much experience teaching and I don't speak any Japanese. If I decide to go to Japan I will start studying it, though.

If it matters, I'm male, Caucasian, and American. My majors are Exercise Science and Spanish, and I'll graduate in the Spring of 2015.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3959
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're going about this backwards by focusing on the wrong criteria; keep in mind, you're heading abroad to teach/work and not for recreational purposes. You need to first determine where you can teach as a newbie with an unrelated BA and zero teaching experience. If you get a recognized, entry-level English language teaching qualification (e.g., CELTA, Trinity CertTESOL, SIT TESOL, or equivalent, generic TEFL cert), that will give you more locations and better job options. You can then make your choice from those countries based on warm weather, cultural experiences, language lessons, travel opportunities, etc. Anyway, focus on Asia for your first entry-level TEFL job. And definitely check out the country-specific forums; your questions have pretty much been asked and answered by other posters. By the way, you're not required to know the local language in order to teach EFL.
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kylevdr



Joined: 22 Dec 2013
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I'm going abroad to teach/work, but I'd like to enjoy my time there too. I'm just wondering where I should focus on looking.

I'm already planning on getting a teaching qualification, but I do have a question. How much is an on-site course valued over an online one? Are the job opportunities much better with an on-site course?

I know it's not required, but I would be personally interested in learning the language.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9329
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Come to Russia! Bask in the glory of the Workers' Paradise and the locals' sunny disposition!
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3959
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kylevdr wrote:
I'm already planning on getting a teaching qualification, but I do have a question. How much is an on-site course valued over an online one? Are the job opportunities much better with an on-site course?

Depending on the country (visa/work permit regulations) and employer preference, a TEFL cert isn't always required. However, online TEFL certs, athough a step above no training whatsoever, won't prepare you for teaching in a real classroom full of students. They also limit where you can teach and aren't likely to impress the better-paying employers. That said, except for being quick and cheap, online TEFL certs really have no value. As I mentioned in my previous post, a recognized, entry-level English language teaching qualification (e.g., CELTA, Trinity CertTESOL, SIT TESOL, or equivalent, generic TEFL cert) will give you better job options in more sunny, warm countries. A good onsite cert will entail at least 120 hours of instruction and include supervised/observed teaching practice with real students.

Although your qualifications would be fine for Japan and SK, both countries experience snow in certain parts of the country, so that obviously won't fit your "sunny and warm" criteria. Take a look at the countries listed on the Asia discussion forum; many of them only require a degree, plus fit your ideal climate. Ditto for South America, which pays less.

You don't graduate until 2015, so keep in mind, job qualifications could change by then. In the meantime, you have more than a year to do some thorough research about TEFL and your target countries. You'll find the Cafe's country-specific discussion forums a good place to start.
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rtm



Joined: 13 Apr 2007
Posts: 565
Location: US

PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 9:33 am    Post subject: Re: Sunny places to teach ESL? Reply with quote

kylevdr wrote:
Preferably the local language would be either Japanese or Mandarin Chinese, as I am interested in learning those languages.

That pretty much limits you to... Japan, China, and Taiwan. Coupled with your desire to teach in a sunny, warm paradisaical location, you're limiting yourself to only certain portions of each. For Japan, pretty much Okinawa and the Ogasawara Islands.

Quote:
A few examples of things I like are their food, tea, architecture, gardens, painting, and calligraphy. I also enjoy playing go/weiqi. I imagine it will be easier to find people to play against in Asia. I enjoy some Manga/Anime and Sushi too, although I realize these are mainly Japanese.

I'm not sure what these have to do with finding a teaching job.

Quote:
A second question I have is how competitive the JET program is. I'm in the honors program, getting a double major, and my GPA is very high, but I don't have much experience teaching and I don't speak any Japanese. If I decide to go to Japan I will start studying it, though.

Quite competitive, and it's gotten more so over the last few years. Definitely apply, but don't bank on JET alone. Also, potential employers generally don't care so much about things like 'honors program' and 'GPA'; they care more about what you know and what you can do, and how those will help you to do a job.

Quote:
I'll graduate in the Spring of 2015.

That gives you plenty of time to check out what TESOL options are available at your university (check the English, Linguistics, and Education departments). If you could add a TESOL certificate or TESOL minor, it would help, especially if it includes a practicum teaching real students. It also gives you time to get some experience by volunteering at your university's or community's ESL program.
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