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Leaving the academic track to teach English, good programs?

 
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animalsanimals



Joined: 15 Jan 2014
Posts: 1
Location: United States

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:33 am    Post subject: Leaving the academic track to teach English, good programs? Reply with quote

I'm a recent US college grad with a degree in a reading/writing intensive area (not an English or linguistics major, though), currently in the first year of a combined MA/PhD program in the same field of study. But I am considering leaving for various reasons, and teaching ESL is one of my alternative options.

I have about 6 months of experience volunteer teaching ESL on a weekly basis (this was years ago) and a year working as a computer instructor to English learners at a school in the US for immigrants and refugees. Both of these experiences were teaching adults. I have not had any teaching responsibilities yet as a grad student.

1. Could there be any advantage to continuing my grad studies for a second year to get a Master's degree, even if it's unrelated to ESL? Or for that matter, any disadvantage for my resume to leaving a grad program without getting a degree, for teaching ESL or for any other kind of work? (I have a fellowship covering all my tuition/living expenses right now, so I wouldn't accrue any more student debt by staying.)

2. I want to get certified with TEFL or CELTA before I start. I'm aware I could teach in South Korea or China right now just with a BA, but I definitely would not feel prepared without some real instruction and more hands-on experience. I'm not sure whether a TEFL or CELTA is better for me. I've only taught adults before, but I'm not opposed to teaching kids either. Right now I feel like I would like to teach in Vietnam or in Latin America, but I have particular commitments yet.

3. I haven't done much research but I found these programs in locations that I like, and was wondering if they are any good:

Dunham Institute TEFL certificate in Chiapas, Mexico
International House CELTA in Bogotá or Medellin, Colombia
Cambridge CELTA in Bogotá

Any other good programs in Bogotá, Medellin, or Mexico City?

4. I'd also like to improve my Spanish from very, very bad to okay. Are there programs for getting a TEFL/CELTA while learning Spanish as well?

Thanks!
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3832
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

animalsanimals wrote:
1. Could there be any advantage to continuing my grad studies for a second year to get a Master's degree, even if it's unrelated to ESL? Or for that matter, any disadvantage for my resume to leaving a grad program without getting a degree, for teaching ESL or for any other kind of work? (I have a fellowship covering all my tuition/living expenses right now, so I wouldn't accrue any more student debt by staying.)

The disadvantage of leaving your grad program is that there's no guarantee you'll receive any "credit" for having completed some grad-level coursework. In other words, potential employers are likely to see you as just another BA degree holder, which, by the way, is quickly becoming the absolute minimum requirement for legal employment abroad.

I suggest you finish your MA, especially since you're in the enviable position of not accruing additional student debt. You might also check to see if there's a TESOL option, emphasis, or even graduate certificate at your university or another institution that you can tack onto your degree; it would really boost your employability for many regions throughout the world. You're halfway through the program so perhaps there's some flexibility as to which courses you can take.

also wrote:
2. I want to get certified with TEFL or CELTA before I start. I'm aware I could teach in South Korea or China right now just with a BA, but I definitely would not feel prepared without some real instruction and more hands-on experience. I'm not sure whether a TEFL or CELTA is better for me. I've only taught adults before, but I'm not opposed to teaching kids either. Right now I feel like I would like to teach in Vietnam or in Latin America, but I have particular commitments yet.

3. I haven't done much research but I found these programs in locations that I like, and was wondering if they are any good:

Dunham Institute TEFL certificate in Chiapas, Mexico
International House CELTA in Bogotá or Medellin, Colombia
Cambridge CELTA in Bogotá

Any other good programs in Bogotá, Medellin, or Mexico City?

The CELTA is recognized by employers worldwide; the SIT TESOL and Trinity CertTESOL are also in that category of standardized, entry-level English language teaching qualifications. Plenty of info on all three on the Internet. There are some generic TEFL certs that, like the big 3, consist of 120 hours of onsite instruction and include supervised/observed teaching practice with real students. You'd have to decide which program fits your budget and teaching goals. Teacher training facilities can vary based on the type and level of support provided, facility amenities, cost, etc., so that will entail some research on your part. Anyway, check the country-specific forums for possible feedback on those particular training centers.

and lastly wrote:
4. I'd also like to improve my Spanish from very, very bad to okay. Are there programs for getting a TEFL/CELTA while learning Spanish as well?

The CELTA and similar cert courses are intensive; you won't have any time to take any sort of lessons on the side. Wait until you settle into your target country before tackling that goal.
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1831

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You want your degree. Both for TEFL and for the possibility that your career may change in the future.

TEFL is a generic term for this type of training. The brands with the most international recognition are CELTA and Trinity TESOL.
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seattlechaz



Joined: 13 Feb 2012
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Given your background, you might consider getting a Cambridge DELTA or Trinity DipTESOL.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3832
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

seattlechaz wrote:
Given your background, you might consider getting a Cambridge DELTA or Trinity DipTESOL.

Not without gaining a few years of TEFL experience first; the OP only has 6 months of experience as a volunteer teacher, and that was years ago. That's probably why he/she is posting in the newbie forum.
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The Morphodite



Joined: 05 Mar 2014
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't leave your degree, no matter what. I was in the same position as you a number of years ago. I ended up completing my degree, and then getting a CELTA. This was the best move I ever made. The post-grad. qualifications, while not directly related to teaching English, give me considerable 'pull' and credibility in my school. The CELTA gave me a great start in my teaching career, as well as a lot more confidence standing in front of a class than I had before I did it.
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sparks



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 501

PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll join the chorus of members telling you to finish your degree first and light-heartedly pose the question: Are you mad? You have your degree paid for, finish it. You have the rest of your life to fiddle about in the world of Tefl if that's what you want. Do the Ph.D. in a few years you'll have a significant qualification which could open unknown doors to you. Tefl will be here.
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MotherF



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1116
Location: 1748'N 9746'W

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Mexico you might want to also look into the SIT TESOL cert.

http://www.sit.edu/graduate/tesol_loc_la_oaxaca.cfm
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