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First Timer Jobs in the Middle East?
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jaylondre



Joined: 03 Jan 2017
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 2:20 am    Post subject: First Timer Jobs in the Middle East? Reply with quote

Hi All,
this is my first time posting on this forum (or any internet forum for that matter) so I'll ask for your collective patience and forgiveness in advance in case I make any faux pas here.

I'm coming to the end of my university degree and am considering pursuing a job teaching ESL abroad after graduating. Ideally, I would like to go to the Middle East, but have been reading some of the discussions on that forum and understand that in the post-peak oil economy this may not really be possible as I don't have any teaching experience, only have a Bachelor's Degree, am a male and don't have a northern hemisphere English accent. Given this would it be better for me to focus on teaching in Asia/Latin America (an if so, where is best) first to gain experience and then to look to the Middle East after that?

Also, even though I don't have a teaching/English language orientated degree, would it help that I am completing a law degree and another degree in which I studied Arabic as my major?

Finally, as I am intending to complete a CELTA later this year I was wondering if any of you experienced contributors out there had any advice on how to get the most out of this qualification? Specifically, I am looking for tips on how best to balance this certificate with the rigours of everyday life (as I am intending to do the course whilst also completing my final semester of law school) ad if there is anything you wish someone had told you before you did your CELTA?

Thank you in advance for your help and apologies for the length of this post. Also, I understand that it's poor form not to reply to any answers given on these forums, so I will endeavour to reply to any advice given, however, between law and CELTA my time may be quite restricted so my responses may be quite late coming.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 10954
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's unclear if you plan to teach short term or postpone a career in law.

Anyway, check out current TEFL ads for the Mid East (mainly Saudi Arabia) for requirements; unrelated degrees and Arabic language skills won't substitute for a lack of teaching experience and a newly-minted CELTA. So yes, set your sights on Asia or Latin America to gain your first few years of experience. (Head to those forums for more info.) Whether you would subsequently qualify for a job in KSA depends on what the requirements are at that time.

FYI: The CELTA is an intensive, 4-week course that will require your full attention and time. I suggest you finish your degree and then take the course or the equivalent, preferably in whatever Asian or Latin Am. country you plan to teach in.
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Kowloon



Joined: 11 Jan 2016
Posts: 120

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My gut instinct says stay in your home country and do a Master (relevant to TESOL) right away. You will need one to teach in the ME anyway and it needs to be completed entirely on campus. MA TESOL (or Applied Linguistics) + Two BAs (one in Arabic) + a CELTA would set you up very nicely for a long career in that region. Add a couple of years experience on top and you're good to go.

*This advice is based on the assumption that you are anxious to be in the Middle East over anything else considering you took a BA in the language.

** I have zero experience in the Middle East so what I've posted could be complete rubbish.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 10954
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kowloon wrote:
My gut instinct says stay in your home country and do a Master (relevant to TESOL) right away. You will need one to teach in the ME anyway and it needs to be completed entirely on campus. MA TESOL (or Applied Linguistics) + Two BAs (one in Arabic) + a CELTA would set you up very nicely for a long career in that region. Add a couple of years experience on top and you're good to go.

Ditto Kowloon's points if you're looking to teach in the Gulf in the next 4 to 5 years and are willing to 1) get an on-campus MA TESOL (as another master's degree?), and 2) gain a few years of post-MA experience. Just be aware that salaries and benefits have been declining in the region, and there's a push for qualified nationals to replace expats.

As for a BA in Arabic, the reason it doesn't add anything to your CV is because there are many bilingual Arabic-English speakers from the west (i.e., US/UK/Oz/Canadian born and raised) as well as from the Arab world teaching EFL in the Gulf. Plus, employers generally want teachers to use only English in the classroom. However, Arabic is quite useful for day-to-day dealings with staff, drivers, shopkeepers, etc., although English is widely spoken in the Gulf.
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jaylondre



Joined: 03 Jan 2017
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the quick replies Nomad Soul and Kowloon. I should clarify, in my country, you can do law as an undergraduate and in a double degree, so I'll have a BA and an LLB (not that this probably makes a difference regardless to my Middle Eat jobs prospects). Would something like this though improve my chances in Asia or Latin America?

Also, regarding the CELTA, I will be taking it part-time over the course of 3 months, as such would this change your initial advice regarding managing this workload in conjunction with a law degree?
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jaylondre



Joined: 03 Jan 2017
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh and to add to your post Nomad Soul about English being widely spoken in the Gulf, my experience travelling in that region is that given how thick my accent is it's sometimes easier on everyone if we just revert to Arabic (though of course, I would be teaching in my best Queen's English in a classroom environment). However, in saying that I have never actually been to the KSA so the level of English there is probably a lot better than in the places where I have visited.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1534
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 5:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you out of your noodle? Be a lawyer. You'll get stuck in TEFL and it's a long road of misery, pot luck and being treated shabbily (in general). I left a really well-paid banking job 20 years ago tot travel. Still teaching. I've been in the Middle East and North Africa for almost 20 years.

Be a lawyer.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 10954
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jaylondre wrote:
I should clarify, in my country, you can do law as an undergraduate and in a double degree.
....

Also, regarding the CELTA, I will be taking it part-time over the course of 3 months, as such would this change your initial advice regarding managing this workload in conjunction with a law degree?
....

Given how thick my accent is it's sometimes easier on everyone if we just revert to Arabic (though of course, I would be teaching in my best Queen's English in a classroom environment).

You've not indicated your nationality nor if you're a native speaker. If your passport isn't from the US, UK, Canada, etc., you may find it hard to secure legal work in the countries you're interested in.

As for doing the CELTA part time, you'd have to figure out how much time you can devote to it since no one here knows your school schedule, study habits, other commitments, and so on. The CELTA course provider would be able to best answer that question for you.
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Hod



Joined: 28 Apr 2003
Posts: 1613
Location: Home

PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dragonpiwo wrote:
Are you out of your noodle? Be a lawyer. You'll get stuck in TEFL and it's a long road of misery, pot luck and being treated shabbily (in general). I left a really well-paid banking job 20 years ago tot travel. Still teaching. I've been in the Middle East and North Africa for almost 20 years.

Be a lawyer.


I agree 99%.

If you go into TEFL now, you'll likely lose out on any law opportunities. Get some experience in law first and then maybe think about TEFLing. You could even go back to law after a few years teaching. Don't do TEFL yet.
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Ferto



Joined: 01 Feb 2016
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmmmm... Law or TEFL, which route to go?

Well, from my understanding, the number of jobs available to new lawyers has been in decline for years. Technology is taking is toll there too.

I totally agree that you should get an MA in TESOL or Applied Linguistics and do it now.

The TEFL job market overseas is changing fast, but there are still a lot of jobs and opportunities.
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Hod



Joined: 28 Apr 2003
Posts: 1613
Location: Home

PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ferto wrote:
Well, from my understanding, the number of jobs available to new lawyers has been in decline for years..


If that's true, what more encouragement does one need to go into law? Lawyers, solicitors, etc, will always be in huge demand, and I can't see any factors such as technological advances or cheap overseas labour ever changing that, which can't be said for many jobs including teaching.

Doing law first gives you two options in life. Doing TEFL first gives you one.

Believe me. I’ve seen the faces in the staffroom when someone leaves to start a new career.
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Ferto



Joined: 01 Feb 2016
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Technology will affect the number of law jobs available.

I am thinking in particular of the new kinds of software programs that do a lot of the work done by lawyers.

See: The Future of Employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation?

Other basic web searches will indicate how vulnerable law jobs are to technology. And that is without even taking about the basic oversupply of lawyers already in the system. I believe it has leveled out a little in the last couple of years, though.

Again, why an MA in TESOL.

Simple. Jobs, lots of them. And Opportunities.

I'd put my money on the MA n TESOL right now.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1534
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 4:10 pm    Post subject: erm Reply with quote

I'm with Hod on this. Ferto, please don't ever get a job advising people. The MA TESOL etc might...might get you a job which pays $70,000/ year. As a lawyer, you'll earn way more than that, be safe in your old age and be well regarded and treated as such.

As a TEFLer, you'll be treated like dog crap, have stepping stone jobs and generally regret it as soon as ral life begins ie wife/kids/mortgage/school fees/illness.

Don't do it.

I make $100,000 without an MA in TEFL. Don't throw your dosh away. Follow Hod's advice to the letter.
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reblair79



Joined: 15 Jan 2016
Posts: 103

PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 5:49 pm    Post subject: Re: erm Reply with quote

dragonpiwo wrote:

As a TEFLer, you'll be treated like dog crap, have stepping stone jobs and generally regret it as soon as ral life begins ie wife/kids/mortgage/school fees/illness.

Don't do it.

I make $100,000 without an MA in TEFL. Don't throw your dosh away. Follow Hod's advice to the letter.


As a newbie who is excited about opportunities to travel and immerse myself in different cultures while helping people learn English, it would be nice to hear a few positive stories from folk. I'd like to think not everyone has had such a negative experience teaching English as the above person.
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Hod



Joined: 28 Apr 2003
Posts: 1613
Location: Home

PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not meant to be negative at all. I'd recommend TEFL to everyone. It's just that TEFL can be taken up at any time of life whereas this won't the case with law. To keep both options open, I say law first and TEFL later.

If I recall, you were in the Royal Navy? I don't know what your trade was, but isn't that something to fall back on? TEFL can have big downsides such as money and burnout, and it is so important to be able to do something else if need be.

If a school leaver or new graduate asked you about the RN or TEFLing, would you really tell them to go TEFLing? You need to bear in mind upper age limits for the RN, and I'm pretty sure this applies to new law jobs.
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