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IF I had it to do over, I would not enter into ESL teaching.
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Hemlock32



Joined: 14 Apr 2017
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will say, I worked in Chile for four years and it was the best four years of my life. I am just starting my career, and besides coming back to the US to get my degree, I really don't wish to be here, and I am glad to be moving to the mideast to check out life over there for at least a year and maybe more. Cross-cultural experiences are the best. Living in another country means you're always on an adventure. Living in Chile I have never felt freer in my life.
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1st Sgt Welsh



Joined: 13 Dec 2010
Posts: 946
Location: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some interesting contributions here so I thought I'd just add my own two cents, based on about seven years' experience in the industry.

Firstly, it should be acknowledged that the industry has changed dramatically over time. One of my first TEFL bosses had had a very varied and well-paid career. He had worked all over the world, for good employers, and was always well-remunerated. He had a BA and a CELTA. Those days are over. He would not be able to accomplish what he did now with those qualifications, or at least I don't think so.

The second thing I'll add, and this has been commented on by others, is that you have to be prepared to invest in your academic credentials. If you want to take a few years off, experience living abroad for a while and then come home to do something else then that's a different matter. However, please understand that, these days, an unrelated degree and a TEFL certificate will only take you so far and it is getting more competitive all the time.

However, having said that, I don't accept that the industry is a dead-end in terms of career. Getting my teaching certification/PGCE was, financially, one of the better decision I've made. When you take into account the free accommodation that I get, my tax-free salary and my bonuses, I'm currently on what would be considered a six-figure package back in Australia and that will go up every year. I wouldn't have got this job without my TEFL experience. Don't get me wrong, it's not all peaches and cream, but, the same could be said for any job.

This industry, and, dare I say, this forum, have, IMHO, plenty of teachers who have the entry-level qualifications to secure employment, but, for whatever reason, do not invest the time and money to improve themselves professionally, work for years in the same sort of position/s and then tell anyone who will listen that the TEFL industry is a joke and offers no real future. For them, that may be true and, if you are one of those people who just want to go from language school to language school and see the world then that's fine. However, it's like any other industry. If you want to financially get ahead, you've got to single yourself a bit from the herd. The opportunities are still out there, but, you've got to make yourself desirable to the employers that offer them. Anyway, like I said, that's just my two cents.
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yurii



Joined: 12 Jan 2017
Posts: 104

PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1st Sgt Welsh wrote:
Some interesting contributions here so I thought I'd just add my own two cents, based on about seven years' experience in the industry...


Interesting contribution!

Quote:
Getting my teaching certification/PGCE was, financially, one of the better decision I've made.


So are you currently teaching your subject specialism or EFL?

Hemlock32 wrote:
I will say, I worked in Chile for four years and it was the best four years of my life. I am just starting my career, and besides coming back to the US to get my degree, I really don't wish to be here, and I am glad to be moving to the mideast to check out life over there for at least a year and maybe more. Cross-cultural experiences are the best. Living in another country means you're always on an adventure. Living in Chile I have never felt freer in my life.


Why, apart from feeling free? I talked to a Chilean working in a local state school. Basically she's burning out working in primary with 37 hours of lessons and 2 hours of meetings each week along with all the planning she needs to do each week. All that for a little over 1,000 USD. I wouldn't do it. She barely has a life.

I couldn't imagine 37 hours of actual lessons. I imagine the average hours in a school (for actual lessons) would be between 20 and 25. In my current school I do 20 hours of lessons (well 20 x 55 minute lessons but it's counted as an hour).
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1st Sgt Welsh



Joined: 13 Dec 2010
Posts: 946
Location: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi yurri. I'm currently teaching English to non-native speakers in Bruneian state schools. My teaching specializations for the PGCE are History and English. The curriculum here is British (IGCSE, A and O Level). Some of the more advanced secondary classes, in the top schools in the capital, are like teaching a regular English Lit class (or so I've heard), but, where I am, it's very much like EFL.
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1st Sgt Welsh



Joined: 13 Dec 2010
Posts: 946
Location: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Double post Embarassed.
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twowheel



Joined: 03 Jul 2015
Posts: 697

PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1st Sgt Welsh wrote:
However, having said that, I don't accept that the industry is a dead-end in terms of career. Getting my teaching certification/PGCE was, financially, one of the better decisions I've made.

However, it's like any other industry. If you want to financially get ahead, you've got to single yourself a bit from the herd. The opportunities are still out there, but, you've got to make yourself desirable to the employers that offer them.


I pretty much concur with everything that 1st Sgt Welsh wrote.

Similarly, I consider getting my M.A. in TESOL to be one of the better professional decisions that I have made; because of it, more interesting and challenging work and better pay keep coming in. That pool hasn't dried up at all.

If I had to do it all over again, I very likely would do it the same way and still go into TESOL.

Warm regards,
twowheel
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Hemlock32



Joined: 14 Apr 2017
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hemlock32 wrote:
I will say, I worked in Chile for four years and it was the best four years of my life. I am just starting my career, and besides coming back to the US to get my degree, I really don't wish to be here, and I am glad to be moving to the mideast to check out life over there for at least a year and maybe more. Cross-cultural experiences are the best. Living in another country means you're always on an adventure. Living in Chile I have never felt freer in my life.


Why, apart from feeling free? I talked to a Chilean working in a local state school. Basically she's burning out working in primary with 37 hours of lessons and 2 hours of meetings each week along with all the planning she needs to do each week. All that for a little over 1,000 USD. I wouldn't do it. She barely has a life.

I couldn't imagine 37 hours of actual lessons. I imagine the average hours in a school (for actual lessons) would be between 20 and 25. In my current school I do 20 hours of lessons (well 20 x 55 minute lessons but it's counted as an hour).[/quote]

Yes, you need to realize the public vs. private sector experience. In the public schools, K-12, resources, good teachers, classrooms, class sizes, and other essentials really do not exist. Teachers work tirelessly for a pittance and they hardly can make over 1500 dollars a month. I worked in this area for a year and a half as a volunteer in the South. It was fun at the beginning but once part of my school burned down and I began teaching in the hallway, I realized it was time to move on. In any case, I benefited personally from doing my own lesson plans and thinking about goals, SWBAT, etc.

That is when I started working in the private sector. Here, I changed my tune a bit and got to see a better picture of what it meant to be a language teacher. I worked with adults, business professionals, and university students. The money fluctuated, but I had so much time off to do whatever I wanted. That is what I mean by my freest time of my life. I could organize my time in a way that wasn't controlled by an institute. I left to the beach in minutes. I could pick up a new recipe and cook new things. I had all sorts of rendevouzes. I wasn't so career-driven in the way we Americans think of it. I didn't need a car and I didn't need to dedicate myself to the day after day of running up and down the endless anthill of cars and traffic jams. This is just a glimpse of my freedom as I recall it. I was free from the American dream.
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twowheel



Joined: 03 Jul 2015
Posts: 697

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hemlock32 wrote:
That is what I mean by my freest time of my life. I could organize my time in a way that wasn't controlled by an institute. I left to the beach in minutes. I could pick up a new recipe and cook new things. I had all sorts of rendevouzes. I wasn't so career-driven in the way we Americans think of it. I didn't need a car and I didn't need to dedicate myself to the day after day of running up and down the endless anthill of cars and traffic jams. This is just a glimpse of my freedom as I recall it. I was free from the American dream.


+1

...and that there above is a nice dream come true. Cool

Warm regards,
twowheel
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RunItTwice



Joined: 17 May 2018
Posts: 33
Location: Scotland...for now

PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2018 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TEFL is what you make of it. In my opinion, it's best as either a job to hold onto for a gap year or a career where you're looking to progress. Holding a middle ground position by keeping an entry-level job for the rest of your life is a waste of time to me. For others, having a career might not be of interest and that's good for them. My former roommate has been an English teacher for 15 years but also gets a share of his salary as a musician who performs at pubs and private parties around the city he lives in. At no point he has craved a teaching workload higher than the 20 hours he has now.

I'm much younger than most of the people here. So, I don't know all of what they know. But it seems to me that continuous professional development isn't a phrase tossed around as a joke. If you want to make a living doing this, getting a MA TESOL, DELTA, and possibly more is a requirement not a recommendation. If you want to do it on the side and your passion lies elsewhere, that can be done as well. TEFL is what you make of it.
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schwa



Joined: 12 Oct 2003
Posts: 164
Location: yap

PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

EFL reshaped my life.


As Y2K loomed I was 46, dead-ended in a blue collar job in Canada with zip in the bank. I had, however, started university just for fun in my mid-30s & five years later emerged with an MA (Eng Lit). I took a chance on Korea.


Two years in a chain hagwon then a fortuitous opening with EPIK in my adoptive small city there. That turned into 13 more years. I never upgraded my creds but rose through the ranks, achieved a modicum of fame in my rural province, & left in 2015 when I hit the official age limit. I'm financially set for the rest of my life, not rich but ample.


I love teaching & didn't want to stop. I've since been working for three years in a public high school on Yap Island in Micronesia & recently signed up for another two. I've found my perfect niche. TEFL is a shifting field but viable if your heart is in it.
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getbehindthemule



Joined: 15 Oct 2015
Posts: 712
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My story is a little bit similar to schwa above, but in it's infancy!
I had worked in Science most of my life and love the subject. But the work that I found myself being good at (in industry) was destroying my soul. I found myself in my mid-30s going down a path that I detested deep inside.
So I took a chance on moving to Shanghai in Summer 2014 to try and combine my love of Science with TELF. I've being teaching Science to Chinese kids since and currenly in my fifth contract year.
Reasons such as; very light workload, relatively stress free compared with previous positions, only working approx 8 months of the year, ability to travel, ability to save, my students and colleagues have made it a no-brainer to stick at it for the short-medium term at least.
It was the best decision of my life I can now safely say looking back!

So in agreement with schwa, moving down the TEFL path has totally reshaped my life and I'm forever grateful for that!
How long will I stick at it and what does the future hold?
Who knows, but at least it wont be boring eh!
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Unheard Utterance



Joined: 02 Aug 2018
Posts: 55
Location: On the road

PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My 2 cents.

I think most people fall into TEFL as they think that teaching and travelling is going to fill the void in their lives. They go from working in an office/factory/supermarket with unsatisfactory lives and hope that escaping that scenario is going to be changed by uprooting themselves and magically reinventing themselves into a new person; starting all over again as it were.

However, after a number of years of living in possibly several countries, they find themselves in a very low status indeed; an English teacher; categorised as a loser/misfit/ poverty-stricken person with a very low skillset. Where do they fit in in the world?

Meanwhile, their friends and family move on with life; buying houses, starting families, having "normal" lives with a place to call home. They don't care much for hearing stories of 15 hour bus journeys in Myanmar, or having dysentery on the way to the deserts of Rajasthan. The TEFLer finally realizes that life has passed them by, and they have to swallow the bitter pill that they're a TEFL lifer and that life will never be the same again; no home; no home base apart from their elderly parents' home and that they'll have to be frugal for the rest of their life.

There are those who've done very well through TEFL, and good luck to them, but I think that most TEFLers are single, childless and not facing up to life's realities. TEFL is good for introverts who sit and live on online forums, or those who don't really need much in life; however, if you get to a certain age and decide you want a bit of luxury, the life of TEFL really hits home.

I've done reasonably well through TEFL, but the days of "discovering myself" and teaching for the "adventure" are well and truly over. It's all about the cash for the next 10 years. With a bit of luck, I'll be able to retire early and live "frugally" in a tropical place with an easy retirement visa process.
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getbehindthemule



Joined: 15 Oct 2015
Posts: 712
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

UU, your outlook is horrible and what is wrong with society these days imo - keeping up with the Jones, caring what other people think, etc.

Why shouldn't one escape their 'unsatisfactory lives' as you put it?

'categorised as a loser/misfit/ poverty-stricken person with a very low skillset. Where do they fit in in the world?'
lol, by whom, morons that's who!

'I think that most TEFLers are single, childless and not facing up to life's realities.TEFL is good for introverts who sit and live on online forums, or those who don't really need much in life'
Most teachers I know have a great social life, many like myself are married and some have kids.
As for not needing much in life! Well I've never been as happy not needing trivial things, being able to travel and save more than in a 'career job' back home.

Each to their own I guess but felt your post was far too negative, sure it may apply to some but there's a much bigger picture than the one painted by you! Just my 2 cents. Good luck to you.
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RedLightning



Joined: 08 Aug 2015
Posts: 134
Location: United States

PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first year working abroad I remember talking to an older colleague who had been in the game for well over 10 years.
He had no regrets, telling me that whenever he did visit home, his old friends and family were doing the exact same thing they had been doing years before( work, pay bills, broke, work, pay bills, broke, etc.).

Throughout time there have always been travelers and foreigners, which to me suggests that some of us are simply more inclined to a life on the road
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Unheard Utterance



Joined: 02 Aug 2018
Posts: 55
Location: On the road

PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

getbehindthemule wrote:
UU, your outlook is horrible and what is wrong with society these days imo - keeping up with the Jones, caring what other people think, etc.

Why shouldn't one escape their 'unsatisfactory lives' as you put it?

'categorised as a loser/misfit/ poverty-stricken person with a very low skillset. Where do they fit in in the world?'
lol, by whom, morons that's who!

'I think that most TEFLers are single, childless and not facing up to life's realities.TEFL is good for introverts who sit and live on online forums, or those who don't really need much in life'
Most teachers I know have a great social life, many like myself are married and some have kids.
As for not needing much in life! Well I've never been as happy not needing trivial things, being able to travel and save more than in a 'career job' back home.

Each to their own I guess but felt your post was far too negative, sure it may apply to some but there's a much bigger picture than the one painted by you! Just my 2 cents. Good luck to you.


May I ask how old you are? When I was in my late 20s, I had a completely different outlook than I do today. Teach-travel-party-travel...what a life!

I think a lot of younger people think that life is going to just magically happen for them; they'll be able to retire and live like anyone else. How many TEFL jobs have a pension plan set up?

Generally speaking, TEFL is not something you get into for the money; it's a lifestyle thing. Most people who do well have their own business or have a teaching license. How many cashed-up TEFLers do you know? Most live a frugal existence or spend money without a care in the world. This will come back to bite them in the future when they are skint.

TEFL allows you to travel, does it? Well so does factory work, being a vet, being a policeman or any job in which you have the disposable income to spend on plane tickets and hotels. Why people say that "TEFL allows me to travel" is beyond me.

Most of the people who I've met (in over ten years of doing this) who enjoy TEFL are people in their 20's and early 30s. It's still quite novel, and they enjoy the adventure and social aspect. Rarely do I hear them say that they enjoy teaching, the office they work in and other work-related things. It's usually the "freedom", "adventure", "food" and "lifestyle".

What I'm talking about is that if one wants to get out of TEFL, due to general weariness of being abroad, due to one year contracts; it isn't as easy as you think unless you want to get into massive debt by retraining. If one wants to elevate themselves from humble "English teacher", then reality hits home.
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