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



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 1218
Location: Ecuador

PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had a pretty eclectic professional life. I've worked in, and with, a huge variety of fields. The one constant in all of them is that anyone who has been in the same field for say 10-15 + years will tell you that it's going to Hell in a handbasket and that they wouldn't recommend any newcomer going into it now. ESL, classroom teaching, academia, other educational settings, medicine, finance, architecture, retail, programming, agriculture, mining, trades, you name it.

If there is a career path out there where the majority of the old-hands say, "Yes, business is booming, things are better/easier/more profitable than they've ever been, this industry is a great career choice these days", I've yet to come across it.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1636
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:07 am    Post subject: hmmmm Reply with quote

The difference is that the vast majority of newly qualified TEFLers are saying it's shyte within 2 to 3 years not just the old timers.

Seriously though, it is a fact that all the well-paid oil gigs have gone and that unis the world over are giving less generous packages and that there are more TEFL teachers than ever. It's also a fact that language school rates have barely changed in 2 decades. It has nothing to do with opinion.

It's a poor career choice. If you don't want to conform, join a commune or the circus. In TEFL, you always have to conform.
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 1218
Location: Ecuador

PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 'vast majority', really? We must be mixing with very different newly qualified teachers.

Oil and gas contracts for mechanics and engineers have worse conditions, fewer benefits and worse pay than they used to have. That's not specific to English teaching. Same goes for universities, for academics now it's all adjunct positions and temporary contracts. It's very different to how it was 20 years ago. Same with international schools, it's still more stable and lucrative than English teaching, but nothing like it used to be.

Want to apprentice to be a plumber or a gas fitter? You still need basic qualifications and then you have to get a raft of extra certifications while you apprentice. The world has moved on.

The days of being able to leave school with minimal qualifications and get a reasonable job with some prospect of moving up are long gone. Now, the days of being able to leave uni with an average degree in an unrelated subject and walk into a good job are rapidly disappearing too.

Relative to other options, ESL is as good a choice as it's ever been if you get the qualifications to match the experience and keep building on them. If you start in an entry level position with minimal qualifications and do nothing to improve that, then you'll stay there, and it'll be a fairly miserable long term situation, but again, that's true for virtually every job now. It's not a special requirement for ESL.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1636
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 5:55 am    Post subject: hmm Reply with quote

The evidence is all around me having done this since the mid-90s. I've got countless broke friends and many are very well qualified. I can tell you from my experience ( taught in 7 countries, 23 years in, curriculum writer, have managed programmes, have consistently earned $90k a year, have worked in publishing blah blah blah) that EFL is a poor career choice. For every DoS there are 100 teachers, for everyone who 'makes' it 1000 don't. I have worked in the oil and gas industry for 20 years in training and learning and development and weep when I see the new contractors earning a third of what I'm on and living in the desert 4 days a week. Back home in Central Europe (I'm a Brit), most of my mates haven't got a pot to piss in and live more or less hand to mouth. Some didn't have kids, some are approaching 50 and don't own a home, most have no savings but most of them have worked hard and many have the CELTA, DELTA and MA. Most of them proofread, write, translate to make ends meet because the teaching barely pays.
And btw, teaching English in the oil and gas business is where you'll make the most money as a teacher except for 1 military contract I know of.
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twowheel



Joined: 03 Jul 2015
Posts: 686

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Voyeur wrote:
But for us veterans, the stereotypes often ring true, at least to some degree. There was some fatal 'flaw' that never really made a normal, Western career possible. In such cases, what do we really have ESL to compare to in order to regret it? Were we really capable of something else? (Not just intellectually, but in terms of other factors.)


This, indeed this.

I have been following this blossoming thread with great interest. Voyeur's words quoted above are the ones that really stood out to me. I resemble this greatly.

Warm regards,
twowheel


Last edited by twowheel on Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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twowheel



Joined: 03 Jul 2015
Posts: 686

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recognized early on that I had a few “fatal flaws” and realized that going the orthodox career route just wasn’t going to cut it for me. White-collar corporate cubicle rat? There’s no way I could have done that. Being a working stiff and throwing oneself into the grind again and again and again take a certain type of courage that I just don’t have.

I was born and raised in a Midwestern Rust Belt blue collar s---hole. I saw the writing on the wall very early on that that wasn’t the place to stick around in as the prospects there were incredibly limited and weren’t going to get any better. After high school graduation I made my move, ultimately leaving the Midwest and then the U.S.

When I was in high school, I realized that there was something different about me…q--er? No, not that kind of different. I realized very early on that I just wasn’t interested in getting married and having kids. To this day I have stayed that course—never married, never had kids—it is the most suitable course for me and I have zero interest in straying from that course.

While I don’t have the courage to be a working stiff grinding it out just for a paycheck and retirement after 30 years of service, most back home don’t have the courage to leave the hometown and venture out into the world—I did. Most aren’t meant to be expats, but I’ve discovered that I am meant to be. All of these factors combined with a heavy streak of introversion simply make being a TESOL professional abroad the most suitable role for me. I recognized this well and I have made TESOL work for me professionally, personally, and financially.

Warm regards,
twowheel
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getbehindthemule



Joined: 15 Oct 2015
Posts: 711
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can relate somewhat to twowheel's life choices.
The big one for me is when that alarm goes off in the morning - do you want to wake up to the negative mindset of 'the thoughts of going into this place' most days. I for one did not. The politics and stress didn't help when I did decided to follow a conventional career path in my field back home!
Had I 'fatal flaws'?, as has been brought up on this thread, who knows but if I had stuck it out 6 years ago until now I would have been a very unhappy person in my working like which would have had an obvious knock on effect on my personal life. This can happen without one's realisation and become institutionalised for want of a better word. I only became fully aware of all of this into my second year abroad.
Whereas now I'm the complete opposite thanks to taking the plunge and settling into life as a teacher for 8-9 months every year Smile
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Moma



Joined: 26 Jul 2017
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good stuff two wheel.

I was a TEFL teacher and am now back in that rat race. The job’s OK, but the plan is to semi-retire very early and return to teaching in my wife’s home country. If I didn’t have that prospect ahead, I would be a very unhappy person to say the least. The people I work with have never lived abroad, and I long ago stopped mentioning the fact I did. My tales of living and working in Africa or Asia are met with stories of package tours to Bali or Mallorca. That’s their life, fair enough.

But there has to be a compromise between job/life satisfaction and having enough money. For all my faults, I’m fairly good with money, and I struggled to see how any career in teaching could enable a secure future. With a heavy heart, I rejoined the so-called rat race and am fairly confident of my financial future now even with early retirement. As I say, though, I miss the teaching and I am definitely less of a people person now as a result of office life.
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Unheard Utterance



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

PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who honestly here thinks they will have financial security from EFL?

Let's face it, a lot of people entered EFL to escape their boring lives and jobs back home and then have realized EFL can be just as boring and repetitive as the job they left behind but minus a decent salary and pension money.

There's going to be a lot of TEFELers patiently waiting for their parents to die in order to get their greasy hands on their inheritance.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1636
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:58 am    Post subject: hmm Reply with quote

The jobs are very rare but there are some that sort you out financially. I have 1 of them.
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 1218
Location: Ecuador

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How many of them would be earning a decent salary with a good pension if they had stayed home? Maybe the situation is different in other countries, but half of the people in the UK don't have enough saved for retirement. A third are relying solely on their state pension. The streets aren't paved with gold anywhere.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1636
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:09 am    Post subject: hmmmmmm Reply with quote

I think most of us accepted long ago we'd be working one way or another until death long ago.

My wife's got a pension, I haven't. I've got properties and no credit. However, I still see myself doing something for beer tokens and to keep busy when I'm older.

I'm waiting to see how Brexit unfolds.....
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 1218
Location: Ecuador

PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My husband has 3 pensions from the 25 years he worked in the UK. Combined, they'll pay about £200/month. Our 'real' pensions will be property, which we are still able to invest in now. We earn less now, but we can save more, so we're better off than we would have been if we'd stayed.
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Unheard Utterance



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

PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HLJHLJ wrote:
How many of them would be earning a decent salary with a good pension if they had stayed home? Maybe the situation is different in other countries, but half of the people in the UK don't have enough saved for retirement. A third are relying solely on their state pension. The streets aren't paved with gold anywhere.


Pension money or superannuation in my country usually builds up quite nicely after a lifetime of working. For those of us not earning that money, one has to be very smart with your money, but as EFL is a "teach and travel" lifestyle, I'd say most people haven't thought ahead to retirement or don't want to which is more than likely.
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worldtraveller



Joined: 02 Dec 2004
Posts: 26
Location: world

PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that's the point--looking down the road towards retirement.

None of the positions overseas ever offered retirement. I could barely get a sick day.

In the U.S., most of the positions were part-time with no benefits, which obviously included "no retirement." So why did I spend my time getting a degree in ESL/EFL??

Obviously if folks want to teach and travel that's great, but the salaries aren't what they used to be. I agree, take this post as a head's up to be aware and then decide if this is the right profession for you.
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