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career counselor



Joined: 12 Mar 2003
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2003 12:53 pm    Post subject: Getting Started Reply with quote

I am a Career Counselor at the University of North Carolina. Many students come to me for information on teaching abroad. Most of them have a BA but little to no experience. The areas they ask about the most are Spain, Central Europe, and Latin America.

What advice do you have for "rookies" who are just getting started?
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12902
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2003 1:07 pm    Post subject: Eorope - non; Latin America - si Reply with quote

Dear Career Counselor,
Europe's probably a non-starter for your students ( by the way, what do they have BAs in? ) since, if you don't have an EC passport these days, getting work in most countries is highly unlikely to well-nigh impossible.
Latin America would probably offer more opportunities; you might have them check the " International Jobs " board on Dave's or on other places on the Net. From what I've read ( sorry, no personal experience in Latin America ) Costa Rica may be the best choice. But they're not going to make very much money anywhere in Latin America. That's about all the info I can offer.
Regards,
John
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12487
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2003 2:02 pm    Post subject: teaching Reply with quote

For a US citizen (or resident) I would suggest the Peace Corps.
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bnix



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 645

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2003 11:22 pm    Post subject: Tell Them to Look at Other Options,Too Reply with quote

Please point out to the people who ask you about teaching overseas that while it may seem romantic and esoteric,it is a highly unstable field,and it is fairly easy to get ripped off.Ask them to consider other options in addition to teaching overseas.A lot of people see this as a romantic,esoteric,"easy" option, which often is not that easy at all.

Johnslat gave very good advice in his post.Most European countries are difficult for non-EU citizens to teach legally in;with the recent expansion of the EU to include many countries in eastern Europe, Europe is not much of an option for non-EU people anymore.
Johnslat is also right about Latin America.I have taught there.It can be a great vacation(I loved that Caribbean beach in Venezuela!),,,,but no money...and there are definitely countries one should avoid due to political and economic unrest...like Venezuela,Argentina,and Colombia.


Scot 47 also gave very good advice...the Peace Corps is definitely a viable option for American citizens.They provide excellent training,support overseas,and medical help in case of illness.It is a very viable option for people who have little or no experience overseas and need to go with the backup support of a reliable organization.They do ask for a two year commitment and the volunteer usually has little or no choice of assignment.They pay an EOS(End of Service) payment of a few thousand dollars after the end of the two years,and there is also help with various scholarships,etc for those who want to go to grad school.

It should be noted,however,that although the PC is a volunteer organization,not every one can get in...with the bad economy,too many college grads,etc.even a volunteer organization can pick and choose.

There are also other, less well known volunteer options.The VOS(Volunteers Overseas) program will sometimes take American citizens.

Well,best of luck. Please tell your students there to consider other options,too....and to be careful if they decide to teach overseas.Again,like Scot,I think the Peace Corps would be a good starting point for consideration for a lot of your people. Smile
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Roger



Joined: 19 Jan 2003
Posts: 9138

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2003 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't favour rookies fresh from a college, half immature, not knowingt what learning a second language is all about.
Tell them young ones often come across as naive or overbearing, not idealistic enough and not professional either.
Tell them that in advanced European countries, people such as your jobseekers would never be allowed to stand in front of 30 students only 2 or 3 years younger than themselves.
Tell them that teaching one hour can be as stressful as working in an office for 3 hours.
And, overseas markets should only be considered when applicants have gained some insight into teaching their own language back home.
Tell them too that not knowing another language demeans themselves and us.
And tell them too that in most countries, people have a somewhat better understanding what teaching a second language is all about than they have in the USA!
It is an illusion to think that being a native English teacher confers upon you star qualities!
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bnix



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 645

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2003 12:57 am    Post subject: I Agree,Roger,But.... Reply with quote

I agree with you,Roger.Everything you say is very true.But Roger,I am sure you will agree that some of those people will come overseas, anyway.
That is why an organization like the Peace Corps is a very good start for many people straight out of college.In case they need some backup and support,there is a reliable organization there.And they will probably do a minimal amount of damage.If they get too out of hand,the Peace Corps will ship them home.Another good point.Perhaps it is a bit unfair to say everyone straight out of college is immature...perhaps we should say inexperienced.But ,yes,Roger I agree with your post.They should try the Peace Corps....but they won't all get in...of course.And of course a lot of them(and this is just not limited to recent graduates,either) should not be in this field at all.But,hey,Roger...I do not think it is going to change appreciably.
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little horsey



Joined: 03 Feb 2003
Posts: 57
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2003 2:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You might want to tell them that there are potential coworkers of their's out there that will not be happy with them if they are just there for an experience. These people are unable to accept that there are lots of people that only want to do this for a year or two and then move on with the rest of their life. You should probably teach them about these people (eg. to take what they say with a large grain of salt).

I know people that have done very well as beginners in Eastern Europe and Latin America. Your students should have little troubles if they're careful about it. Check out these message boards often. Get advice here. Read. Etc. Whatever you do, don't discourage them. It'll be a great experience whether they do it for 6 months, a year or for the rest of their lives.
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bnix



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 645

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2003 3:17 am    Post subject: If You Want an "Experience", Join the Peace Corps! Reply with quote

That is one thing the Peace Corps is there for...you can have an"experience"...maybe actually help someone and then get on with your life.It offers an organized effort for this kind of thing.Of course,as I said before,not everyone can get in...they do have standards.
Everybody seems to know some"beginners"( or unqualified teachers,fill in the blank,whatever)who "have done well"."Done well "according to horsey,is that all?
And his statement that it"will be a great experience,whether for six months...blah,blah"...pretty simplistic.Maybe he has had a great experience.Maybe some have had a great experience.A lot don't .Just check the Job Journal Forum on Dave's if you think all experiences in this field are "great". I think there are a lot of people out there who would say they have not had such a great "experience".

Roger's post is closer to the real situation.There are a lot of people who go into this field who should never go into this field...including a large number of recent grads who find ,to their dismay, they have wasted four or more years of their lives, plenty of their money(or good ol'Dad's money) on a degree that is worth exactly zero.What to do? Well.uh(they say)..I guess I could go "teach" overseas for awhile and have an "experience".Give us a break! And...you can take that with a whole plate of salt if you want to,"horsey". It is true...maybe you have not been in this business long enough to realize things like that. Rolling Eyes
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12902
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2003 4:02 am    Post subject: Tone Reply with quote

Dear bnix,
Let me preface my " message " by saying that I've read a lot of your postings and have found them generally well-informed and worthwhile. Maybe it's because you've been " attacked " a fair amount lately on this board, but it seems to me that you're starting to get - perhaps - a little too defensive and even " combative " in your more recent postings. Don't let the bozos get to you and affect your tone. Please disregard this if you feel it's uncalled for; the only reason I'm posting it is because I value your input.
Regards,
John
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zakiah25



Joined: 09 Feb 2003
Posts: 155
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2003 4:30 am    Post subject: re:Tone Reply with quote

Yes, Bnix - I agree totally with John. You have posted some insightful comments which I've also enjoyed reading.
Remain firm ......... just don't get a little too mordant!
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Albulbul



Joined: 08 Feb 2003
Posts: 364

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2003 4:50 am    Post subject: bozos Reply with quote

Bozos abound - in this field as elsewhere. Sometimes I suspect I may be a bozo myself. On the new graduates who want to teacg English away from the "Homeland". What skills do they have in foreign languages ? If they have never even learned High School French or Spanish how are they going tocope with Korean or Chinese ? Have they travelled away from their home country ? A liberal education is supposed to have an element of travel and exposure to other cultures as an integral part of it. How many BA's from the US or UK have been on a day trip to Canada or France ?

It is an incredible arrogance to believe that because you speak English that you can teach it. If you had to learn a foreign language would you entrust yourself (and your money !) to someone who spoke that language but knew nothing about Linguistics, Philology or the Pedagogy of Foreign Languages ?

I am pleased to report that where I am we do not see the backpacker teacher. In my country of permanent residence because the salaries are too low to attract foreigners and in the country where I work, because government regulations ensure visas go only to experienced graduate teachers.
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2003 8:59 am    Post subject: another perspective Reply with quote

Dear Career Counselor Cool

I respect the opinions of the posters who have gone before me. Some very valid points have been made, especially with regard to the difficulties Americans will face in finding EFL employment within the EU.

On a personal level, I have no particular problems with the idea of recent university graduates considering EFL as a career, PROVIDED they are: A) serious about developing themselves into good teachers ... and ... B) culturally aware enough to realize that life abroad will be VERY different from what they are used to back home in North Carolina.

In my experience, teaching English abroad can be the most rewarding or the most disappointing career choice that one can make. Whether the former or the latter comes true depends largely on the amount of dedication, adaptability and good old-fashioned homework that goes hand-in-hand with EFL success stories.

For me, it has been rewarding beyond my wildest dreams. Very Happy

Regards,
kENt
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guest of Japan



Joined: 28 Feb 2003
Posts: 1601
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2003 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You may wish to advise them to do some volunteer teaching locally to get a feel for what it will be like to teach English to non-native speakers (preferrably lower level speakers), and to have something to put on the resume to make them marketable.

I think some of the previous posters have forgotten how frustrating it is to find a good job as a recent college graduate. Throughout our childhood and teenage years we were told of the world of possibilities that existed for us once we got the college degree. Those possibilities are seldom there.

I do not disagree with many of the previous posters comments. It is true that many recent college graduates come across as over-bearing or unprofessional. Come to think of it, a whole lot of people of all ages come across that way. I just believe that it is incorrect to assume that a person cannot do this profession based on age.

The worst teachers I ever worked with were men in there late fifties, approaching retirement, who entered the teaching profession 25 or 30 years ago because it had long vacations, and it was easy to get a teaching job fresh out of university for men. On the other side of the coin, the best teachers I ever worked with were the women from the same generation. They were the best and the brightest, but there were little other opportunities for them to pursue at the time.

Experience is quantified by the way it has been gained.

I hope my above post is not taken as a slight against the teaching abilities of the previous posters, because I have no idea how good or bad the previous posters are at teaching.
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Paul G



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 125
Location: China & USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2003 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Career Counselor:

Would you suggest that the students in question immediately take up a career counseling at a university with just their BA's and dreams? I think not. I would imagine that you have enough respect for your own position that you would suggest that they get training and experience before proffering advice that the recipients believes is professional.

Why, then, would you feel any different about someone who asks you about teaching? Do you think that teaching is unskilled labor?

You should be asking questions about teacher training, not about geography. EFL students in foreign countries deserve teachers who are trained to teach, not starry-eyed youngsters who are looking for an "experience abroad" before they start their real jobs. Teaching is a real job and it takes skills that are not included in most Liberal Arts curricula.
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little horsey



Joined: 03 Feb 2003
Posts: 57
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2003 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No bnix, I probably haven't been in the business long enough to realise whatever you're saying. I don't know if I plan on being in the business (overseas, at least) long enough. You seem offended whenever someone has a different take than you. Maybe in some cases it's called for, but I didn't mean any offense. Anyways, sure, like any business, there are people who are going to have a good, bad and in-between experiences. As I was saying, if someone has a bad experience after 6 months, they can go back home, get on with the rest of their life having learned some valuable things. Personally, I don't think this is such a bad thing. But I guess that's just me.
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