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The TEFL profession
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BELS



Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 402
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 6:55 pm    Post subject: The TEFL profession Reply with quote

It's nice to see that TEFL is respected as a profession. Will we ever see the time when this profession becomes a career? I honestly believe The UK is the core of influence in regards to TEFL. And this may well be the beginning, that is for our government to recognise that this profession is highly regarded in the UK, and from from what I've read from statistics is one of the highest regarded as a high import and internal revenue for the UK.

Now let's talk about the most important individual who represents this highly regarded profession, the teacher. Will this teacher suitably qualified be able to have a suitable and respectable income in the UK and maintain a home and family?

Will we have goverment support on this. Are we going to encouraage real professionals? To do do this they need to attract serious professional teachers with professional family sized incomes. The UK needs to be above this international marketing of backpackers who want to see the world for a few months with no respect of a permanent family professional income.

It's for this reason that I am unable to return to the UK with my family from Russia, because the income is crap, and in many cases the standards are high. I can't keep a family under such situations of what I have read. My wife has a linguistic degree in teaching Russian and English as a foreign language. It took her five years to complete, not three and she's fluent in both languages.

We can't find the right price in offers for income, what are we supposed to do.

Okay I accept that's our personal situation , but there must be many others around wondering how on earth they can live as a family decently with the profession they have lived with. Or do they simply give up and choose another profession. I think so, no disrespect to the TEFL profession, except that they don't pay enough, in fact much lower than general warehouse and factory workers for example who can have shift rates, night shift rates and overtinme rates and often much more benifits.

It's also disgusting that state school teachers get much more in benefits, benefits should be the same because we are no different, and as stated we do a valued profession feor the country. Plesae, let us be be appreciated, in money.
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1837

PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"It's also disgusting that state school teachers get much more in benefits,"

Sorry, although I am also a TEFL, I have to disagree with this. The state school teachers tend to have much more difficult students, considerably more paperwork AND have as their entry level qualification a one-year full-time PGCE, as opposed to a 4-5 week CELTA/TESOL/etc. Indeed, I know qualified and experienced state school teachers who have 'traded down' to TEFL to avoid the onerous duties of the former setting.

Having said that, I do agree that TEFL teachers should have better conditions than is currently the case. E.g. maybe set pay for a contract rather than per hour, or a decent minimum hourly rate, with increments for years of experience and advanced qualifications?
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ChrisV



Joined: 14 Jan 2006
Posts: 42
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="coledavisSorry, although I am also a TEFL, I have to disagree with this. [/quote]

Me too. I work with secondary school teachers for a summer training programme my uni does with the governmnet of Asturias, and every time I'm reminded of the job those pour teachers face, I thank my lucky stars that I'm not a secondary school teacher. Long hours, tough students, little prep time...not for me!
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9647
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Pour TEFLs!" Shocked
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lolwhites



Joined: 29 Jun 2005
Posts: 158
Location: France

PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TEFL is a breeze compared to teaching in a secondary school, and if you teach ESOL in a college or university the workload is far greater, especially in terms of paperwork. I agree that the private sector doesn't pay enough to live on, but they'll never pay as well as the state sector.
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BELS



Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 402
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BillyBee wrote:
BELS, it's a complete waste of time trying to make a living from TEFL in the UK, so don't even bother trying. I know because I was in a similar position and tried it several years back, and since then salaries for teaching EFL have either gone down or stagnated at best!

It's Ok if just one of you teaches EFL, using it to provide a second income, but nothing more. As you rightly noted, it's not a profession, more of a sweatshop, with low wages and limited job security. It sucks, in other words!

In that case, you're best to turn your back on the UK completely, as I did, and head for the Gulf. If you have the right qualifications (minimum PGCE or Diploma), you can earn about 2000 quid a month for starters, plus there are a load of benefits such as free accommodation and paid school fees for the kids.

These are the proper colleges and universities I'm talking about, typically in the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait, even Oman (best to avoid Saudi, for obvious reasons). There are plenty of private language schools and other 'business colleges' too, but these are only useful as a 'stepping stone' to a better position, being poorly run and equipped.

That's what I recommend you do. Give it some real thought. The UAE is the most liberal of the above countries, with Qatar a close second, in my opinion. Your wife won't be forced to stay at home all day, wear a headscarf, or only travel with a chaperone. She can even work!

Do some research on the web, and you'll be sure to find something - I know you will, as there are many teachers here who share similar situations. Or just PM me and ask your questions!

BB


Thanks BB for your interesting, of which I have taken your views very seriously.

I have a desire for going back to my country where I can fuction well with my family, knowing this countries redtape, etc and of couse it's my language. And my Russian family is also fluent in this language.

Yes, in regards to the TEFL profession it looks so negative, as it does in many coounties for a family to live on this profession. My other favourite was spain, but even looking on eslcafe forum of Spain it also looks negative for TEFL as a profession and to live in Spain as a family.

And the Russian esl section also looks negative for TEFL, a big NO! NO!
However my wife and I have managed doing well in Moscow region teaching mainly groups of children and teenagers privately. We were lucky to get a good rent deal with a classroom within a state school and we are totally independant what we charge to each child.

So, perhaps that's the direction we'll look into. My wife and I get a job either in The UK, both ofus will have five years experience in teaching groups successfully, I will have a CELTA, (no degree) My wife will have a five year Moscow Linguistic degree in teaching English which will have international recognition once assessed by a certain agency (is it NARIC? I can't remember for the mo).

So whilst being employed we hope develop a small school in either Spain or UK.

Has anybody got any experience on teaching privately in the UK? I would love to hear from you.

In regards to the Gulf, I will more closely to the life there, as for the moment my wife doesn't fancy the idea, she has a preerence to Britain, mainly because she likes the idea of permanent residency for spouse and having the right to work herself. With her many language skills and her linguistic degree internationally recognised she might well do better than me.
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BELS



Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 402
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lolwhites wrote:
TEFL is a breeze compared to teaching in a secondary school, and if you teach ESOL in a college or university the workload is far greater, especially in terms of paperwork. I agree that the private sector doesn't pay enough to live on, but they'll never pay as well as the state sector.


Yes I do agree with you to some extent, and both my wife ans I have looked into the possibility of taking a teachers course which includes PGCE. Yes it's tough. We looked on such as the Times Teaching Forum, looks like some of them hated it.

But to teach someone English from a foreign language and come up with the results of them communicating with you in, listening, speaking, reading and writing. Let's say they started from beginner level and you had to teach them from English to English with no translation. Can you do it with proven results?? I can.

When working in a Summer school last year I met a headmaster, almost retiring. He wanted a change, it was certainly not the money Smile By comparison he had earnt much more.

He was very good, yes. But he claimed he couldn't have done it without the training he required to get his Trinity certificate. You do need that special skill
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BELS



Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 402
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this quote I mentioned about it being disgusting that state school teachers get much more benifits. was influenced by a very recent thread here who gave a link that our government now recognises the massive market and value in the Uk for TEFL. It's massive in import and export, ipossibly Britain's biggest market ever is TEFL. And a particular government website is asking for people's thoughts and impressions on how to improve in this market.

And believe me, I will be sending my comments.

It needs to be a profession that is suitable for a family to live on in decency, and it should wreck this idea of it being some form af a back packer seeking adventure and simply a lowly paid holiday.

That's what they are looking for, something to make it into a profession, where customers will get what they want. TO LEARN ENGLISH WITH RESULTS.


coledavis wrote:
"It's also disgusting that state school teachers get much more in benefits,"

Sorry, although I am also a TEFL, I have to disagree with this. The state school teachers tend to have much more difficult students, considerably more paperwork AND have as their entry level qualification a one-year full-time PGCE, as opposed to a 4-5 week CELTA/TESOL/etc. Indeed, I know qualified and experienced state school teachers who have 'traded down' to TEFL to avoid the onerous duties of the former setting.

Having said that, I do agree that TEFL teachers should have better conditions than is currently the case. E.g. maybe set pay for a contract rather than per hour, or a decent minimum hourly rate, with increments for years of experience and advanced qualifications?
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Phil_b



Joined: 14 Oct 2003
Posts: 239
Location: Back in London

PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Making a living teaching English in the UK (even in London) is not impossible - but you would have to go down the Skills for Life ESOL avenue or Universities. It's possible - but you might want to check if it's to your taste....

FE does have a lot of admin... and involve a certain amount of learning how to play the game. How onerous that becomes probably depends on your college... some are worse than others...
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lolwhites



Joined: 29 Jun 2005
Posts: 158
Location: France

PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BELS wrote:
Yes I do agree with you to some extent, and both my wife ans I have looked into the possibility of taking a teachers course which includes PGCE. Yes it's tough. We looked on such as the Times Teaching Forum, looks like some of them hated it.

But to teach someone English from a foreign language and come up with the results of them communicating with you in, listening, speaking, reading and writing. Let's say they started from beginner level and you had to teach them from English to English with no translation. Can you do it with proven results?? I can.


yes, I have taught English to multilingual beginner groups, with "proven results" (KET, PET for starters) so please don't patronise me. And it is a lot easier than teaching monolingual classes of surly teenagers who don't want to know! In fact, it's easier to justify using English in multilingual classes because they can't just chat in L1 as soon as they think your back is turned. The fact that the only common language of the class is the teacher's L1 puts him or her into a position of considerable power compared to his or her counterpart in front of a monolingual group.

Have you taught in both sectors??? I have. Are you in a position to compare the two?? I am.

Quote:
When working in a Summer school last year I met a headmaster, almost retiring. He wanted a change, it was certainly not the money Smile By comparison he had earnt much more.

He was very good, yes. But he claimed he couldn't have done it without the training he required to get his Trinity certificate. You do need that special skill




I'm sure the Headmaster you refer to benefited from his Trinity certificate. But I'm also sure that it was a lot easier and far less stressful than running a school, and consequently less well remunerated. If TEFL paid as well as state school teaching, classrooms up and down the country would be empty!
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1837

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hang on, Bels. I've just come across something. I was just talking to a secondary school deputy head in London. Apparently, they are paying 20 quid an hour and sometimes more for TESL with muslim adults (nb adults). ESOL is the catchment I rather think. The politics of integration in the UK may move into your favour. Indeed you might get better bang for your buck in other cities. Worth researching, I'd suggest. Cole
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BELS



Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 402
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

coledavis wrote:
Hang on, Bels. I've just come across something. I was just talking to a secondary school deputy head in London. Apparently, they are paying 20 quid an hour and sometimes more for TESL with muslim adults (nb adults). ESOL is the catchment I rather think. The politics of integration in the UK may move into your favour. Indeed you might get better bang for your buck in other cities. Worth researching, I'd suggest. Cole


Thanks Cole, That's what I thought the direction was. That's why the government are now asking for responses from people such as us. I wil look into it and let know anything interesting and positive I may find.

It's a shame that state school teachers are stating in such a negative way, and and stating whethether I'm patronising an individual etc. etc But that's the way some some teachers think, for some some especially the youngest ones income comes second to them, academics and knowledge of teaching comes first rather than blending together


Let's be positive, we all eventually develop families, we are not single back-packers forever, and we want to live like everyone else. In so doing we expat a sensible professional salary, and in so doing it will improve the quality of the profession.

Otherwise I'm going back to my first idea in returning to my country, Great Britain, and that is to get my own groups and charge them about 10 an hour for 10 in a group = 100 per group per hour. That's my market research on the matter.

Now if you can get the students at that price, would you bether being employed??
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BELS



Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 402
Location: Moscow

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lolwhites wrote:
BELS wrote:
Yes I do agree with you to some extent, and both my wife ans I have looked into the possibility of taking a teachers course which includes PGCE. Yes it's tough. We looked on such as the Times Teaching Forum, looks like some of them hated it.

But to teach someone English from a foreign language and come up with the results of them communicating with you in, listening, speaking, reading and writing. Let's say they started from beginner level and you had to teach them from English to English with no translation. Can you do it with proven results?? I can.


yes, I have taught English to multilingual beginner groups, with "proven results" (KET, PET for starters) so please don't patronise me. And it is a lot easier than teaching monolingual classes of surly teenagers who don't want to know! In fact, it's easier to justify using English in multilingual classes because they can't just chat in L1 as soon as they think your back is turned. The fact that the only common language of the class is the teacher's L1 puts him or her into a position of considerable power compared to his or her counterpart in front of a monolingual group.

Have you taught in both sectors??? I have. Are you in a position to compare the two?? I am.

Quote:
When working in a Summer school last year I met a headmaster, almost retiring. He wanted a change, it was certainly not the money Smile By comparison he had earnt much more.

He was very good, yes. But he claimed he couldn't have done it without the training he required to get his Trinity certificate. You do need that special skill




I'm sure the Headmaster you refer to benefited from his Trinity certificate. But I'm also sure that it was a lot easier and far less stressful than running a school, and consequently less well remunerated. If TEFL paid as well as state school teaching, classrooms up and down the country would be empty!


How about teaching those who all Know their own first language, such as Russian Smile Believe me,that's more difficult. No Russian! I say. But you can't always control that. Yes, taeching those in mixed languages is easier and I have experienced this in Summer schools in the UK.

KET or PET? Those students are not beginners. KET is about pre=intermediate level and not a very popular exam, as not recognised by international employers. Pet is just aboout passing Intermediate level and is accepatable for teenagers, but it is nothing in comparison to bringing up pure beginners who know nothing of the English language and then bringing them up to Cambridge Advanced level or IELTS 7-8 for example.Now that's what I call a teaching skill in TEFL.

Nope, I don't know what it's like to be a state school teacher, although I'.ve seriously considered it in the recent past. But I do know what it's all about to earn money to care for my family in decency. THat's what it's all about.
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1837

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I weighed in on the side of the 'secondary school is tougher' way of thinking - which I still agree with - I also think that teaching English to non-native speakers is indeed a specialism and that Trinity TESOL or CELTA, with experience to follow, are indeed important in building the necessary skills. But I think we should get beyond this 'I used to live in cardboard box', 'cardboard box, luxury, I used to live in hole in road' argument.

On a more general note, do note that there is increasingly tough competition for secondary school teaching positions, excepting shortage subjects. I'll leave it to you to consider the implications. My own thoughts are that although English might be considered a shortage subject, it might become less so. Also, ignore paranoia about 'backpackers'; the fact that any reasonably literate graduate can put an effort in for 4-5 weeks of CELTA/TESOL means that a career in TEFL is unlikely ever to be well-paid. Especially with the widening of access to HE agenda; more and more graduates...
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SueH



Joined: 01 Feb 2003
Posts: 1022
Location: Northern Italy

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My experience: firstly to say that I don't depend on EFL for my main income: it's a second part-time career which takes the pressure off me, and allows me to be a bit stroppy when it comes to employment terms.

My first experience (even before a CELTA) was a summer school, so I won't dwell on that, although it wasn't that bad as I went back the next year. Smile

My first very short term contract post-CELTA was in 2002 when I was offered 11 an hour and asked and got 12 with little demur on the part of the school.

Subsequently I got nearer 25 with FE colleges for both ESOL and a modern foreign language. Hours were limited and I only got them by being in the right place at the right time. The paperwork was a _great_ deal more than in the private sector: how for example do you agree with a student with virtually no (I mean NO) English what should be their agreed individual learning aims... Some of you will know what I'm talking about _ ILPs and the like; we know all students are different, but there is a lot of cant talked about differentiation.

I also did one private business student: 2 hour lessons at 25 an hour (outside London), and able to charge my travel costs against tax (40p a vehicle mile).

It would be difficult to survive on TEFL wages in the UK, but that is equally the case for many other jobs these days, particularly given the cost of accommodation. I lived variously at home, in bedsits or houseshares until I was 28 (and bought my own house), but many people these days seem to think they have a right to their own flat when they leave home. I'd say accommodation would be your critical deal breaker, so if you can be imaginative/lucky/helped you should be OK.
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