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The rest of my issues

 
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panda888



Joined: 04 Jan 2009
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:23 am    Post subject: The rest of my issues Reply with quote

Hi again!

I am very grateful for the encouraging replies to my "age" thread".

Now on to my remaining questions...

* I am not a "native English speaker", though I have been speaking it (quite well, if I say so myself) for the last 49 years.

* As I said in the previous thread, I am close to retirement. Twenty years in media, fifteen in IT, no one ever asked to see a diploma. I do have a BA but I am unable to prove it. All kinds of paperwork got lost in a move nearly 30 years ago, a recent attempt to get a transcript proved futile. (Pre-computer grad. Involves going to another country in person, literally bribing someone to ferret around in dusty archives.) The easier/cheaper route would be to go get a TESL certificate, but is it enough?

* I have had a few teaching jobs over the years (though not full-time and not children). I am not at all worried about doing a good job, I am worried about being able to convince some bureaucrat who lives by a rule-book to hire me.

Again, I welcome opinion as well as fact. Many thanks.


GM
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11523
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Where are you looking to go to teach? Some clue as to the regions you're interested in would help us a lot.

Another important question: what citizenship(s) do you hold? This can be important especially if you're aiming for Europe, where only EU member passport holders have an easy time getting legal work permits.

Yes, you need TESL/TEFL certification. Regardless of where you want to go, it's important to have a clue or two as to how languages are learned/taught. I realize you yourself are a fluent second-language speaker, but some overt knowledge of teaching/learning methodology and approach is really vital when you're considering working with paying students.

Your lack of diploma isn't likely to be a huge stumbling block for newbie-level positions, again depending on where you want to go. Some regions require one by law to issue work visas.

However, to move up in the field, higher quals are usually needed. An MA is becoming more and more necessary for decently-paid positions (this is not a hard-and-fast rule, but it's the trend). Think of newbie level jobs as subsistence only, in general. To do better, you'll need more in terms of both quals and experience.
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MO39



Joined: 28 Jan 2004
Posts: 1970
Location: El ombligo de la República Mexicana

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi panda,

I saw in your first post that you are interested in teaching in Asia, but I'll put in my two cents' worth about Mexico anyway. You could most likely do well here just teaching private students, who surely wouldn't ask to see a copy of your BA diploma (at least this had never happened to me here), but if you wanted to work here legally, you'd need that piece of paper (along with a few others) to apply for a working visa or FM3.

MO
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Justin Trullinger



Joined: 28 Jan 2005
Posts: 3110
Location: Seoul, South Korea and Myanmar for a bit

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FOr what it's worth- Asia will vary a lot from country to country about requirements, so let us know where you're thinking. In Korea, which is the only place I've ever worked in Asia, you are VERY likely to be asked to see the dipoma for your degree, and no, a TESOL cert wouldn't be enough.

Ecuador, on the other hand, which is where I reside, would be happy with a TESOL cert and nothing else.

Regarding your non-native status; what does your passport say? By my count, if you're in your early sixties, and moved to an English speaking country 49 years ago, you probably qualify as native, according to some criteria at least.

But the only criteria that matter in most professional circumstances is- where did you go to school? and Where does your passport say you're from?

If you are, for example, US educated on a US passport, you're native, legally speaking, as far as Korea, Ecuador and many other countries are concerned.

On the other hand, if you have some other citizenship, then it gets a little trickier. Let us know.

Regarding your comment:

Quote:
I am not at all worried about doing a good job, I am worried about being able to convince some bureaucrat who lives by a rule-book to hire me.

Now don't take this the wrong way, okay? I'm only trying to help. But I'm not a bureaucrat, I don't live by a rule book, and I wouldn't hire you. (And I do hire.) At least not the way your present yourself right now.

Not because of your age, or your fuzzy native/non-native status. Frankly, both could be advantages, if you show them in the right light.

But because you have no specific training in teaching, language teaching, English, or languages; at least, you haven't mentioned any. Almost all people can speak one or more languages- no surprise there. But teaching them does require some specific skills, not all of which are intuitive- some of which, frankly, go against what most people think.

If you apply for a job, you're asking me (the potential employer) to put you in charge of teaching paying students. Under a lot of circumstances, these students don't have too many resources, and are making real sacrifices to learn English. What have you done to make sure you're ready for that.

YOu say you're sure you can do a good job- well, as a potential employer, I would want proof both of that ability, and of the seriousness that means you would use that ability. Having some legitimate qualification can go some way to proving both things.

An employer, for good or ill, has probably put a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of stress into building the reputation of a school, and hiring you, they are putting that rep in your hands.

If they're any good, they're going to want you to prove you're up to it.


Best,
Justin
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:
Yes, you need TESL/TEFL certification. Regardless of where you want to go, it's important to have a clue or two as to how languages are learned/taught.
No, you do not NEED certification to get the job. Yes, if you have never taught, it is a good idea, especially if you want to do this long-term. Panda has taught before, so it's up to him.

Quote:
Your lack of diploma isn't likely to be a huge stumbling block for newbie-level positions, again depending on where you want to go. Some regions require one by law to issue work visas.
Again, I disagree. For Japan, work visas are issued to people only if they can prove they have a bachelor's degree or a minimum of 3 years of teaching experience. Panda doesn't seem to be able to do the first (I strongly urge him to contact the school directly, even if it means walking in the door, and requesting another degree parchment), and it's hard to say whether he fits the alternative requirement.

Plenty of native English speakers out there, panda. Your previous teaching experience is a benefit on paper, but so is your work experience. Have you thought of teaching business English?
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panda888



Joined: 04 Jan 2009
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 11:28 pm    Post subject: Clarification Reply with quote

Thank you all for the great replies so far. Please keep 'em coming. And no, I'm not going to cry or anything. I appreciate the candor. Smile

I was trying to retain a degree of privacy, this forum being read-accessible all over the internet. But I guess I'll have to bare myself a bit.

I am a Canadian citizen and have lived in Toronto about 2/3 of my life.

My BA is in Linguistics, U of Istanbul 1969. If you have not dealt with underpaid overworked civil servants please take my word when I say that getting that transcript is just not worth the requisite time and expense. I want to go off and teach but when push comes to shove I don't have to! However I will be signing up for some kind of TESL or TESOL in the next few weeks.

My checkered career includes the following teaching gigs: Acting for the camera, ballroom dancing, fencing, basic computer skills (for seniors), page layout and design; as well as extensive one-on-one English tutoring.

I actually enjoy teaching. I do not consider it as something on the side. It's just that up to now my other jobs kept me hopping.

My IQ is above 120, but I have ADD; the classic underachiever butterfly...

Because I now work mostly with Japanese students (age 18-30) that country would have been my first choice, but I am beginning to realize that it is near impossible nowadays. I think China might be my best bet.

To answer two specific points:

Justin:
> I would want proof both of that ability, and of the seriousness
> that means you would use that ability. Having some legitimate
> qualification can go some way to proving both things.

Not disagreeing in principle. But I think we have all come across one or two people in life who have enough paperwork to cover three walls but can't find their behind with both hands. If we were to draw a Venn diagram of qualified on paper and qualified in life, there is certainly extensive overlap but the two circles would not be absolutely superimposed. I agree with your statement: "CAN go SOME way"... The "trick" for me I think is to find that employer who is willing to look beyond the paperwork, maybe let me teach a sample class or two...


Glenski:
> thought of teaching business English?

Umm, no. Is there more demand for that? When it comes to what's out there, "newbie" doesn't begin to cover it!

cheers all

GM
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

panda,
You have to get it through your head that no matter what you think about diplomas and degrees, the simple fact remains that in Japan, you either prove your degree or you prove you have 3 years of acceptable teaching experience.

NONE of your teaching experience qualifies, except for the outside chance of your one on ones. I suspect you were just privately tutoring, which means unless you actually had a formal school of your own at that time (or worked for one), you will not have those years (whatever "extensive" means) accepted by immigration.

Take it or leave it. Degree or proven experience. Don't have either one? Kiss a work visa goodbye.

Want to come and study a craft under a master (cultural visa) or study a language (student visa)? No problem. Get the right sponsors, then you apply for special permission to work, but it will only be part-time.

Those are your only options here. Deal with immigration matters first and foremost.

Business English. With globalization, the world needs more English, and Japan is no exception. If you have the right background for a business English company, they will farm you out to their clients. Problem is the same as before, though -- you need to qualify for a visa first.
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Humbug



Joined: 05 Jan 2009
Posts: 18
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Panda,
I told you in my reply to your previous post that my husband and I have just signed up for China and are of a similar age to you. Furthermore, I have many years teaching experience but no degree. He has no experience other than a little tutoring, and no degree. He also is a non native speaker but has been speaking English for 54 years. We both have TESOL.
I say get the TESOL or something like that and go for it!
Cheers.
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panda888



Joined: 04 Jan 2009
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:28 pm    Post subject: Got it! Reply with quote

Glenski:

Believe it or not, I completely understand your point about visa first. That's why I already said, Japan looks near impossible. If it will make you happy I will delete the "near" part.

The listing of my various teaching gigs was in response to an earlier comment by someone who effectively said that knowing a language is not automatic qualification for teaching it. It's not just that I know the language, I know how to teach. (If you think Asian kids are a challenge you haven't had a room full of MDs trying to master a heel pivot.)


Humbug:

Sorry for not replying directly. I did take note of your previous comment. Thank you. I am considering China very seriously at the moment.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Got it! Reply with quote

panda888 wrote:
(If you think Asian kids are a challenge you haven't had a room full of MDs trying to master a heel pivot.)
If you think Asian kids aren't a challenge, go back to dance teaching. Smile

So, are we to take it that your extensive tutoring is not company based?

You don't have to scratch the "near". I laid out 2 other options for you.
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panda888



Joined: 04 Jan 2009
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glenski:

I came here cap in hand asking for help. There are many things I don't know. (On the other hand I didn't just fall off a turnip truck either.)

Your input has mutated from useful to supercilious and argumentative (with I would wager, insufficient data to support your position). Maybe you would be so kind as to let others voice their opinions now.

GM
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Justin Trullinger



Joined: 28 Jan 2005
Posts: 3110
Location: Seoul, South Korea and Myanmar for a bit

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chill Guys-

Glenski's got useful stuff to say. (As usual.) Don't like it, don't read it. But he's been round here a heck of a long time, and has offered a lot of free valuable help to a lot of newbs. Don't like, don't read. But in any case, don't need to criticise.

And Panda888; I appreciate your being open to info, whether or not it is positive. I like your idea of a Venn diagram of qualifications and abilities. Might show us all some stuff.

But, assuming that you came into my office and applied, would I let you teach a sample class before deciding about hiring you? If you could explain to me what it is that you think/know about language teaching, and how you came to know and believe, I'd certainly be tempted.

It wouldn't matter though. Visa laws are tight in Ecuador. Once you're walking into my office, once you're near enough to teach a sample class, you're already here on a tourist visa, which I am powerless to change into anything more useful. Unless you are disposed to fly here on spec, teach a sample class, convince me, then head back to Canada to sort out your visa, I can't hire you that way.

What happens here is usually that I have to hire you before you come. So no sample class options.

And while we've all met a fair few people with qualifications as wallpaper who are about as dumb as road gravel, I tend to the think that the best, and best known, TESOL quals don't let this happen often, due to the practical elements included. So far, I've seen a lot less trouble hiring, sight unseen, qualified teachers, than I have with unqualified teachers who are bright, charismatic, and here.

Best,
Justin

PS- Unless you've got a really cool accent which a lot of people are going to notice, I'd skip dealing with the "non-native" thing. You've got a Canadian passport, and therefore are Canadian. As one of the official languages of Canada is English, you are, technically, a native speaker as far as most immigration laws are concerned.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who's argumentative, panda?

You started with the joke about dancing being harder to teach than English to Asian students. I took it as a joke and added one of my own, as the smiley icon was supposed to suggest. Sorry if you didn't catch that.

I am still confused about why you have not answered my question about your experience, though. What gives?

And, my last comment on the previous post was actually laid out to show you a very positive aspect, nothing supercilious or argumentative. You have two more options to let you come here and work. Or didn't you realize what I'd written.

And, as for letting others have their say, I've been here longer than most (longer than my avatar suggests because I've been here since before that time; the format of the forum changed and reset my so-called start date) and have plenty to say to help. It's a free discussion forum world. You'd better be careful about remarks like "insufficient data to support your position", too. They have a way of coming back and biting you in the rear.
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panda888



Joined: 04 Jan 2009
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Justin:

> Don't like it, don't read it.

Unfortunately I didn't see the attitude until I read it. A mistake that I am not repeating.


> has offered a lot of free valuable help

And he was great in the beginning. When the tone changes from instructive to sarcastic, I am done. He is welcome to be king of this little hill. I hope he is a better human being with his captive audiences.


> a sample class

I was trying to defend my ability as a teacher, not suggesting it as a real world option.


> TESOL quals don't let this happen

Hence my earlier comment that I am as we speak looking around for a good course. I would not even think about going overseas without some kind of paperwork. Not adventurous enough to try this on a tourist visa.

~~~

Again, thanks for all the comments from everyone.
Get TESOL, get VISA. I heard you loud and clear!

bye all...
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