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College Student - Teaching options with my experience?

 
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SongsOhia



Joined: 08 Apr 2009
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:38 pm    Post subject: College Student - Teaching options with my experience? Reply with quote

Hi,
To give you an idea of where I'm at..
This all started when I decided to go to Egypt and take an intensive Arabic course for 10 weeks. I have a friend who taught at the American University in Sharja, who then told me I should try and stay for a while longer, if I really wanted to learn the Arabic language. For some strange reason I hadn't considered this, since I've been programmed by the education system in the US to get my degree as soon as possible, at all costs. So now, I've started to hold the mentality that being only 19 (20 when I leave on the 29th of June), I should take any opportunities that come my way. I am absolutely, positively majoring in Education/English and want to teach ESL. My friend and I have been discussing ways to finance my trip further, and this has led to ideas such as: staying with a family in exchange for English lessons, or getting an actual job teaching English. Recently, he showed me this site, and I have to say, it's AMAZING.

Now, about my education and ESL experience.
I am currently obtaining my BA, but will not have obtained it by the time I leave.
In regards to ESL experience I have just begun a program with the friend I mentioned, as a student teacher in his ESL classes. (As well as helping almost every other ESL teacher in the school) I will be doing this for 5 weeks.

Questions:
I am pretty new to the TEFL and CELTA, but I know I won't be able to obtain the CELTA by the time I leave. (Or afford it.) However, I could definitely do an online TEFL certification. http://www.teflonline.com/ looks like a good site for an online course, but I would like to here input from anyone on the forums about what I should do. I should restate, I leave at the end of June for Egypt, so I'm looking for a online certification course.

Soo, in a nutshell I would be arriving with college experience, but not a BA as of yet. If there are any credible online TEFL certifications, I could have the course finished by the time I leave for Egypt. I will also have the experience of student teaching for 5 weeks. (Could get a certificate printed for that)

Although I am starting off in Egypt, I am more than willing to travel almost anywhere in the ME to teach for a year or two.


Any help, critism, or suggestions are very welcome.
Thanks.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16186
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First off... good idea to try to stay awhile in Egypt if you are serious about learning the language. I wouldn't bother with an online TEFL cert as most places will not recognize them. The whole point of a TEFL cert is to show that you have had supervised EFL/ESL teaching experience. Do get a cert related to your student teaching... and a letter from your teacher/supervisor breaking out what you have done... adults or children? conversation? Academic English? test preparation (such as the TOEFL)? Make the cert and letter real official looking... letterhead... have it notarized... they love stamps and such. Laughing

One suggestion could be to think about doing a CELTA in Cairo at the British Council. They are not cheap, but the cert is recognized around the world and it would mean that you would leave Egypt with more than just slightly better Arabic. One catch may be that they require that one has a BA in hand first... you can check that question online if you are interested.

Reality... without a BA in hand... no recognized ESL/EFL certification... and limited experience, your options will be slim - everywhere in the Middle East. One option is to do private lessons. But, that requires legwork and effort on your part to find them. Ask around at the place where you will be studying Arabic. Another problem that you need to be aware of is that any employer who will hire you with no credentials will not be a good one... you will be overworked and underpaid and have no recourse. So, be careful of any jobs that you do take. They will likely have you working without the proper visa - which many people do - but it leaves you open to being cheated.

My advice... which doesn't fit your plans very well... would be to come to Egypt and do the Arabic course, return to the US and finish that BA. Then, return to Cairo and do the CELTA. Now you would be ready to follow up on your idea in a legal way that might actually pay your expenses. Now you would be legitimately an entry-level teacher. You would still be at the bottom, of course, but much better placed to work in countries like Morocco or Syria or Lebanon etc... where you could polish your Arabic at the same time. Just some food for thought...

Save the Gulf for when you finish your MA in Applied Linguistics. Cool

VS
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SongsOhia



Joined: 08 Apr 2009
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the help VS.

So an online TEFL would basically be a computer based course of what I'm actually student teaching? The classes are for adults, but I can't specify right now what levels of proficiency I will be dealing with. My friend has already mentioned making a nice and sparkly certificate, so the glitter and stamps are covered.

I'll definitely ask some questions once I arrive at the school, and have been told to put up some postings at places such as hospitals, ect. Where people are more likely able to afford lessons, if that's the way I go.

My last question is, do you think I could afford a place to live, and food to eat while working at one of these run me down schools? Because if I can afford to eat two meals a day and have a roof over my head, I'll be more than happy! Then, finally, once I return a year or so later (preferably..), I'll happily finish my BA and get my MA immediately after Smile
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
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Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2009 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SongsOhia wrote:
My last question is, do you think I could afford a place to live, and food to eat while working at one of these run me down schools? Because if I can afford to eat two meals a day and have a roof over my head, I'll be more than happy! Then, finally, once I return a year or so later (preferably..), I'll happily finish my BA and get my MA immediately after Smile

Therein lies the rub... Laughing You would likely need to find some other expat students and share a flat. Private tutoring can be quite lucrative, but it takes time to build up a clientele.

The problem with online TEFL certs is that employers do not recognize them as legitimate. Thus you are pretty much wasting your money and time. Better that you flip burgers at Mickey D's and save the money to buy a recognized cert like CELTA.

VS
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nstick13



Joined: 01 Dec 2008
Posts: 104
Location: The Ohio State University

PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's like a match made in heaven, is it not, VS? I've been meaning to shoot you an e-mail, as a lot has happened this week. Expect one in the next day or so to which ever e-mail address your last note came from.

SongsOhia: I'm Nate, and we're in nearly the same boat. I will be doing the CELTA course at British Council in either July or October (I was accepted officially Wednesday).

You'll have a PM, and we'll e-mail to chat more. Overall, I've found what VS has said to be very accurate, and you're close to SOL without a BA.
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nstick13



Joined: 01 Dec 2008
Posts: 104
Location: The Ohio State University

PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, and BC in Cairo is decently cheap in American dollars--LE 10000 which translates to about $1775. One of the cheapest CELTAs.
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nstick13



Joined: 01 Dec 2008
Posts: 104
Location: The Ohio State University

PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

okay.

although I'm getting very close, you must have 50 posts before you can PM other members. so, for now, just e-mail me at:

nstick13 at gmail dot com

with the appropriate symbols of course.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16186
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 2:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Nate... was wondering if you would show up. You made it before I had to send you an email.

I await your update. Cool

VS
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SongsOhia



Joined: 08 Apr 2009
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 4:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've decided to change my Arabic lessons to only include MSA, instead of Colloquial Egyptian. So, this leaves me with quite a bit of extra money, which means that I think I'm going to register for the CELTA in Cairo.

Requirements read:
be at least eighteen years old at the beginning of the course
have an awareness of language and a competence in English, both written and spoken, that enables them to undertake the course (near first language level) have a standard of education which would allow entry to higher education in their country.


So lets say I get accepted to take the CELTA, how much does this change my job prospects in your mind?



And finally, do either of you know anything about cheaper Arabic language schools in Cairo?
I'm thinking of all together changing language schools, if there is a quality school for less. I've just e-mailed a few, so it may be a while before I get a response.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know anything about the various Arabic schools in Cairo. There have been some threads over on Lonely Planet Thorntree, so you might try a search on that discussion board.

Having the CELTA would help your employment possibilities in the Levant and North Africa (which is also the best places to be able to practice your Arabic), but in the Gulf a BA is required for work visas by the Ministries of Education.

BTW... you probably wouldn't be able to do the CELTA and Arabic classes at exactly the same time. The CELTA is a full time month. (AND, they have quite a rigorous interview to get in the program... just applying and having the cash won't guarantee you a seat). I would say to do the CELTA first and it might help you get a bit of part time work while you study the Arabic. Check with nstick about CELTA in Cairo...

You may be right to stick to MSA, but it is Colloquial that you will be practicing on the streets every day. Laughing

VS
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SongsOhia



Joined: 08 Apr 2009
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm thinking of leaving late July/ beginning of August now, to make some more money. Since I'm not coming back for classes right away, I'm not in as big a hurry to get to get to Egypt.

I read quite a bit about the CELTA course and I was thinking of studying Arabic for the two months prior, and possibly sometime after. (If, I get accepted to the program)

Thanks for the tip on LP.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BC-Cairo has a CELTA course in October according to nstick. So, that might be perfect for you.

VS
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nstick13



Joined: 01 Dec 2008
Posts: 104
Location: The Ohio State University

PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2009 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The CELTA is noted as very intensive, and, although I haven't taken it, I would imagine it is something that a college student or recent grad should not have any issues dealing with. School all day, homework at night--sounds like the last 4 years of my life.

Be a bit patient with BC Cairo, it seems the very friendly lady running the place has a lot of work on her plate.
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