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Qualifications and salaryadvice

 
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00Scott



Joined: 17 Oct 2003
Posts: 14
Location: Vancouver, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2004 6:38 am    Post subject: Qualifications and salaryadvice Reply with quote

I'm in the beginnings of looking into whether a stint teaching in the Middle East could be a good fit for me, and am hoping that someone here might be able to steer me in the right direction.

I'm curious to know how marketable my qualifications will make me, in what countries I'm likely to fare best, and how much I might reasonably expect to save, given modest expenses. (What I've read so far suggests either the UAE or KSA as my best bet, but I'd like to hear what current teachers have to say.)

By the time I'm thinking of applying, my qualifications and experience will be as follows.

    + an MA in Philosophy (of language, which includes a fair background in the syntax, semantics, and pragmatics side of theoretical linguistics)

    + a CELTA certificate

    + two years' experience as an exchange student, teacher (mostly private, some elementary school), author of mock TOEIC tests, and translator in Taiwan and China

    + another two years as a private ESL tutor (mostly TOEFL and writing) in Canada

    + a few semesters' experience as a philosophy teaching assistant, which involved training in 'writing-intensive learning' (for which I have a certificate) and working with classes one third to one half of which were made up of ESL students from other departments satisfying a writing prerequisite.
I intend to settle somewhere for from two to four years, and, aside from saving as much money as possible, learning Arabic and enjoying time to travel in the region are my main motivations. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Scott

(Edited: Also, I'll be 25 by the time I'm likely to apply.)
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MindTraveller



Joined: 13 Mar 2003
Posts: 89
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2004 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd say you might enjoy Doha in Qatar or the UAE University in Al Ain. You have the right credentials, the teaching experience (although some is informal, it shows a commitment to EFL).

Don't go to a language school in this area. It seems many language schools here are extremely exploitive and low-paying, compared to the universities.

Apply now, and wait, and wait, and wait, and anticipate!

Good luck!
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Cleopatra



Joined: 28 Jun 2003
Posts: 3657
Location: Tuamago Archipelago

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2004 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"It seems many language schools here are extremely exploitive and low-paying:

How different from the usual world of EFL (not!)[/quote]
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00Scott



Joined: 17 Oct 2003
Posts: 14
Location: Vancouver, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 1:34 am    Post subject: Post-MA experience? Reply with quote

Thanks MindTraveller -- your response is more hopeful than I had expected.

I'm curious, though. A lot of positions advertise for an MA in TEFL and a few years of post-MA experience. I suspect I might parlay my MA in philosophy into an acceptable credential, but I do lack the post-MA experience -- my experience is all prior to or contemporaneous with my graduate studies (and the CELTA I will not take until after I've finished my Master's). Will this prove a stumbling block for me?


Last edited by 00Scott on Wed Feb 18, 2004 3:27 am; edited 1 time in total
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Gordon



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 5309
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good question Scott, I was thinking the same thing. By the time I finish my masters, I'll have had 12 years of teaching experience. Could the post-masters be that important for me?
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Ka-CHING!



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 102

PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was hired by a university on the strength of an M.Ed. and no post-Master's experience. I had two years of teaching at the tertiary level, but that was prior to gaining the M.ED. I did have to have the degree "in hand" though. I had applied to several places while I was still studying and everyone told me the same thing: Apply again after you finish.
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MindTraveller



Joined: 13 Mar 2003
Posts: 89
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the British pound goes up, and the Aussie dollar go up, maybe some people will be leaving and the hiring people in the area will hire more US-Americans.... It never hurts to try.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17633
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 18, 2004 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scott,

Many of the best jobs do require an MA plus experience, and these people would have priority over those who don't. So, in many cases, it comes down to need.

One thing that I will note is that I can't recall in all of my years teaching in the Gulf encountering many teachers in your age range - in fact, I can't recall any. Whether it is because the employers there prefer more mature teachers or because younger people hadn't applied, I don't know. I actually suspect that they avoid hiring young single people to avoid problems.

Personally I would not have much liked the lifestyle of this part of the world when I was 25 - too dull by far. I hit the area at about age 40, and most of my fellow teachers were thereabouts. Not to mention that the vast majority were married. There is little or no social scene for your age group.

Just a thought, but have you considered countries like Egypt, Morocco, Syrian, Jordan, Lebanon --- Not nearly as much money, but you would certainly have a much better chance of learning Arabic. There are good courses there and daily possibilities to use the language in your daily life. I never used my Arabic in the Gulf. You are very cut off from the local culture other than your students - with whom you naturally must use English as you are their main source to use the language. The local people tend to socialize only with their families and business is done in English by other expatriates.

You posted on Emirates page about teaching academic courses at UAEU. If I were you I would save possiblities like that for a few years up the line. Al-Ain is a relatively small place with not much to do for a young single person. And I would not recommend a Westerner coming in to teach courses like that without vast experience in the Arab World first. This is a very different world. I would suggest starting with North Africa or the Levant to learn the language and the culture.

VS
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00Scott



Joined: 17 Oct 2003
Posts: 14
Location: Vancouver, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2004 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

VS,

Thanks for much good advice.

While I'm not averse to dullness (being a philosophy grad Wink), you're probably right in suggesting somewhere that would allow more opportunities to interact with the culture and to learn Arabic.

So here's the concern. Part of what attracted me to the UAE and KSA (in addition to the money, of course) is the aura of respectability that a number of the job postings have relative to similar positions in E. Asia. Are there stable and sane positions available in reputable universities in Egypt, Morocco, Syria, Jordan, or Lebannon? (If this sounds an odd question, my apologies; it's just that I'd like to find something a little less 'slippery' than teaching in Taiwan.) And is it possible on a university salary in one of these countries to afford an apartment and moderate food budget, teach 15-20 hours a week, and still put away a pauperly sum of US$1000 per month?

Thanks again,

Scott

(EDIT: I have looked through the journal, but found very little in the way of information. Nightclubs and scenary and problems with pay. I love to travel, but I don't want to work somewhere were being a traveler is the primary employment credential: is it still worth investigating the places you've listed?)
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Brooks



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1369
Location: Sagamihara

PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2004 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lebannon might be possible. But it depends on how much you would spend every month. I remember a job at a Lebanese university, and the pay was about $1600 a month.
In Morocco I didn`t hear good things about the university in Ifrane. I forget the spelling. Al-Akhwayn, I think. About $1300 a month
There are universities in Egypt, but I don`t know how much they pay.

I guess the British Council and Amideast aren`t possible, if you are Canadian.
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17633
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2004 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scott,

The most reputable, higher paying institutions are also the ones that find it easiest to find and hire teachers with the best experience. Your age and experience don't exactly place you well in the running. (no criticism intended here, but something we have all gone through Smile)

You may very well be put into a position of making a choice between living in a more interesting environment and learning the language - or being able to save $1000 per month.

AMIDEAST is more flexible in their hiring of other nationalities than the British Council is. There are fewer university level positions to be found and they are very competitive. One of the best employers would be the American University in Cairo, but very difficult to get into EFL there and academic courses require PhDs.

If I were your age, I would do a couple of years working on the language and learning the culture (and getting related experience on your CV to make myself more hire-able) and then go for the better paying jobs in the Gulf.

VS
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Cleopatra



Joined: 28 Jun 2003
Posts: 3657
Location: Tuamago Archipelago

PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2004 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

VS,

I can see why many places prefer to take on married people for the reasons you state - they are perceived to be more stable and less likely to bolt - but I've often wondered if these advantages are not offset by the fact that it is MUCH more expensive to hire them, esp. if they have kids whose education has to be paid for.

Add this to extra air fares, more generous housing allowances, and health coverage for all dependents, and the cost of hiring a married teacher increases enormously.

surely this is also a factor?
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 17633
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2004 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Cleo,

Yes, you would think that the expense of hiring couples with children would offset the 'stability' factor, but perhaps they don't look at that way. I have encountered many teaching couples through the years and that would seem to be a smart idea from an economics standpoint - one housing allowance - ticket provision factor.

Part of it may be the fact that many of the best Gulf employers prefer teachers with lots of experience - after their MAs. So that means that most will be over 30 and thus, probably married with children in school.

Hiring the married also avoids the stereotype of the partying, drinking, mingling with the locals situation that can occur if you have singles. (yes, of course, married people can be a problem in this area too---)

Analyzing the whys and wherefores of hiring in the Gulf seems to constantly provide us with fodder for speculation. Smile

VS
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