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New Teacher "Support"- What schools to start off a

 
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Flyrobinfly



Joined: 30 May 2012
Posts: 9
Location: Sacramento, CA

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:28 am    Post subject: New Teacher "Support"- What schools to start off a Reply with quote

Hello!

I'm a newly qualified teacher and am looking to move to Turkey in late January next year (2013). I have lived abroad before and have been to Turkey. I am accustomed to living in big cities too. I am less worried about the culture shock than about my lack of teaching experience. I have been ESL tutoring foreign students in the US for the last few months, and am feeling confident with my ability to run a classroom and interact with students. Like many new teachers though, I am a bit nervous about starting off in the field (because I want to do my job well) and am looking for a position that might be suitable for a new teacher.

Can anyone recommend any schools or particular cities that are better for new teachers? (to qualify "better" I mean jobs that would have some planned curriculum or perhaps team teach? Some place where I could build up my skills and gain experience...). I'm fully prepared to launch in if I need to but I thought it might be good to ask! Any first year success stories? Any schools or cities you would advise me to avoid?

Thank you all for any help! I'm very excited to be finally making this happen!
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oipivo



Joined: 02 Jan 2012
Posts: 159
Location: Poland

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is very easy to find work with no experience in Turkey. Assuming that you have a TEFL/CELTA cert. you'll be just fine. As long as you take the structures and ideas from the TEFL/CELTA course and apply them so they work for you, you will have no problems at all. Turkish students tend to be slower than other places and the level of teaching in Turkey is a bit lower (less is expected of you) than other European countries.

Apply everywhere and choose a school that seems good to you. The biggest thing is confidence. Be confident in the interview and in the classroom and there will be nothing to worry about.
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Qaaolchoura



Joined: 10 Oct 2008
Posts: 539
Location: 21 miles from the Syrian border

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I need to add a caveat, oipivo: it's very easy to find illegal work in Turkey, but legal work is considerably harder. I've lost count of how many illegal jobs I turned down before I found one that would get me a work permit. Though to be fair, I also turned down ones that involved teaching children, and while I was in Adana, I had an embarassment of leads, all of which involved teaching at secondary schools. If you're more flexible either about your legal status or who you teach (and having taught a few secondary school students I can now say that they're neither as bad as secondary school students in Korea, nor Turkish college students), things are considerably easier.

Since you can hop off pretty much anywhere and get illegal work, I'm going to give you advice on getting legal work (something more than a few posters here, from their Istanbul-centric perspective, assured me was quite impossible).

If you want to work legally, Wall Street Institute is the only employer I know for a fact gets work permits for all its employees, everywhere in Turkey, however they get them after teachers have started working. I hear English Time also does, but I also hear less positive things about their level of support.

Most universities and all public schools will get you a work permit before you start working, but you'll need something more than the bare minimum to start working there.

If you go outside of Istanbul though (and it appears that you're willing, which helps you enormously), you'll find far more language schools willing to get you a work permit, either as a matter of course, or if you demand it. In fact if you're pushy, I think most language schools outside the "big 3" and the southwest coast (pay there sucks in relation to the cost of living, but because of the beaches there are always native speakers willing to take those jobs).

As for which cities, it depends to some degree on your quals (are you public-school certified or do you merely have a TESOL cert?) and preferences of students, and hours and to a larger degree on the minimum salary you'll accept and what kind of natural climate and social climate you prefer. I tried to start a discussion of the nicest cities in Turkey here, and though it was somewhat hampered by the fact that most teachers don't venture beyond the big 3, you can see my thoughts on the matter, and a few others.

Regards,
~Q
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Flyrobinfly



Joined: 30 May 2012
Posts: 9
Location: Sacramento, CA

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you both for your replies, that is very comforting actually. I am trying to work on some lesson plans now that may be adapted easily, but it is a little unnerving not knowing who/ what level I will be teaching!

I am definitely willing to go outside the "big three" in order to work legally- I would MUCH prefer to work with the correct visa. I am moving mainly for the job and to learn Turkish, so I don't really have a preference as to where I do that. I figure I can travel around the country when I have time if I end up some place "less interesting". I don't need a lot as far as salary either, and expect I won't be making much at first anyway. Thank you, Q, for the link- I will look through that thread!

As far as my qualifications, I have a B.A. from an American university (though it is in Anthropology and Art History, not something useful like linguistics). I just have a tefl certificate (in class, not online), not a public school certification.

From the posts I see, it sounds like many teachers do not have a good experience their first year, so I was hoping of finding someone who had a good experience starting off (and maybe copying them!). I'd like to teach for a while and don't want bad circumstances to discourage me before I can find my footing. Inevitably that will be up to me, but I want to set myself up for success as much as possible.
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Qaaolchoura



Joined: 10 Oct 2008
Posts: 539
Location: 21 miles from the Syrian border

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Flyrobinfly:
I don't think most people have a bad experience in their first year, but you do have a negativity bias, here. I, for example, am largely happy with my current employer, and thus not willing to "out" myself by saying publicly who I work with. However if I had a bad experience, I'd be very happy to talk about it, and "name and shame" a bad employer.

That said, I'm an advocate of finding legal work myself, especially of you're an American (so many of us are considering going into the Foreign Service, and violating another country's immigration laws probably won't look good if we make it to the background check), despite the pleathora of otherwise excellent legal jobs.

One problem with smaller cities is that it's harder to find Turkish courses for foreigners, and believe me: if you're starting with zero Turkish it's not that easy to pick it up. I've been here a year and would stay that I'm not even elementary level, more of a "false beginner" who has just enough to get by in day-to-day life.

Any rate, legal jobs fall into three main categories:

1. Primary and secondary school jobs. The advertized positions in this area usually pay very well, are usually in out-of-the-way places, and usually require home country public-school teaching credentials. That said, I had many teachers tell me while in Adana that there were several private high schools that would hire me, and gave me a list of names (which I've now lost, unfortunately). Now isn't the normal hiring period, but still, if you cold-call enough schools you might get a hit. You almost certainly will if you wait until May or June to start looking for Sepetember-starting jobs.

2. Uni jobs. Unless you have an MA TESOL, these are going to be at prep schools. Many, if not most private unis in Turkey teach some of or all of their majors in English, and thus have special prep schools for their students. (Public unis also often teach courses in English, but don't have prep schools; students have to be good enough when they get in, or find their own lessons.) Uni students seem to the worst-behaved and least motivated of any Turkish students (not all, but a significant portion), though contrary to stereotypes I find that the private uni students I've taught are better than the public uni students. Of course this may be because private uni prep schools often aren't very good, yet most students at those institutions are content with them, so I see the best private uni students in my language schools, but only average public uni students.

3. Language schools. Like I said, in Istanbul, only Wall Street Institute and possibly English Time get work permits for all their teachers. Others get work permits for teachers who've been there at least a year (for all the good it does you in your first year), while many schools outside of Istanbul will get a work permit, either as part of the package, or if you push at them enough. As for the quality of these schools, well, I think only WSI and BilgeAdam (AFIK BilgeAdam is a pretty good place to work, but never gets work permits for its teachers) are large, centrally run chains (meaning more or less consistent levels of support), the remainder are either locally-run schools, or (as with ET and Amerikan Kültür/American Cultural Association) local franchises of a national chain. In the latter case, what you read about one school might not apply to the others, while in the former case, you'll often have difficulty finding information about the language school online.

Keep in mind that most language schools don't generally advertise, unless they're a chain filling positions in bulk (the WSI, BA, AK/ACA, and EFInst all do this from time-to-time), unless they're trying to increase the pool of candidates (in which case you, as a new teacher probably won't get in), unless they're a horrible school with high turnover that nobody on the ground longer than 15 minutes would set foot inside (Berlitz), or unless they're in an out-of-the-way place where foreigners pretty much never venture.

Most language schools rely on native teachers wandering past, and dropping off their resumes, and often aren't listed on the Internet. So if you want a language school job, my advice would be to go to a few cities in person (a great way to see the country), drop off resumes on prospect, and if you get to a job interview, see if they know the process for obtaining a work permit (they may tell you that they'll get you one, but if they don't know how, I'd be suspicious).

Additionally, you could try sending resumes to private schools and colleges. As I said, it's a bad time for it, but one thing I'd recommend, if you're in a town that has a Starbucks, is to hang out there as much as possible. Generally Starbucks in Turkey are found where foreigners and English-speaking Turks with pretensions of internationalism are found, and both groups are good sources of info on potential job openings.

Regards,
~Q
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