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TESOL cert. course..Worth anything???
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Tiffany Bouffard



Joined: 05 Mar 2003
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2003 6:04 am    Post subject: TESOL cert. course..Worth anything??? Reply with quote

Alright. Here is my situation and I'm asking for candid advice and counsel. I have decided to teach English abroad to see if it may, in fact, be what I wish as a career. I have two years of university under my belt but no degree as of yet. So, in order to best qualify myself and make my resume as appealing as possible to prospective employers, I've been humming and hawing over taking the TESOL certification course (quick 100hr course) through either Teach and Travel or Global TESOL.
Now, at this point I'm wondering...Do employers truly put any faith in this certificate, or is it merely a way of companies to capitalize on the growing demand for English teachers? Is it worth taking? I would truly appreciate advice and any suggestions for better preparing myself to teach. I have extensive tutoring experience and a sincere desire to teach well and with enthusiasm. I'm just not too sure how to proceed. Please, advice would be welcomed and greatly appreciated.
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Albulbul



Joined: 08 Feb 2003
Posts: 364

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2003 6:19 am    Post subject: Let me be frank Reply with quote

I will be frank and you might not like that.
You are wasting your money on one of these certificates. Your best investment would be to complete your degree course and graduate.

Away from the US and UK no one cares about these courses. What they want is someone who has studied at a university and graduated.

Now you can stamp your feet if you want, but that is the best advice I can give.
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Paul G



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 125
Location: China & USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2003 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Teach & Travel certificate is a complete scam. Go to the Teacher Training Forum http://www.eslcafe.com/discussion/dz1/ and you can do a "search" for both T&T and Global TESOL.

While I agree with Albulbul that you should finish your degree, I disagree with his statement about training courses in general.

Someone with a BA in basket weaving would be more employable than you if you went out right now and completed a legitimate TESOL training course, despite the fact that you would probably be more qualified to teach EFL than the individual with the BA.

If you get a TESOL/TEFL/TESL certificate that has a minimum 100 classroom hours and a minimum 6 hours of observed classroom instruction (essentialy the international standard for intensive courses) you should be able to find a job in China. If you decide that you like teaching, you should definitely finish your degree. You might even consider a major in TESOL or applied linguistics.
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2003 6:59 am    Post subject: sound advice Reply with quote

Hello Tiffany:

I agree 100% with Albulbul that finishing your university degree should be your first priority. If you don't do it now, you might never do it.

Without that degree, you are limiting yourself, in most cases, to 'second rate' ESL jobs, and that might result in a very negative first experience for you, which could 'turn you off' to the idea of teaching English entirely.

My advice: finish your degree now, and then consider where you'd like to live and teach. In some countries, an additional TESOL or CELTA certification can be a 'plus', but it is ALWAYS a secondary consideration. The first consideration by serious employers will be your university degree ... followed by your good looks, charm and sense of humour. Laughing

Good Luck, Tiffany,
kEnT
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Irish



Joined: 13 Jan 2003
Posts: 371

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2003 7:10 am    Post subject: Well, you did ask for candid advice Reply with quote

The gentlemen have offered you wise counsel--take it. But also start thinking about where you want to go and research it. You don't want to go somewhere simply because they're the only people who'll hire you then come to the awful realization that you hate the country.

I empathize with your position because I was in it myself once. But I didn't go abroad for a dry run as a teacher. Instead, I found an organization in my city where I taught immigrants as a volunteer. It wasn't a perfect substitute but I got great support from the organization and, terrible as my initial classes were, I really liked it. A couple of my students even managed to learn something. (But they were so smart, I suspect they would've done so anyway.)

Look around locally for something like this where you can do small group work rather than simply one-on-one tutoring. (Tutoring is good--I did that too--but not quite the same as teaching a class as I'm sure you know.) You might also look at places that do volunteer work abroad. That way, you can keep working on your degree and get the experience you're after. Go to the Teacher Training Forum and look for the thread on this--it's something like "Volunteer First." A fellow named Guy Courchesne has some good counsel in there. Whoever runs the study abroad program at your university might even know of something that fits you. (And wouldn't it be nice to get experience and credit?)

Whatever you do, finish your degree. Don't give up...just find a better way.

Good luck!


Last edited by Irish on Tue Mar 11, 2003 12:02 am; edited 1 time in total
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bnix



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 645

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2003 7:29 am    Post subject: Excellent Advice..Finish that Degree! Reply with quote

Albulbul and the others gave you excellent advice.You are going to need that degree to be competitive in the TESOl field.Otherwise,you are going to restrict yourself to scammy,basically rip-off jobs.You will also need that degree later in life when you might want to get out of TESOL.A lot of prospective employers automatically "roundfile" any application with no degree.

Those cert things?The other posters are right on that issue,too.It is much more important that you get the degree.A lot of those cert programs exist solely for the purpose of putting money in the pockets of the people who run the programs.Although there are some legit cert programs out there,you should definitely worry about getting the degree first.Will it guarantee you anything? Maybe not.But it is almost an ironclad certainty that you will not get very far without one.

Best of luck.The others gave you great advice. Smile
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Tiffany Bouffard



Joined: 05 Mar 2003
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2003 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply to the TESOL cert. inquiry. Reply with quote

Wow you guys! I'm very grateful for all the wonderful info/advice. Honestly, I can see that it is very sound. I've got so much more to make a decision with and decide on a course of action. Once again, thanks so much!! Will stay posted.
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arioch36



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 3589

PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2003 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everyone agreeing. Don't see that often. Good advice. As I think Irish said, do some research. Choose a country and see what they want. You will soon see that there are very few countries who make mention of wanting a cert, they want degrees. Of course, if the cert companies have their way, this will change. Experience will mean nothing, all that will matter is the piece of paper saying you did a 4 week course.
Hope that doesn't happen
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taiwan boy



Joined: 11 Feb 2003
Posts: 99
Location: China

PostPosted: Sat Mar 08, 2003 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The above advice is good. I just want to add my two cents worth.

TESOL certification is not worthwhile unless you intend to teach ESL as a career or at least for a few years. If teaching ESL is just a way for you to experience living in a foreign country for a while and then return to a regular job in your home country then a certificate is not necessary.

If you do decide to get a certificate choose the course carefully. Some are not worth the paper they are written on and may not be recognised. The most widely recognised certificates are the Cambridge/RSA CELTA and the Trinity TESOL Certificate.
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Stephen



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Posts: 101

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2003 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tiffany

Some very good advice has already been given. You might find it isn't possible to get a work visa without a degree. In some countries you may be able to get round this, in some you won't. It helps if you have an idea where you want to go.

Regarding a certificate, it will certainly give you some sort of basic idea of what to do. However, how well regarded it is will depend on where you are going. For some countries it is a must, in some countries employers will think any native speaker will do. (This is not something I agree with, so please not nasty comments; it is, however, sadly true.) Again do some research!

Also look and see whether you can do any courses as part of your degree which would be relevant. You never know, unless you investigate!

If you do choose to do a certificate course then as Taiwan Boy said the Cambridge RSA CELTA & Trinity college cert.TESOL are the best known. (Whether they are the best is debatable, but look carefully at anything which isn't one of these, some of the courses on the market are genuine scams.)

Also it seems to me that whereever there is a strong British English presence a lot of important will be attatched to having a CELTA or equivalent (at least for decent jobs). But this may not be what is being looked for where there is a strong American English presence this may not be what is looked for. So it helps if you are clear where you want to go.

Good Luck
Stephen
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Brenda



Joined: 13 Feb 2003
Posts: 48
Location: Montreal, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2003 7:52 pm    Post subject: University vs. TESOL Certification Reply with quote

Hi Tiffany,

A lot of wise advice here and I agree that you should go ahead and finish university. Had I the time and more importantly, the $$$ to go back to college and university I would do so in a second.

I admire the fact that you expressed a true desire to teach, not all ESL teachers are in it for this.

As many have said, Teach and Travel is a scam. I know, I took the course and so I know how ill-prepared it can leave you for actual classroom experience. I've already expressed my views on it in the Mexico forum if you care to take the time to read it.

My opinion is for you to finish University and then take a TESOL course to polish off your credentials. Yes, most countries require that you have a degree in order to issue you a work visa but some like Mexico and China will take you with a TESOL certificate. Yes, a university degree certainly opens a lot more doors and will help you get better paying jobs, but I don't agree with those who say that you'll be stuck with crappy jobs if you only have a TESOL cert.

As for actual classroom experience, yes, it's a great idea! Find some local volunteer groups. The best way to learn is to jump in! Volunteer groups may not be as organized as schools, but that in itself is experience! Wink

If you want to hear my views on teaching in Mexico or about the Teach and Travel cert course, send me a message and I'll be happy to answer any questions.

Good luck!

Brenda
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Irish



Joined: 13 Jan 2003
Posts: 371

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2003 10:05 pm    Post subject: Things to keep in mind for your future career Reply with quote

Hello again Tiffany

I hope your research is going well and that we haven't overwhelmed you. As arioch pointed out, it's a rare thread that sparks almost universal agreement around here.

There's a point that some of the later posts have touched on that bears emphasizing: immigration requirements versus employer requirements. Never assume those things match! This may be more detail than you want at this stage but, assuming that you do want to teach, it's something you'll have to think about eventually.

"Teaching" covers a lot of ground. Do you want to work at a conversation school, high school, or university? Would you prefer to teach children, teenagers, college students, or working adults? You probably don't know yet; that's okay. Once you know what kind of institution you want to work in, you need to know what qualifications they want and make sure you can get a visa. Requirements vary by country. A simple cert won't cut it in many places.

I'm not knocking certificate programs--I'm sure some are useful. However, if you want to work in a country that requires a BA to get a visa, it won't matter if you have a dozen certs to hang on the wall. They just want to see your BA (and, if it's in underwater basket weaving or advanced spear fishing, they won't care). Then again, a country might let you in without a BA but if you've set your heart on, say, teaching at a university, potential employers might demand an MA. Sometimes these rules can seem a bit arbitrary but if we want to play in their yard, we've got to play their way.

Full disclosure: I'm doing an MA but not because I think everybody should. I'm doing it because it meets my particular needs based on my investigation of where I want to work and who I want to teach. A cert and a BA might work for you...but know before you go!
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peakbagger03



Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 13
Location: benton harbor MIchigan,USA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2003 2:35 am    Post subject: how to present your degree and resume Reply with quote

Question When you are traveling and going from school to school, what is the most profesional looking manner to present your degrees/resume? It would seem to be a very time consuming process to send for transcripts and degree verifications. Especially since I'm heading to so america where most people claim that you need to show up in person to get a position.

thanks
peakbagger
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2003 5:24 am    Post subject: some advice Reply with quote

Dear Peakbagger03,

Good question. Here's what I do. I carry a notebook computer around with me all over the world. Most or all of these notebook computers today have built-in power converters so they can be used in any country. You may have to exchange the 'plug' of your power cord to match your new country's electrical system, but that's a piece of cake.

If you don't already have a laptop, I would suggest buying one (even a used one is fine, and a lot cheaper) since it is a GREAT investment AND very convenient for a career in ESL.

On my notebook, I keep my updated resume' (in Word format), along with a scanned copy of my original university transcript, photos, letters of recommendation, etc. When job hunting, I simply send out this 'package' of documents in an email. During the hiring stage, most employers will accept scanned copies of these documents.

Then ... after you 'land' that perfect, cushy ESL job, you may have to actually present your original diploma or transcript to either a) an immigration official b) your new employer (who will present these documents to immigration on your behalf) or c) someone at an embassy ... in order to get your shiny new visa.

In the above scenario, the main advantage is that YOU retain control of the original documents until you get to wherever it is you're going.

Another HUGE advantage of being organized on a laptop is the ease with which you can apply for positions. Basically, it's just point, click and 'attach'. I've been using this system for many years now, and so far, it has worked very well for me.

Of course, there may be a few countries in the world where this system doesn't work, but I haven't encountered them yet. Wink

Good Luck, Amigo Exclamation

JustMy2RublesForYa,
kEnT
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arioch36



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 3589

PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2003 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My biggest advice (besides looking, acting and talking "professionally) is not to innudate them with information. Here in China, the Foreign Affairs Officer (FAO) will have people send her/him a 2 MB e-mail, clooging up her computer and time.
Keep it short and simple, but have extra info readily available upon request.
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