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Advice to NEWBIES
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Prof.Gringo



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1931
Location: Paradise, Paradise, Paradise!

PostPosted: Sat Jan 01, 2011 3:43 pm    Post subject: Advice to NEWBIES Reply with quote

This is post # 1000 for me. Very Happy Shocked Very Happy

Seems like I might as well start something worthwhile. Wink

First off, if you're young and either in university or thinking of which you should do, get a degree or go off on a TEFL adventure, get the degree.

A degree will be something which you carry with you for a lifetime. It can open doors. The wonderful and wacky world of EFL/ESL will always be there.

About getting a TEFL cert:

Avoid any on-line or weekend courses. They are simply a waste of both time and money. If you can't afford a decent on-site TEFL course or a CELTA, keep that job you have now until you've saved enough for one.

Again, a degree and a CELTA will open many doors.

But I will say this: A degree in history (or sociology or art or whatever) and a 120 hour course does not a language teacher make. If you don't have an easy-going, come what may manner and the ability to make your students both have a good laugh and learn at the same time, you're most likely fail (or have a very hard time) as an English teacher.

About work locations, if you want to make some decent money, look to the more developed, better paying Asian countries. If you just want some experience teaching in another country and don't care to make it a career (or you could care less if you make low wages forever), and even if you don't have a degree or a TEFL, Latin America is the place to be for a native-speaker. Europe is mostly closed off to non-EU citizens for legal work.

If you're a bit older and have some real life experience that can sub for a degree, than by all means take the plunge and go for it. A good TEFL course or a CELTA will help you to get started. Even though not having a degree means some countries and doors will be automatically closed, you will still be able to have many adventures and help many people learn English.

Last but not least: Those of us who have been doing this for years don't mind helping newbies and answering questions. But the reality is that most of your questions have already been answered. Simply spend some quality time searching through the various forums and threads and you will most likely find the info you need. I was a reader of the Cafe for almost two years before I ever posted, because I found all the info I needed simply by reading though all the posts that were already here.

Best wishes for all!

Happy New Year to all!


Last edited by Prof.Gringo on Sat Jan 01, 2011 5:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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denise



Joined: 23 Apr 2003
Posts: 3419
Location: finally home-ish

PostPosted: Sat Jan 01, 2011 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And a happy New Year to you! Good stuff.

One thing I would add--a plea to newbies: please, if you post a question and if you get replies, don't just disappear if the replies aren't what you hoped for/expected. There are a lot of experienced and knowledgeable people on the forum here, and sometimes the advice that they give might seem a bit cynical (especially to people with limited/no qualifications, no interest in getting qualified, and dreams of EFL bliss), but please stick around long enough to read a balanced discussion!

If you can't have all you had hoped for, it's your problem, not the problem of whoever chose to point it out to you. You can listen to their advice (which can ideally help you remedy the problem), get defensive, or simply vanish. I think the first option is the most positive for everyone concerned.

d
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Prof.Gringo



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1931
Location: Paradise, Paradise, Paradise!

PostPosted: Sat Jan 01, 2011 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

denise wrote:
And a happy New Year to you! Good stuff.

One thing I would add--a plea to newbies: please, if you post a question and if you get replies, don't just disappear if the replies aren't what you hoped for/expected. There are a lot of experienced and knowledgeable people on the forum here, and sometimes the advice that they give might seem a bit cynical (especially to people with limited/no qualifications, no interest in getting qualified, and dreams of EFL bliss), but please stick around long enough to read a balanced discussion!

If you can't have all you had hoped for, it's your problem, not the problem of whoever chose to point it out to you. You can listen to their advice (which can ideally help you remedy the problem), get defensive, or simply vanish. I think the first option is the most positive for everyone concerned.

d


Thanks! Happy New Year!

I can't agree more with your post and I have had the same happen to me.

Nothing is more frustrating than to answer a person's questions, give advice and feedback and then receive...silence.

A simple thanks and an update would be nice.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9132
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Jan 01, 2011 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prof, many thanks for a very useful post. I hope it will long remain at the top of the forum (or gain sticky status)!

I also agree with Denise - newbies all-too-often simply disappear from the board, and it's discouraging after you've really tried to answer questions. Many of us regulars demonstrate a high level of patience, answering the same/similar questions over and over, and taking the time to explain details. Acknowlegement is always appreciated.

I'd like to expand on one of Denise's points as well, if I may:

If you can't have all you had hoped for, it's your problem, not the problem of whoever chose to point it out to you.

It should go without saying, but it happens very frequently that newbies are trying to work in places they simply can't get legal jobs. Much of Asia for those without degrees. Western Europe for non-EU member citizens.
You may not agree with the laws (many of us don't), but it's important to know what they are, and to make sure that your expectations are realistic.

Realistic expectations in terms of salaries are also very important! Prof Gringo has given some broad info in his post on this topic. Just to expand a bit, Europe's wages are subsistence level at best on the newbie level. If you've got that vital UK passport, come on over, but don't expect to make enough to do more than enjoy the place you're in. A new pair of jeans will require some advance planning, and a purchase like a bicycle becomes a major expense on these salaries.

A happy and productive 2011 to everyone - newbies and Dave's regulars alike Very Happy
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Prof.Gringo



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1931
Location: Paradise, Paradise, Paradise!

PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:
Prof, many thanks for a very useful post. I hope it will long remain at the top of the forum (or gain sticky status)!

I also agree with Denise - newbies all-too-often simply disappear from the board, and it's discouraging after you've really tried to answer questions. Many of us regulars demonstrate a high level of patience, answering the same/similar questions over and over, and taking the time to explain details. Acknowlegement is always appreciated.

I'd like to expand on one of Denise's points as well, if I may:

If you can't have all you had hoped for, it's your problem, not the problem of whoever chose to point it out to you.

It should go without saying, but it happens very frequently that newbies are trying to work in places they simply can't get legal jobs. Much of Asia for those without degrees. Western Europe for non-EU member citizens.
You may not agree with the laws (many of us don't), but it's important to know what they are, and to make sure that your expectations are realistic.

Realistic expectations in terms of salaries are also very important! Prof Gringo has given some broad info in his post on this topic. Just to expand a bit, Europe's wages are subsistence level at best on the newbie level. If you've got that vital UK passport, come on over, but don't expect to make enough to do more than enjoy the place you're in. A new pair of jeans will require some advance planning, and a purchase like a bicycle becomes a major expense on these salaries.

A happy and productive 2011 to everyone - newbies and Dave's regulars alike Very Happy


Thanks and your welcome!

I skipped even trying to work in Europe. Sometimes folks hate to hear the truth, but as a friend, co-worker and supervisor once told me:

If multiple people with no common background or knowledge of each other all give you the same advice on an issue or question, there is probably a reason...
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 8829
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Happy New Year!

My advice to newbies would be to search and read up on the countries where they want to go. Degrees and TEFL certs certainly help A LOT. Though I realise that with this economy not everyone can get one. Still, there's lots of info to be had at the library and by talking to other teachers. If they can't afford a degree or TEFL cert now, they should plan and take the necessary steps to get one in the future.

It's never too late! I have a 54 year old friend who's looking to get her BA. The sooner you start, the sooner you finish.
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Glenski



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

PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:26 am    Post subject: Re: Advice to NEWBIES Reply with quote

Prof.Gringo wrote:
But I will say this: A degree in history (or sociology or art or whatever) and a 120 hour course does not a language teacher make. If you don't have an easy-going, come what may manner and the ability to make your students both have a good laugh and learn at the same time, you're most likely fail (or have a very hard time) as an English teacher.
It might not, but then again it might make you an English teacher in some countries. Yes, a degree unrelated to TEFL/TESL is often accepted from the native English speaker, merely as a sign of having done something beyond high school academics, and immigration will require that for many/most visas. Most employers tend to see things this way, too.

Having that unrelated degree and a cert is beneficial to some degree, and I agree that a cert NOT from an online source is viewed as better than one online. Many will look at things from the viewpoint of what is cheaper and/or faster to get, so keep this in mind. Know your competition, too.

Quote:
About work locations, if you want to make some decent money, look to the more developed, better paying Asian countries.
Well, there are only about 2-3 of those, depending on one's definition, so I'd have to say don't forget places like the Middle East, especially UAE.

Quote:
Last but not least: Those of us who have been doing this for years don't mind helping newbies and answering questions. But the reality is that most of your questions have already been answered. Simply spend some quality time searching through the various forums and threads and you will most likely find the info you need.
So true! I've been on this forum and a few others for almost 15 years now, answering the same questions day in and day out. Most newbies tend not to read FAQs. Just don't bite off the heads of veterans when they tell you things are not possible, or things aren't the way you thought/were told secondhand, or things are already in an FAQ that you should have read.
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 8829
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Advice to NEWBIES Reply with quote

Glenski wrote:
I've been on this forum and a few others for almost 15 years now, answering the same questions day in and day out.


I didn't know that the forum had been around for so long! Wow. I remember when they re-did it a couple years ago here. 15 years is a LONG time, thanks for all the help.
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Glenski



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

PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Advice to NEWBIES Reply with quote

naturegirl321 wrote:
Glenski wrote:
I've been on this forum and a few others for almost 15 years now, answering the same questions day in and day out.


I didn't know that the forum had been around for so long! Wow. I remember when they re-did it a couple years ago here. 15 years is a LONG time, thanks for all the help.
If you look at the date on my avatar (2003) you can see when the last major change was made here. My post count was reset then, along with others.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9132
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mine too. I joined in 1998.
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mimi_intheworld



Joined: 23 May 2010
Posts: 167
Location: UAE

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent thoughts and reminders, all.

I would just add, for those of you who've been here forever and sometimes (okay, constantly) find yourself repeating the same thing to the newbies... Some of us actually DO take the time to search through the threads of history here. Then we go on to ask questions that have been asked a hundred times before because the last "up-to-date" answer to a question might have been in 2006.

This at least was my experience. Referring newbies to the search box only helps if the question asked has been newly answered (or re-answered) within the past year. Times, they are a'changing and all that.

Thanks again! Perhaps one day soon I'll be able to pass down my own sage advice.

Or...not.
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 8829
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:20 am    Post subject: Re: Advice to NEWBIES Reply with quote

Glenski wrote:
naturegirl321 wrote:
Glenski wrote:
I've been on this forum and a few others for almost 15 years now, answering the same questions day in and day out.


I didn't know that the forum had been around for so long! Wow. I remember when they re-did it a couple years ago here. 15 years is a LONG time, thanks for all the help.
If you look at the date on my avatar (2003) you can see when the last major change was made here. My post count was reset then, along with others.

Yep, I'm also from 2003. I think I joined before that, but can't remember. I started TEFLin in March 2003 though.
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Glenski



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

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mimi_intheworld wrote:
I would just add, for those of you who've been here forever and sometimes (okay, constantly) find yourself repeating the same thing to the newbies... Some of us actually DO take the time to search through the threads of history here. Then we go on to ask questions that have been asked a hundred times before because the last "up-to-date" answer to a question might have been in 2006.


hi, mimi,

So many newbies do not take the time to search the threads, or even tell us whether they have. This should be a standard point they bring up when posting for the first time(s).

Quote:
Referring newbies to the search box only helps if the question asked has been newly answered (or re-answered) within the past year. Times, they are a'changing and all that.
Not necessarily. Even when some messages are found, they may not be current, but even something in 2006 may be just as relevant as 2011 in some cases. The main problem I find is that many people don't even say what other threads they have found, so we don't know how old/recent the info is that they are using!

So many OP posts begin "So..." as if they are continuing a conversation thread, when in fact they are only starting one. That is a pet peeve of mine.


Last edited by Glenski on Tue Jan 04, 2011 6:58 am; edited 1 time in total
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denise



Joined: 23 Apr 2003
Posts: 3419
Location: finally home-ish

PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Case in point: the "finding that first job" thread. Glad I didn't get involved in that one... You try to offer advice and get told off for it.

To echo a comment made on that thread, best of luck to folks who disregard responses (which can be anything, of course, from subjective personal opinions to actual facts about working requirements) and venture out there anyway. Some of you will get lucky; some of you won't. But if you respond with hostility towards people on the forum who were trying to help you, you'll definitely piss a few people off on the way.

d
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Steinmann



Joined: 17 Mar 2009
Posts: 252
Location: In the frozen north

PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

denise wrote:
Case in point: the "finding that first job" thread. Glad I didn't get involved in that one... You try to offer advice and get told off for it.

To echo a comment made on that thread, best of luck to folks who disregard responses (which can be anything, of course, from subjective personal opinions to actual facts about working requirements) and venture out there anyway. Some of you will get lucky; some of you won't. But if you respond with hostility towards people on the forum who were trying to help you, you'll definitely piss a few people off on the way.

d


Please believe that some of us really do value input from those in the know around here, even though it may be discouraging at times.
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