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University Teaching
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TeresaLopez



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Posts: 601
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:37 am    Post subject: University Teaching Reply with quote

I am considering moving into University teaching and would like to ask those currently in a university position for advice about what I should do over the next year or so to improve my chances. I have a Bachelorīs Degree in Elementary Education, 1 year teaching in a Catholic elementary school, 5 years in the public school system in Milwaukee, WI, 5 years experience as a Spanish language news editor, 2 years as a translator on a government research project (US), 3 or 4 years total experience in language schools, 6 years experience as a private tutor, and for institutes giving small group classes. Oh, and a year of coordinating for an institute.
I also have a TESOL certificate, 7 graduate hours, and numerous CU credits and workshops. I was considering taking this course:
http://www.up.edu.mx/Default.aspx?doc=5616
since it focuses on teaching High School and University students. Also, is there any value in taking the TKT? Or am I good to go with what I have? I do have lots of reference letters from former students, but most of the schools I worked for have new directors who donīt know me, though I have old evaluations from teaching, and a letter from the schools system that states when I worked for them - thatīs all they give anyone. Thanks in advance.
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Enchilada Potosina



Joined: 03 Aug 2010
Posts: 344
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd say you're good to go but if you're considering further education then a (relevant) masters would be the best option as a) a lot of unis have it as a minimum requirement to hire (plus it'll give you more teaching options) and b) your hourly rate will be considerably better.

If you're going to work in a private uni gather up all the bits of paper you can, degrees, recommendations, letters validating the amount of time you worked in previous jobs etc. This usually affects your hourly rate. A government uni probably won't ask for so much paperwork as they have a set rate for degree, masters, doctorate etc.


Last edited by Enchilada Potosina on Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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TeresaLopez



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Posts: 601
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you know of a good program or an affordable distance program?
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geaaronson



Joined: 19 Apr 2005
Posts: 948
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I teach adjunct at two Yucatan universities. One of the universities has decided that all the English teachers must hold a TKT starting next September. I am currently studying for it and find it very easy and basic.

There has been a relative tightening in accreditation everywhere I have gone here in Mexico. Here in the Yucatan, more and more schools are requiring that the Mexican English teachers have PET certification which comes to about 450 on the TOEFL scale. This is particularly low as mediocre universities in the states require 500 for entrance to undergraduate programs. But this is the general trend anyway as more and more qualified Mexican EFL teachers are hitting the pavement.

If you find a program let me know. My masters is not in Applied Linguistics or Education. Currently I am looking into the DELTA program but as I am 6 years from retirement further education may be moot.
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TeresaLopez



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Posts: 601
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I am going to take the TKT, I have a study guide and think I could probably take it tomorrow and pass, and itīs another piece of paper to add to the stack. If I hear of anything Iīll make sure and pass it along. I am not opposed to getting additional training since I am probably going to work another 10 or 15 years. How do you like your job? What are the students like? Do you know what they are asking native speakers for in terms of certifications? I am not technically a native speaker, but have been speaking English since I was 5 or 6 and have no accent, so I always say I am and no one has ever questioned it.
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Enchilada Potosina



Joined: 03 Aug 2010
Posts: 344
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TeresaLopez wrote:
Do you know what they are asking native speakers for in terms of certifications?

It really varies from uni to uni, state to state. Some play a flat rate, some ask you for all you bits of paper. The government one I work at are Cambridge crazy so they ask for the ICELT primarily plus at least CAE level English if you're not a native speaker. If you work at the UVM (which I don't recommend, at least not in SLP) chain of unis they work on a scale according to qualifications which starts at about $70 an hour and goes up to $250 depending on the amount of certs you have. Another uni I worked at had a rate for natives and a rate for non-natives. I'll let you guess which was higher.
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MotherF



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1082
Location: 17°48'N 97°46'W

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Teresa,
Are you looking to move or stay in Mexico City?
If you are planning on staying in the great big city, why don't you enquire at some of the universities you are interested in as to what their minimum requirements are? Also, I suspect that there is some flexibility in requirements depending on how great their need is. Like if classes started today and they don't have a teacher, well you're on board just as you are because you have a pulse and are present in Mexico City. But if they have eight weeks to fill the position and a pile of resumes, than having a higher degree will help you.

It is also worth considering that English teachers fall into a wide variety of postions within different universities. Some offer an English major so there is a facultad de idiomas or some department. In those universities the higher degree is probably more necessary. In others different faculties have English teachers to teach the students within their departments only. Many others are organized with a Centro de Idiomas. These centros seem to opporate in two different ways. The first is like any other department or faculty and the teachers are much like other professors at the university in terms or types of contracts, pay rates, and profiles. The other opporates like a support instution to the university. Almost like say a copy center. The teachers in these Centro de Idiomas are treated like support staff in terms of types of contracts, pay rates, and profiles. These Centro de Idiomas also often offer classes to the general public for a fee. Basically a language school under the umbrella of a university.
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Prof.Gringo



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

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TeresaLopez wrote:
I think I am going to take the TKT, I have a study guide and think I could probably take it tomorrow and pass, and itīs another piece of paper to add to the stack. If I hear of anything Iīll make sure and pass it along. I am not opposed to getting additional training since I am probably going to work another 10 or 15 years. How do you like your job? What are the students like? Do you know what they are asking native speakers for in terms of certifications? I am not technically a native speaker, but have been speaking English since I was 5 or 6 and have no accent, so I always say I am and no one has ever questioned it.


TKT is BELOW a CELTA. If you take a look at the structure of Cambridge programs its: TKT, CELTA, ICELT, DELTA.

Mexican schools ask for the TKT because it is cheap, easy to get (compared to an actual program), designed for NON-native speakers and it carries the almighty Cambridge name.

I am tired of seeing people bat around TKT like it is some kind of great teacher qualification in Mexico. It is just an exam. Every teacher with a TEFL cert. should have the knowledge of the TKT exams and then some. Of course a CELTA is much higher than a TKT.

http://www.cambridgeesol.org/exams/teaching-awards/index.html

http://metamexico.ning.com/forum/topics/849670:Topic:721?commentId=849670%3AComment%3A6487
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TeresaLopez



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Posts: 601
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MotherF wrote:

Are you looking to move or stay in Mexico City?
If you are planning on staying in the great big city, why don't you enquire at some of the universities you are interested in as to what their minimum requirements are?


Either one, actually. I have asked a few places here, but was looking to get a broader perspective. Thanks for the info, that was very helpful. I was thinking since it isnīt something I am planning on doing right away, but rather for next fall, it wouldnīt hurt to get some extra bits of paper, if they can be gotten in 6 - 8 months.
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TeresaLopez



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Posts: 601
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prof.Gringo wrote:

Mexican schools ask for the TKT because it is cheap, easy to get (compared to an actual program), designed for NON-native speakers and it carries the almighty Cambridge name.

I am tired of seeing people bat around TKT like it is some kind of great teacher qualification in Mexico. It is just an exam. Every teacher with a TEFL cert. should have the knowledge of the TKT exams and then some. Of course a CELTA is much higher than a TKT.


You keep saying that it is for non-native teachers, but according to the Cambridge link you so graciously provided:

TKT is suitable for teachers of English in primary, secondary
or adult teaching contexts and is intended for an
international audience of non-first language or first language
teachers of English.


I am not saying it is some great teacher qualification, I simply asked if people were asking for it. I have seen the study guide, so am fairly sure I could pass it, my question was if it would make me more marketable.
But while it might be a basic certificate, it is pretty comprehensive, so I donīt think that is a bad thing for schools to ask for. And, some schools are asking for it for ALL teachers.
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Enchilada Potosina



Joined: 03 Aug 2010
Posts: 344
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TeresaLopez wrote:
I am not saying it is some great teacher qualification, I simply asked if people were asking for it. I have seen the study guide, so am fairly sure I could pass it, my question was if it would make me more marketable.
But while it might be a basic certificate, it is pretty comprehensive, so I donīt think that is a bad thing for schools to ask for. And, some schools are asking for it for ALL teachers.

Again it depends where you go. I teach on a language degree where the students take it during 5th semester. Go to another uni and they may think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread and all teachers must have it.
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TeresaLopez



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Posts: 601
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Enchilada Potosina wrote:

Again it depends where you go. I teach on a language degree where the students take it during 5th semester. Go to another uni and they may think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread and all teachers must have it.


Right. So it certainly wonīt hurt to add it to my bits oīpaper, though it is a lower qualification than others I already have, it is a different one.
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Enchilada Potosina



Joined: 03 Aug 2010
Posts: 344
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TeresaLopez wrote:
Enchilada Potosina wrote:

Again it depends where you go. I teach on a language degree where the students take it during 5th semester. Go to another uni and they may think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread and all teachers must have it.


Right. So it certainly wonīt hurt to add it to my bits oīpaper, though it is a lower qualification than others I already have, it is a different one.

The more the merrier.
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geaaronson



Joined: 19 Apr 2005
Posts: 948
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
How do you like your job? What are the students like? Do you know what they are asking native speakers for in terms of certifications?
Teresa Lopez


I do like both my jobs. The students are all over the place, both in terms of interest and capability.

Starting with the worst are the Gastronomy students. These are the future chefs of fusion food, Japanese tempura and Mexican cuisine in Cancun, Playa de Sol and Tulum. They will be slaving away in the kitchen for the next 40 years in posh, upscale restaurants either part of Cancun`s hotel system or smaller bistros in the Maya Rivera area.

Gastro students are nortoriously apathetic about English. It`s a mixed bag with them and out of 20 students maybe 5 realize the value of learning English. The other 15 pay lip service to the value of becoming L2. They`re behaviour in class is mixed. Twice a year I get the chronic talker who goes non-stop from the moment of entrance to the class to their departure. There`s whispering while I lecture, sometimes a beauty queen will tinker with her cosmetics. During interactive games 80% participate.

No one is English conversant in my classes with a rare exception. Usually about 4 out of 50 students have begun lukewarm efforts at forming complete sentences. Almost all understand my terrible Spanish, more than half my English. I teach in both but the further down the course line, the more I speak in Spanish.

The tourism students are the eager beavers. They want to learn the language as they understand how necessary it will be for them to get positions in the trade.

Marketing students are midpoint between the two.

I have taught lawyers, doctors, accountants, economists, statisticians and engineers on a private basis in both Merida and DF and their English levels are very high, anywhere from 500 to 600.

What I have generally observed is that the professions garner the best L2 learners. Those that have the most difficulty are the skilled professionals such as the future marketers, tourist guides and cooks. If someone is much brighter than his cohorts he gravitates towards the more highly educated professions. It`s unfortunate but those that end up rubbing shoulders with the tourists are for the most part, the least English conversant.

Trying to make future chefs realize that their future promotions on the job may depend on their English speaking abilities is often futile. These students only want to work as chefs, and would not be able to pinch hit for the absent maitre d, managers, or pr. At some point in their lives they will hit a brick wall in the restaurant heirarchy.
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geaaronson



Joined: 19 Apr 2005
Posts: 948
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Quote:
How do you like your job? What are the students like? Do you know what they are asking native speakers for in terms of certifications?
Teresa Lopez


Here in the Yucatan, the best universities are looking for a masters in Applied Linguistics. I know of one teacher who was adjuncting for two schools, a university and a prepa in Merida who had a MBA degree from Harvard U. who taught here in Mexico for 5 years before throwing in the towel and returning to the states where she put the MBA to a higher income usage.

My first degree is in English and I have never taken an Education course other than the TEFL certificate I got here in Mexico. My 2nd degree got me 7 years of teaching on the university level back in the states. I have had many years of teaching workshops on the adult education level and in various government programs before that.

I don`t know what to tell you about how to get a position here. I suspect it`s very competitive in DF but once you get outside there you may have a much better chance. My guess is that with your present qualifications you would easily get a position with a prepa in DF if you had the CELTA certificate, and would stand a good chance of getting university teaching in much smaller cities as such as I did. (My city has a population of 50,000)
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