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BA in TESOL was it the right decision?
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lalazart



Joined: 05 Mar 2011
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:01 pm    Post subject: BA in TESOL was it the right decision? Reply with quote

Hello,

I am currently a fourth year TESOL student at the University of Wisconsin, and after reading many posts here on the forum I am starting to second guess my decision to get my BA in TESOL. From the sound of it on here it seems that everyone suggests that the most important thing is to get certified, also when looking at the job board it looks like most of the higher paying jobs ask for certification, but none them ever mention anything about having a BA in TESOL. This might be because not too many schools offer a bachelor's degree in TESOL. I would think that the BA would actually be more valuable than the certification, because the amount of time and number classes one needs to take to get a BA, and also the BA program at my school is almost identical to the MA program other than having to write a thesis at the end. I would ideally like to teach in Japan after I graduate, and I have taught in Taiwan for a year, but it was only one on one tutoring with substitute teaching a few times at a language school. I should also mention that this summer I am going to do a two month summer camp in Japan.

So basically what I am wondering is having a BA in TESOL any better than being certified? and with a TESOL BA and the experience I will have after doing my summer camp do you think I would be able to find a job in Japan or anywhere in Asia for that matter? I am not really sure if the job market is as bad as most people make it sound on here. What I noticed in Taiwan was that there was a lot of people searching for jobs, but just about all of them had no practical qualifications for being a teacher, so I would think having a BA TESOL would help, but I am not really sure.

Thanks for any help you can give me
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11128
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're right in that a TESL BA is rare. I used to be in hiring, and I'd certainly give your CV a second look, though. Certainly a BA should be worth more than a cert, though the supervised teaching practice could be an issue. Was this included in your BA?

In any case, a 30 day cert shouldn't be a huge hardship to add if you find you need to.
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tttompatz



Joined: 06 Mar 2010
Posts: 1951
Location: Talibon, Bohol, Philippines

PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A 4 year BA specializing or with a major in TESOL will certainly trump a 30 day entry level course (especially if your practicum is 90 hours as indicated by the calendar).

# WISCONSIN, UNIVERSITY OF—EAU CLAIRE, Bachelors degree with a TESOL add-on license, Wisconsin, USA
# WISCONSIN, UNIVERSITY OF--GREEN BAY, BA in humanistic studies (linguistics/TESL emphasis); BS in education with a minor in humanistic studies, Wisconsin, USA
# WISCONSIN, UNIVERSITY OF--GREEN BAY, BA in humanistic studies (linguistics/TESL emphasis), Wisconsin, USA
# WISCONSIN, UNIVERSITY OF–RIVER FALLS, B.S. or B.A. in TESOL with an option for K–12 ESL license in Wisconsin


Anyplace that doesn't recognize it at being substantially more than a TESOL cert (of any brand or flavor) is NOT someplace I would even consider working at.

It opens the door to ALL of Asia, ALL of the Americas (including the USA and Canada), ALL of Africa and about the ONLY PLACE that you would be left in the cold would be Europe (visa issues).

IF you couple it with the option for the k-12 ESL license then you also open the door for international schools as well as public and private schools and lower tier universities in ALL of Asia and the Americas (from Mexico south).

It also leaves you in a great position to, if you are inclined, continue into higher academia on completion of a related MA.

.


Last edited by tttompatz on Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:00 am; edited 1 time in total
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spanglish



Joined: 21 May 2009
Posts: 715
Location: working on that

PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should be able to get an M.A. in just a year. Do that; problem solved.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11128
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't agree about adding the MA in advance of teaching for a couple of years. An MA holder with no experience isn't such a strong candidate, and in a practical sense, studying theory without any experience of practice isn't the best standpoint to benefit from the MA anyway.

OP, you'll find work. Consider the MA a couple of years down the road.


(especially if your practicum is 90 hours as indicated by the calendar).

Excellent. Be sure to highlight this when you send off CV/resume. It does indeed seriously trump a 30 day cert (as it should).
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lalazart



Joined: 05 Mar 2011
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is my program:

# WISCONSIN, UNIVERSITY OF–RIVER FALLS, B.S. or B.A. in TESOL with an option for K–12 ESL license in Wisconsin

However, I am not getting the teacher's license, because after being in Taiwan for a year I really wanted come back and finish up with my degree ASAP, and if I don't plan to teach in the U.S. I don't really see the point.

I did think about getting my MA, because they literally are the same classes just with bigger exams and longer papers, so I think it would be very easy to finish that with in a year, but I agree I should get some experience first.

I haven't had any supervised teaching practice really, but in my methods class we had to demonstrate a lesson with each of the different methods.

I guess my ultimate goal would to become an art teacher in a international school, but I am still young and can think about that when I am tired of being an ALT or whatever I start off doing.

Thanks for your help though. It nice to hear advice from people other than my professors, because most of them don't have a lot of experience teach ESL overseas.
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tttompatz



Joined: 06 Mar 2010
Posts: 1951
Location: Talibon, Bohol, Philippines

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lalazart wrote:
This is my program:

# WISCONSIN, UNIVERSITY OF–RIVER FALLS, B.S. or B.A. in TESOL with an option for K–12 ESL license in Wisconsin

However, I am not getting the teacher's license, because after being in Taiwan for a year I really wanted come back and finish up with my degree ASAP, and if I don't plan to teach in the U.S. I don't really see the point.


GET THE teacher's license.

It doesn't take that much longer (a mere blink compared to the length of a career) and moves you into a whole other world in terms of options, pay and benefits.

As a direct example that you can relate to:

Teaching in a buxibans you earn about 50k per month (if you can find a full time job), have no housing and no benefits.

Add the license and you can land a position in a k-12 school, earn a salary of between 75-90k PLUS (family) housing, medical, airfare allowances, longer (paid) vacations etc.

Thailand:
BA without certification as a teacher and you either work in a government school at 35k per month or a language academy (with much larger teaching loads) at 45k and NO benefits.

Add the license and you move into the EP/bilingual/international schools and salaries in the 60-100k range.

China: 3-6k (+ airfare allowance and housing) for a BA.
Add the license and 10-15k + full benefits.

.
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lalazart



Joined: 05 Mar 2011
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once I have the license how hard is it to find a k-12 job?
When you say 60-100k is that a yearly USD salary? (if so wow!)
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Perilla



Joined: 09 Jul 2010
Posts: 792
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Totally agree with tttompatz - the teachers' licence moves you into a whole new ballgame, so it's worth getting it out of the way while you're still home-based.

But IMO tttompatz's salary predictions are a tad high for a newbie, though you can certainly reach that range within a few years. In HK for example (which is at the higher end of the global salary scale for expat teachers), the NET programme or an international school would pay a qualified teacher with two years' experience about USD60K a year. (You're unlikely to get either without at least a year or two's experience though).
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tttompatz



Joined: 06 Mar 2010
Posts: 1951
Location: Talibon, Bohol, Philippines

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lalazart wrote:
Once I have the license how hard is it to find a k-12 job?
When you say 60-100k is that a yearly USD salary? (if so wow!)


Sorry, no. Not an annual salary in USD.
Newbie (licensed teachers), monthly salaries in the local currencies.

Works out to somewhere between USD24k-35k per year + benefits with potential yearly savings of about 50% (unless you tend to be a spendthrift).

You can, after a few years in the business get up to $40-60k per year in some of the more mature economies and/or better international schools but one thing to seriously look at is not necessarily the base salary but the net savings per year when you are comparing positions abroad.

A teacher in Thailand earning $24k per year can probably save more than USD15k and still live very well where a teacher in Canada earning USD50k and having a comparable lifestyle will save far less every year.

.
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wiganer



Joined: 22 Sep 2010
Posts: 189

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lalazart wrote:
This is my program:

# WISCONSIN, UNIVERSITY OF–RIVER FALLS, B.S. or B.A. in TESOL with an option for K–12 ESL license in Wisconsin

However, I am not getting the teacher's license, because after being in Taiwan for a year I really wanted come back and finish up with my degree ASAP, and if I don't plan to teach in the U.S. I don't really see the point.

I did think about getting my MA, because they literally are the same classes just with bigger exams and longer papers, so I think it would be very easy to finish that with in a year, but I agree I should get some experience first.

I haven't had any supervised teaching practice really, but in my methods class we had to demonstrate a lesson with each of the different methods.

I guess my ultimate goal would to become an art teacher in a international school, but I am still young and can think about that when I am tired of being an ALT or whatever I start off doing.

Thanks for your help though. It nice to hear advice from people other than my professors, because most of them don't have a lot of experience teach ESL overseas.


I have a joint honours BA in Linguistics and TEFL. If you are going to do this for a career then it is very useful and can lead onto the bigger jobs in the middle east whereas most people would need a MA in TESOL or linguistics to do the same. I second Ttompatz - get licensed! This would lead onto a load of really interesting opporunities such as public school in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi. None of them are shabbily paid.

MA TESOL is worth it in my opinion. It all depends if you want to stay in this game. If you don't then don't spend too long teaching, not only is this an addictive lifestyle but after a while, your CV ends up being an excellent CV for EFL and not much else. (unless you get licensed of course)
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 9041
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Getting a teaching license would open doors to international schools which pay substantially MORE than TEFL jobs. At laest most of them. Intl schools can pay US salaries plus benefits. Compare that to about $700 a month in Latin America.

It's well worth it to get the QTS.

You'll probably have to work two years in the US, but you could still go to intl school job fairs and see if they will hire a newly quailfied teacher. Schools from the more popular countries may not, but those from less popular countries might.

So while US salaries might not seem to be a lot, if the cost of living is low, you can save a lot. Imagine, if a teacher can get by on $700 a month and save a bit, what could you do with $3000 a month?
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Glenski



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

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So you want to work in an international school in Japan teaching art.

Get the teachers' license and 2 years of experience in the U.S. first.

Read the information about international schools in Japan so you know what to expect.
http://www.tokyowithkids.com/fyi/international_schools.html

Attend job fairs and interview well.

Seems like a waste to have taken a BA in TESOL when you want to be an art teacher...
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fladude



Joined: 02 Feb 2009
Posts: 432

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know people are just piling on ideas, but I'll toss one more in there, double major in English, or some similar content area (Journalism/ Communications for example). Not many US schools actually hire TESOL teachers. But every school hires English teachers. And a lot hire journalism teachers. So getting a job at a school would be a lot easier. Plus the English degree is obviously going to be an additional selling point. But I don't know how feasible that would be in your 4th year. What you DON'T want to do is pile on additional debt. Sometimes it is cheaper and easier to become a certified teacher through "alternative" certification than it is to take classes in college which are often greatly overpriced.
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lalazart



Joined: 05 Mar 2011
Posts: 17

PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fladude wrote:
I know people are just piling on ideas, but I'll toss one more in there, double major in English, or some similar content area (Journalism/ Communications for example). Not many US schools actually hire TESOL teachers. But every school hires English teachers. And a lot hire journalism teachers. So getting a job at a school would be a lot easier. Plus the English degree is obviously going to be an additional selling point. But I don't know how feasible that would be in your 4th year. What you DON'T want to do is pile on additional debt. Sometimes it is cheaper and easier to become a certified teacher through "alternative" certification than it is to take classes in college which are often greatly overpriced.


but a TESOL degree is already a type of an English degree, so I would think that having two BAs in English would be a little redundant. I was hoping the fact that not many schools hire TESOL teachers would be to my advantage. Being that I want to teach ESL, and having a degree in TESOL would give me the advantage over an applicant who has a journalism degree and wants to teach ESL. I also have almost no interest in teaching anywhere in the US, at least at this point in my life.

Could you please tell me a little more about alternative certification? it sounds very interesting to me, as I only have one semester left after this current one, and I am very excited to start teaching abroad.
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