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Kidding Yourselves
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cgage



Joined: 14 Oct 2006
Posts: 73
Location: Memphis

PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Timothyfox, you are exactly right. I have taught ESL in public schools for more than seven years and it has just gone downhill. Education has become politicalized like heatlhcare has become a thing of Wall Street. There are rumors that tenure will no longer count for anything. You can be let go just because someone doesnt like you or your teaching style.
Or they blame you if your students dont excell. Welcome to cartoonland.

I'm looking to retire and teach ESL in a different situation. I'm not crazy about the idea of Japan or Korea but I hear they're some of the only places that actually pay a living. I'm far too old to do the backpack ESL thing. If anyone has some profound insights into what's really available, I would be interested.
The 21st century has been difficult for public school teachers. Just ask a teacher. Where do they think this army of so-called effective teachers are going to appear from. WE are the experts. We are the ones who care for the children.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 4323
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cgage wrote:
I'm looking to retire and teach ESL in a different situation. I'm not crazy about the idea of Japan or Korea but I hear they're some of the only places that actually pay a living. I'm far too old to do the backpack ESL thing. If anyone has some profound insights into what's really available, I would be interested.

Actually, the days of the backpacker EFL teacher are limited. There are legit TEFL jobs abroad if you're not too choosy about location. You might post on the general forum for leads and info about teaching overseas.

But frankly, your MLS is your secret weapon. There are well-paying positions in schools and universities throughout the world and in the US that advertise library-related job opportunities from librarians to library specialists to library administrators. Try sites like higheredjobs.com and chronicle.com, as well as the US Dept of Defense Education Activity (AKA DoD schools).
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scintillatestar



Joined: 19 Oct 2009
Posts: 73
Location: New York, NY

PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chinagirl is correct. There are jobs available for licensed teachers and masters holders. Moreover, there are TESOL programs that will let you obtain both the masters and the teaching license. I would recommend one of these; even if you work at a university, you still have additional job options. Many universities have IEP programs now and hire full-time faculty. Public school hiring really depends on the state and district, but districts that have a lot of immigrants are often looking for ESL teachers.

TESOL.org is pretty much the place for university IEP jobs. Most of them are for U.S. universities and most of those are full-time positions with benefits.
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southpawgrammar



Joined: 19 Mar 2012
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can definitely relate to a lot of comments on here.

I'd also like to add that in my experience you're up against an seniority culture which is postively Stone Age. Teachers work between X number of institutions for years until they are offered some level of permanency in one post and then nest down 'til kingdom come.

Younger, innovative teachers are not valued as there is limited space to accommodate them among the Council of Elders. Also because they are the lowest on the seniority list, they are the first to be cut when demand is down leaving bright eyed and bushy tailed students to be taught by Methuselahs who are beyond criticism due to their long term union membership.


It's basically a waiting game for the oldies to croak!
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12305
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The same is true of the UK. Going abroad to do TEFL is a one-way ticket. Those who come back have great difficulties in finding work and really have to re-train. A career in EFL in Britain is not really an option.

Last edited by scot47 on Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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spotz



Joined: 11 Jul 2009
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been suffering for about more than a year now. No job that could pay for even basics. Finally have decided on MA. TEFL is really a career if you want to stay out of US. All those experience years and extra certifications were a waste for me. I have to retrain and restart . I wish someone had told me this before i had gone that direction.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 4323
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spotz wrote:
I have been suffering for about more than a year now. No job that could pay for even basics. Finally have decided on MA. TEFL is really a career if you want to stay out of US. All those experience years and extra certifications were a waste for me. I have to retrain and restart . I wish someone had told me this before i had gone that direction.

Given the state of the US job market these past 6 or so years, plenty of American workers have been going through some sort of retraining or "reeducation" in order to stay employed in their current field or move into an entirely different profession. Moreover, a bachelors degree is now worth the equivalent of a high school diploma. So your situation isn't uncommon.

The problem is limiting yourself within one field. It's easy to get complacent or comfortable doing the same old routine versus acquiring the skills to broaden your skillset and knowledge in order to compete in an unpredictable, tight job market. When you see others moving up or out into something better, it's not always because someone else advised them to go into that direction.

Being proactive is key. Before you start deciding on an MA program, look at job ads in the fields you're interested in to check out the qualities or qualifications employers prefer or desire---don't just focus on the basic qualifications. Use those employer "wish list" skills, knowledge and abilities as a guide on which subjects/skills are must-haves when choosing an MA program. In other words, focus on the program's content (coursework) instead of the title or name of the degree. Also, read up on trends in your chosen field. This is an invaluable resource that's often overlooked.
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denise



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

PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spotz wrote:
I have been suffering for about more than a year now. No job that could pay for even basics. Finally have decided on MA. TEFL is really a career if you want to stay out of US. All those experience years and extra certifications were a waste for me. I have to retrain and restart . I wish someone had told me this before i had gone that direction.


If you're hoping to make a career of ESL in the US, you really need an MA. Not having one could very well explain why you have been struggling. It is sort of a minimum qualification, much like a random degree + TEFL are minimum qualifications elsewhere in the world. Not that it is a guarantee of a stable job (the economy being what it is and the general state of ESL in the US, etc.), but stable, full-time jobs with benefits DO exist. No, they won't make you rich, but trust me, it is possible to teach in the US and live a comfortable life (depending, of course, on your definition of "comfortable"--but I certainly am not suffering now that I am working in the US).

d
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smedini



Joined: 24 Feb 2006
Posts: 178

PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

denise wrote:
If you're hoping to make a career of ESL in the US, you really need an MA.


...or at the very least a CELTA or other certificate that is recognized by TESL Canada (or it's American equivalent).

And I don't see anything wrong with this. The world of ESL in North America lacks standardization and there is an ongoing current attempting to rectify this situation. If all ESL institutions, from private schools to k-12 school boards to government-funded immigrant schools have set minimum standards, then teachers know what they need before even trying to apply (thereby cutting down on the level of frustration that we see here) AND the levels of pay, too, can be standardized so that someone with a BA and 'backpack' ESL experience doesn't get paid more in the same city than someone working with an MA or a CELTA. It will also do the ESL students in North America some good to have qualified teachers working all around.

For the record, I do have an MA and I get paid very well working in a government-funded school here in Canada (enough so that my spouse could stay home with our children). But I wasn't always in that boat. Teaching conversation in Korea for two years on the back of a BA in History does *not* make you a qualified language teacher. I don't say that to be haughty; I say it from bitterly-won experience. I came back from Korea in the late 1990s believing that because I had two years' experience teaching English, I was qualified and deserved a pretty decent job. I found myself in Vancouver - a hotbed of language schools at the time - and I did luck into a pretty great gig teaching TOEFL. I also found, however, that I was sooooo not experienced enough to teach the classes and both myself and my students suffered, so I left the job and did what I thought best: I found another job (non-teaching), I privately tutored some Korean students (rather lucrative), and decided that if I was going to bridge the gap between backpack TEFLer and professional language instructor, I was going to be serious about it. And it has paid off.

Also for the record, I know more than ten ESL teachers (outside of my colleagues), all of whom have at least a CELTA, and all of whom have very good jobs here in Canada (those people live everywhere from Halifax to Vancouver). It is possible to get a good job here - though I can't speak to the US market - it just seems that more and more employers are requiring their teachers be qualified. Again, I see nothing wrong with that.

IMHO
~smedini
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Ixchel



Joined: 11 Mar 2003
Posts: 155
Location: The 7th level of hell

PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:14 am    Post subject: Re: don't forget public schools` Reply with quote

chinagirl wrote:
Understandably people looking for jobs in higher ed are having difficulties finding work, but there is a shortage of certified ESOL teachers in K-12 education. I would seriously advise people coming back from working overseas to look at teaching at the high school level or below. The work is steady, good benefits, and the immigrant and refugee population continues to grow nationwide.


I just searched the entire community college system in Southern California and found one pool part-time job (that's not a job it means you're put into a pool and maybe one day if there's an opening they'll grant you an interview) There are about 10 private ESL schools in the entire county (LA) and they are notorious for low pay, crappy hours and poor conditions plus no job security.
In California there is no such thing as ESOL at K-12 (I've taught non and limited English speakers in the public school system 24 years and 2 years as an assistant) All subject matter is now taught in English, it's called "sheltered English" or whatever the latest jargon is. Simplified English. Students are no longer given ESL lessons.
And even so, if you get your teaching credentials you are also required to get the CLAD (or BCLAD if you're fluent in Spanish, Korean, Chinese) which is the state version of an ESOL cert.
Plus they've laid off thousands and thousands and thousands of teachers across the country in the past 3 years.
If you're young (good luck if you're over 40) and have teaching credentials you can try charter schools which are proliferating. The conditions are terrible, the turnover unbelievable, the pay is low and many of them do not pay into the state teacher's retirement system which is better than Social Security.
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burrito



Joined: 01 Oct 2012
Posts: 9
Location: New Orleans

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It only took me 2 and half years but I'm now teaching ESL again and it wasn't easy to get here. I did have some luck in getting an adult ed job and from we wrote some grants to get funding for a new program. The game has changed and we can no longer shake a tree and get a job... especially a State side ESL position. It takes a whole lot of good luck and creativity these days.
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Ixchel



Joined: 11 Mar 2003
Posts: 155
Location: The 7th level of hell

PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No such thing as ESL for elementary/secondary school children in California. They are taught all subject matter in sheltered English rather than special ESL classes. There were never any ESL schools for adults here other than an handful of fly by night ones. There's a couple downtown run by Koreans who are notorious for not paying not to mention that there are no full-time hours and the pay is less than working at Starbucks. A couple of universities had English Language programs those are mostly closed. Adult schools (connected with school districts) have ESL classes but those are only a few hours a week, not exactly to live on or pay bills. And those teachers stay 20 years. There are zero ZERO community college jobs in Los Angeles right now. I checked their website yesterday there were no jobs. Not one in any subject area.
I've been a teacher in Los Angeles for 24 years and I'm surprised at what people are posting about ESL jobs. In my world they don't exist. Period.
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Chancellor



Joined: 31 Oct 2005
Posts: 1335
Location: Zibo, China - if you're willing to send me cigars, I accept donations :)

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BadBeagleBad wrote:
It's Scary! wrote:
I went back to the US in 2010 and hooked up with my current job in ESL within four months! What's the prob, Bob?



people who can't find jobs over the long haul either don't have the credentials or don't have the experience or both.
I just wanted to highlight this point.
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Chancellor



Joined: 31 Oct 2005
Posts: 1335
Location: Zibo, China - if you're willing to send me cigars, I accept donations :)

PostPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

denise wrote:
spotz wrote:
I have been suffering for about more than a year now. No job that could pay for even basics. Finally have decided on MA. TEFL is really a career if you want to stay out of US. All those experience years and extra certifications were a waste for me. I have to retrain and restart . I wish someone had told me this before i had gone that direction.


If you're hoping to make a career of ESL in the US, you really need an MA. Not having one could very well explain why you have been struggling. It is sort of a minimum qualification, much like a random degree + TEFL are minimum qualifications elsewhere in the world. Not that it is a guarantee of a stable job (the economy being what it is and the general state of ESL in the US, etc.), but stable, full-time jobs with benefits DO exist. No, they won't make you rich, but trust me, it is possible to teach in the US and live a comfortable life (depending, of course, on your definition of "comfortable"--but I certainly am not suffering now that I am working in the US).

d
Not to mention that all teachers in the evil empire known as The Empire State (New York), regardless of grade or subject matter, are given a limited number of years after getting hired to get a master's degree. Given the overall economy and the way school districts are laying off teachers left and right due to budget cuts, anyone trying to break into the teaching market from outside (whether from another career or from another location) is competing with all those laid off teachers for what few jobs might come along.
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Jessiemiles



Joined: 07 Jun 2012
Posts: 49
Location: Home

PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

southpawgrammar wrote:
I can definitely relate to a lot of comments on here.

I'd also like to add that in my experience you're up against an seniority culture which is postively Stone Age. Teachers work between X number of institutions for years until they are offered some level of permanency in one post and then nest down 'til kingdom come.

Younger, innovative teachers are not valued as there is limited space to accommodate them among the Council of Elders. Also because they are the lowest on the seniority list, they are the first to be cut when demand is down leaving bright eyed and bushy tailed students to be taught by Methuselahs who are beyond criticism due to their long term union membership.


It's basically a waiting game for the oldies to croak!


Another unfortunate trend is for the positions that are left vacant when 'grandfathered' employees retire (retirement comes before croaking for most I hope Wink ) to be filled by contract work.

I don't have K-12 experience, but the colleges and universities are offering fewer permanent ESL teaching positions. While it is possible to get one of these 'good' (few contact hours, good pay) teaching job, it's becoming more and more difficult to secure full-time permanent employment with benefits.
I don't imagine this trend will stop any time soon as the savings to the institutions are considerable.

timothypfox wrote:
If you are coming back to the states or Canada, I suggest either having strong connections or getting an MA or ... as the poster suggests changing careers altogether...


I agree. Be aware of the ESL climate in North America and be ready to make changes when returning home. While a career as a TEFLer may not provide riches, it does result in a certain level of flexibility and adaptability, both of which are invaluable in a difficult job market.
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