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Istanbul or bust! (can I save myself any heartache?)
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Flyrobinfly



Joined: 30 May 2012
Posts: 9
Location: Sacramento, CA

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:03 am    Post subject: Istanbul or bust! (can I save myself any heartache?) Reply with quote

Hello all,

This is my first post on this board so I thought I'd just start by saying thank you to all of you for taking time to answer questions and give advice. I've been pouring over this forum for the past month or so and am so glad to have so many questions answered ahead of time.

Like so many people, I'm thinking of moving to Istanbul this summer to try for a job in teaching English. It took my three years of thinking about it, but I've finally decided it is what I'd love to do! I've saved some money to take a course and move. I've got two BA degrees in social science fields from a highly ranked US university and not much else to recommend me to the world of prospective employers.

From reading many of the posts, I get the picture that I will not get a great position just starting in the field, especially in Istanbul, but can I get a job at all?? (I'm a bit scared after reading some of the comments on this board). Am I wasting my time thinking I can move to the city and knock on doors?

To put some of my questions more direcctly:
1. As a new graduate, is there a certificate course that would really give me a leg up in the tight competition that seems to exist in The City at the moment? (aka- is the extra cost of the CELTA course over others really worth it? Or can I get that entry level job with a cheaper course?)

2. Would it be a better idea for me to look for jobs in other cities in the country at this time in my career?

Thank you so much for any help or advice- I'm so excited to finally be doing this, and am anxious to set myself up in the best manner I can through a bit of advised planning.
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Eagle Eyes



Joined: 26 Apr 2012
Posts: 121
Location: Istanbul

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just come here to Istanbul and knock on doors. Most EFL teachers I know started out this way and got an offer or two. Just remember there are thoousands of EFL teachers here looking for work so the competition is extremely fierce. Good luck in your search!
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Polydamas



Joined: 01 Aug 2009
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think with a bit of patience it's not too difficult to get work here. Just wander around and give in CVs. While there might be a lot of ESL teachers here, that's because there are lots of jobs too, so don't worry about competition. Since you won't be replying to advertised positions, it's just down to luck on handing in a CV at the right time in the right place. Hit enough schools and you'll get something. I think Istanbul's isn't a bad place to start teaching. From what I've heard there are more teachers than there were maybe 5 years ago, but that's just driven wages down a bit- the jobs are still there.

It'd be important to have a decent bit of money saved to start off with, so you can afford to wait for a job to materialise. Start thinking in TL as soon as possible too, because in a fun city it's easy to fly through money in the first couple of weeks and regret it later.

As for courses, I'd recommend CELTA, which is what I did, but I suppose it depends on what your long term plan is. If you're just looking to teach as a short-term thing, any kind of ESL certificate would probably be enough to get you a bad job. If you want to continue in teaching though the CELTA would probably be more useful in the long run, as it's something that a lot of teachers end up getting eventually. I think it's also quite useful in terms of actually training you for the job, rather than just being a piece of paper to get your foot in the door.

For me, I'd done the CELTA before I arrived 2 years ago, and had never taught before. I handed in CVs around the centre, but not very energetically, and didn't try some schools that seem to hire readily but have something of a bad reputation. Within a month I'd got a small bit of weekend work, turned down some other stuff, and then after about 3 months had a full schedule at a different school.

One last thing I'd say is that summer possibly isn't the best place to start looking for a job, since with holidays and the heat (and Ramazan, in July / August this year) work seems to dry up a bit, but then every school is different. I've known people who've done a CELTA in Istanbul, which could give you time to get to know the city and meet some people in the summer months, and maybe get some tips on where to start looking for work.

Overall I'd say expect the first couple of weeks to be great (as you experience the city), the first couple of months to be terrible (as you start to worry about work, money and accommodation) and then for things to pick up again after that. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
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Flyrobinfly



Joined: 30 May 2012
Posts: 9
Location: Sacramento, CA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you both for your responses- it is very good to hear that its possible to get a job!

I am hoping I can find some more money somewhere and take the CELTA course before I go. I like the idea of taking it in Istanbul, but I have a summer job lined up until september. Sad

From what I've read, September seems a good time to apply aggressively. Do you both agree?

I suppose I'll print a bunch of CV's before I leave home and throw them all over the city from the airplane as I land!
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billy orr



Joined: 15 Jul 2009
Posts: 212

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is there a celta in istanbul in september? Doing the celta işn istanbul gives you the chance to look around, make some contacts and might help yu get a better job. There will still be plenty of jobs around in october, maybe more. Don't worryi whatever you do you'll be able to find a job.
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Shalana



Joined: 08 Oct 2006
Posts: 133
Location: Istanbul

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've lived in Turkey for 5 years now with 4 of those years in Istanbul. I just have a regular TEFL cert and have never had a problem finding a job. I've worked at a language school, two high schools, and two universities. If you really want to take the CELTA, see if you can get one where you will be this summer or take it in Istanbul. Istanbul is great, but rents are high. You will probably need to get a roommate. Many places give housing allowance. Some offer free shared housing. Consider other places close to Istanbul like Yalova and Bursa which are both just a couple of hours away, so you have access to Istanbul, but lower prices.

I recommend that you send out your CV to places before you get here. I got my first job at English Time when I was living in another country. I would not say that September is the prime time to secure a job. People are advertising for teachers now. You can get a job in September though, but I would not wait until October to apply. Schools will be starting after Ramazan Bayram here at the end of September. Of course, language schools go year round.

Good luck.
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Flyrobinfly



Joined: 30 May 2012
Posts: 9
Location: Sacramento, CA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello again, sorry for the late response. Thank you for the advice!

I looked into Celta courses in Istanbul- I found this course (http://iti-istanbul.com/camesol/course-details?ccid=230) which seems to be a reasonable price for a celta but I'm wondering if I will finish it too late in the year to get hired. There are earlier ones but I have a short term position here in the US until the end of August.

Is the general consensus that October is too late to apply for positions?

I'd like to apply for jobs now of course, but I feel that I should take whatever training course I decided upon BEFORE I send out resumes... Can I simply send resumes saying that I WILL take a course before starting whatever positions I apply for? That seems a bit odd to me but I thought I'd ask.

Also, I have been looking on several boards, including Dave's, for job postings, but they seem to be somewhat elusive.... I've looked through most postings on this forum for pages to check but does anyone have any favorites? Or should i be searching for the schools directly and just "cold emailing" them instead of looking for postings?

Thank you all again for your assistance! [/url]
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Flyrobinfly



Joined: 30 May 2012
Posts: 9
Location: Sacramento, CA

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 4:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello again, sorry for the late response. Thank you for the advice!

I looked into Celta courses in Istanbul- I found this course (http://iti-istanbul.com/camesol/course-details?ccid=230) which seems to be a reasonable price for a celta but I'm wondering if I will finish it too late in the year to get hired. There are earlier ones but I have a short term position here in the US until the end of August.

Is the general consensus that October is too late to apply for positions?

I'd like to apply for jobs now of course, but I feel that I should take whatever training course I decided upon BEFORE I send out resumes... Can I simply send resumes saying that I WILL take a course before starting whatever positions I apply for? That seems a bit odd to me but I thought I'd ask.

Also, I have been looking on several boards, including Dave's, for job postings, but they seem to be somewhat elusive.... I've looked through most postings on this forum for pages to check but does anyone have any favorites? Or should i be searching for the schools directly and just "cold emailing" them instead of looking for postings?

Thank you all again for your assistance!
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Shalana



Joined: 08 Oct 2006
Posts: 133
Location: Istanbul

PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can still get a job in October, especially at a language school as they hire year round, but September is probably better. Another option is to advertise for private students on craigslist - they are often unreliable, but the pay is good. You could also always wait until semester break in January.

You could tell people in your cover letter that you will be in the middle of taking the CELTA when you apply, but I have no idea if they would hire you before you got it. Having a CELTA is great, but honestly, most schools do not require one (I only know of 3 that do), so if you're doing it just to find a job, it is probably not necessary. All you really need is a 4 year university degree in any subject and a TEFL certificate (but not an online one). I got my TEFL certificate in 3 weeks through Oxford Seminars and it was not nearly as expensive as a CELTA.

Some TEFL websites to check - www.tefl.com, www.eslemployment.com, www.seriousteachers.com, www.craigslist.com (education), www.secretcv.com - Turkish, but just type english teacher in the "iş arama" blank and Istanbul in the next blank.
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Flyrobinfly



Joined: 30 May 2012
Posts: 9
Location: Sacramento, CA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shalana- thank you so much, that is s big help. The other course I was considering was the Oxford seminars one, as it is in my area. It's good to hear that I could get a job with that certificate. I think I will go ahead and do the oxford seminars course and search for jobs over the summer and in September.

Thank you all so much, all of this advice was a huge help!
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9130
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do keep in mind that the Oxford course won't be recognized everywhere, because it lacks the supervised teaching practice with real students. You may need to consider adding another course later on if you go with this one - it's not accepted everywhere.
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Shalana



Joined: 08 Oct 2006
Posts: 133
Location: Istanbul

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't get me wrong. I think a CELTA is great to have, but I don't think it's necessary to secure a job in Istanbul or probably the rest of Turkey. A CELTA may be of more use in other countries. And, who knows, it may get you a higher salary in some places. It's one of those things you can do any time when you have both the time and the money. Good luck to you.
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jserio



Joined: 15 Jul 2010
Posts: 56

PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shalana wrote:
I've lived in Turkey for 5 years now with 4 of those years in Istanbul. I just have a regular TEFL cert and have never had a problem finding a job. I've worked at a language school, two high schools, and two universities.


I spent the last two years (excluding summers) teaching English in Georgia. I loved it. Love the country, the people, and in general, that part of the world. I visited Istanbul last year and loved it. So much that I thought about working there next but the thought of shelling out $1500 to fly there blindly scares me. I have no TEFL certification (I considered a CELTA also) but I have a Masters (non English related). I'd love to work at a high school or university. I have no interest in teaching at elementary schools.

Did you teach at public or private high schools? Would 2 years ESL experience and no certification be enough to land a job somewhere in Istanbul? I'd consider Ankara too (I've heard good things about that city). I'm not interested in rural areas. I need culture and people which is one reason I love Istanbul.

Jim
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Eagle Eyes



Joined: 26 Apr 2012
Posts: 121
Location: Istanbul

PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes there are some good jobs in Istanbul teaching English....but the cost of living is extremely high and very difficult for savings. The average full-time EFL teacher here earns TL 2,000/Monthly here in wages. Good luck in your search! Smile
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Shalana



Joined: 08 Oct 2006
Posts: 133
Location: Istanbul

PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can always try to get private students. I have not heard of anyone in my 5 years in this country hiring someone without a tefl certificate or a celta or delta. I think you would have a hard time, especially since your Masters is not English related. There do seem to be some language schools that are more flexible about the credentials of their hirees, but these are probably the places you wouldn't want to work. I highly recommend you get a tefl certificate.
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