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First step in Turkey ESL. What should I be aiming for?

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Joined: 20 Jul 2016
Posts: 22

PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2016 7:07 pm    Post subject: First step in Turkey ESL. What should I be aiming for? Reply with quote

Hi there,

I'm seriously considering work in ESL in Turkey and I'm in the early stages of my research.

I was wondering if someone could tell me what I can reasonably expect for my first gig there or what I should be aiming for.

About me - CELTA, Bachelors in English Literature, Masters and 10 years' classroom ESL experience in East Asia ranging from kindergarten to university level.

Taught for Cambridge exams as well as EAP stuff. Taught a lot of public speaking, too and loved it.

First, a broad question - what do you think is the best deal I could get with this combo of qualifications and experience?

Salary, accommodation, contact hours etc.

I'd prefer to be working with students who are intermediate level and above with an emphasis on conversation classes.

I'd like to be working in Istanbul.

Thanks in advance for your advice!
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Kim Macintosh

Joined: 26 Dec 2013
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm surprised you haven't gotten any responses before. I left Turkey a year ago, so my opinions are a bit out-of-date, what with the coup and all.

Still, you have good quals and are not what I'd call a journeyman, so you should be able to transcend the private school racquet (known as dershani, being the many, many proprietary retail schools), and focus on colleges and universities.

Your best deals will come in-person, when the pressure is on them to get (good) people hired, near when the major school terms begin. On the other hand, with a little time, patience and luck, you have good enough quals to line-up a reasonable position via skype.

There is also the non-trivial business of adaptation and support outside the classroom. Again, being in-person puts you in a FAR better position to manage things. Otherwise you will be trusting to fate. The visa business is non-trivial, and unless you are confident they will give you the help needed things could go to mud after 90 days. Finding (good/appropriate) accommodations will also be a hassle the school can/should help with. Turkish is not an easy language, and you will find many people in nicer neighborhoods who'll know enough English....enough to screw you, that is. It's not that they aren't great people, and that they won't be great landlords or neighbors, but rather that business is business, after all...

I think its always better to arrive in-person, where you can see what's really going on and make informed judgements. They can size you up as well. It all helps to avoid that mess with "bad fits". Life is just too short. It bears repeating that YOU are very much in the drivers seat when you are there in-person and THEY need you more than you need ONE position.

Depending on luck, and more importantly, the luck you are in a position to make (especially in person, and in Istanbul), you should be able to do quite well. I'll leave it to others, or your own poking around old posts, to guess at the salary range you might reasonably expect.
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