Too Old, No Degree, Want To Teach English?

One of the best things about this blog is that I get great questions from people who want to teach English abroad, but wonder about their circumstances and if they can make it happen or not.

Here is a recent email:

I have been considering teaching English in a Spanish speaking country, preferably Spain. If not there then Central or South America. I am 62 yrs old and in excellent health. I have been with [a major international bank] for 11 plus years. I am semi-bilingual, since my wife is Colombian. What do you think of my age? Am I too old? How do I find out if I would be eligible to teach in Peru for instance? I have an Associates degree only (a two-year vocational type degree). I have taught a little in a voluntary setting. Can you share your thoughts with me?

My response follows – and I want every person reading this blog and thinking about working abroad to apply such thinking to their job search.

Hi Bill,

You wrote:

What do you think of my age? Am I too old?

You are only a couple years older than me – not too old – you have a lot to share.

And . . .

How do I find out if I would be eligible to teach in Peru for instance? I have an associates degree only. I have taught a little in a voluntary setting.

For Peru specifically contact Sharon – she is a bit of a Peru specialist – but she also knows Latin America well: naturegirl321 @ yahoo.com

You can tell her Ted sent you.

BUT – I would say that you can create your eligibility – you have eleven years with [a major international bank]? Teach Business English, teach Banking English, create a few courses, sell yourself to corporations, banks, etc as someone who knows business and Business English – see this page:
http://tefldaddy.com/Your_Special_Skills.htm

Yes, you are going to be limited by your two-year degree if you just go and search for any old regular English job, so focus on your Special Skills.

Start here: www.BusinessEnglishEbook.com — get that ebook and start to create a few courses for the specialties you already know. Go to a new country offering something (specialized knowledge and training) rather than going asking for something (a job).

Good luck! Go get what you want.

TED’s Tips™ #1: Most people have some sort of work history. You can CREATE a demand for your specific skills if you focus your job search in that area. Again see: Special Skills.

TED’s Tips™ #2: Search for a job OFFERING something: special skills, special knowledge or if nothing else flexibility and a willingness to adapt – rather than searching for a job just asking for a job.

What’s up in China? Learn about a great internship program on offer if would like to Teach English in China

How to Teach English Overseas and Secrets to Success Abroad
TEFL Boot Camp  is offering a free download of their new publication Seven Secrets of Success Abroad - and along with it comes a bi-weekly installment and revision of their eBook called How to Teach English Overseas.

Great reviews for the Secrets of Success eBook – in spite of the hokey name – and the How to Teach English eBook is being updated and rewritten and sent out in installments as it is ready.

Here they are – click on the eBooks to get your FREE copies! Great information and the price is right, from our friends at TEFL Boot Camp – CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE EBOOKS.

HowToTeachOverseasCover

SevenSecretsCover

Please let me know what you think of the ebooks – use the comments section below.

I confess both eBooks are written by yours truly – hoping to inspire others to head overseas and live life BIG out in the real world. I would value your feedback!

Working TEFL, Making Money . . .

How much can I make teaching English abroad?


I want to share with the readers of this blog one of the most frequently asked questions that I get. And I want to give a good answer to it. Cut to the meat of the issue: How much can I earn, can I pay off bills and student loans, can I do it even at 30+ years of age? My answers are below the questions – but bottom line is “A lot, but it depends” “Yes” and “Yes” – but for the details, read on . . .

A reader wrote:

I wanted to ask you a question regarding the age topic and relative ease at which someone can make a decent living at esl teaching abroad.

My questions are, in one of the top paying ESL locations in Asia specifically Taiwan, can I expect to earn at least $2,500 – $3,000 dollars a month if I work 30 to 40 hrs at one job or would I need to have a part time job i.e.:(tutoring, another school, etc)? I am trying to make sure that I can afford to live and pay off my school loans from teaching esl abroad. I understand the reality is you make a lot less compared to US salaries, but I want to make sure I will have enough to live and pay off loans and save a little.

Also I am 32, have a TESOL cert and an MBA and think its time to live abroad and learn a new language/culture. I have traveled abroad to Asia in the past but never lived or worked there, so would the fact that I am 32 hinder my chances of getting a job in ESL? Also could I make a career out of ESL and teach abroad indefinitely? Any insight would be helpful especially from someone who’s already done it!

It is important to understand that it is not how much you can earn – but rather how much you can bank (your discretionary income).

While Taiwan ranks high in Asia for wages, the benefits provided with jobs often do not match other countries that pay a bit less. For example, Korea pays only a bit less than Taiwan, but you get free accommodation, paid air tickets and a lower overall tax rate – and, bottom line, you have more bankable income than in Taiwan.

The overall cost of living in Taiwan is higher than in Korea also. I found it less stressful to teach private classes in Taiwan, but they were less plentiful than in Korea and private classes paid more in Korea.

China should not be ruled out either. With your MBA, you should be aware that there is a demand for Business English that far exceeds the interest in it in Taiwan and Korea. Lower cost of living, even lower taxes and sometimes, you could even bank more money in China than in Korea (not always, but sometimes).

And again – in China, free accommodation, reimbursed air tickets and sometimes even free utilities (which are expensive in both Korea and Taiwan).

True Bottom Line? You can save far more in Korea, China and Taiwan than you can in the States. And it looks like taxes and FICA in the USA are going to be going up up up soon to pay for all the debt associated with the “Stimulus” spending.

Contact me at Ted@TEFLteacherTraining.com and let me see if I can connect you with a good Business English job in China. You mention your age, it won’t be a problem and in fact will be a bit of an advantage. Middle-aged businesspeople don’t want to learn Business English from a young kid with no business experience. You will be better able to relate to them, their work, the demands and pressures of the lives; far more so than a 21-year-old fresh out of university.

You also asked,

Can I make a career out of TEFL and teach abroad indefinitely?

You bet you can – I did – and many others have and are doing it right now. But be forewarned, it is such a different and enjoyable life you may never go back . . .

Go get ‘em!

TED’s Tips™ #1: For those whom money is a concern the question isn’t “How much can I make” – it’s “How much can I BANK”.

TED’s Tips™ #2: Be sure to look at the full package: total wages, taxes, cost of living, ability to earn extra income legally (or quasi-legally) on the side and benefits provided such as free accommodation, subsidized utilities and air tickets when computing your bankable wages.

What’s up in China? Learn about a great internship program on offer if would like to Teach English in China

How to Teach English Overseas and Secrets to Success Abroad
TEFL Boot Camp  is offering a free download of their new publication Seven Secrets of Success Abroad - and along with it comes a bi-weekly installment and revision of their eBook called How to Teach English Overseas.

Great reviews for the Secrets of Success eBook – in spite of the hokey name – and the How to Teach English eBook is being updated and rewritten and sent out in installments as it is ready.

Here they are – click on the eBooks to get your FREE copies! Great information and the price is right, from our friends at TEFL Boot Camp – CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE EBOOKS.

HowToTeachOverseasCover

SevenSecretsCover

Please let me know what you think of the ebooks – use the comments section below.

I confess both eBooks are written by yours truly – hoping to inspire others to head overseas and live life BIG out in the real world. I would value your feedback!

Your Lifestyle and Finding a Suitable TEFL Location

How to find a place that fits your lifestyle

Assure your social survival

Much like checking out the financial situation, you need to carefully investigate the social situation where you hope to go. A lonely life overseas is no fun at all.

Ask, Ask, Ask

Again, go to popular discussion boards and ask about lifestyle issues.
Are the local people friendly or xenophobic? Will you find yourself isolated or quickly absorbed into an active local or expatriate community?

I lived for three years in a smallish community in Korea, but because of friends, had a great social life. Others find themselves in small towns, lonely, isolated, and quite unhappy, though that can happen just as easily in large cities.

It might be best, with your first job, to avoid smallish towns or cities, particularly in countries where foreigners are not quickly accepted or in communities where there is not an expatriate community.

The Expatriate Community

As much as we would all like to live in, adjust to, and be accepted by the people of a foreign culture, it is often more difficult than it might seem and usually takes some time. A strong expatriate community can provide good support during your initial days, when you don’t know the language and need to sort out your living situation.

Fresh in a new community, it can even be difficult to figure out where to find food that you are familiar with. Other issues that you might need help with: getting a telephone, cable or satellite TV, a computer and/or Internet connection, driver’s license (some jobs will require this), a car or motorcycle. Even getting drinking water delivered to your house can be problematic.

These are just the beginning issues: what about going to immigration and getting a resident visa, a work permit and whatever else may be required on that side?

Often your employer or coworkers can/will help you with these issues, but not always.

Ask discussion boards about the kind of support you might expect to find in your new community.

Also ask about any lifestyle issues you may be unsure about.

TED’s Tips™ #1: You will spend much more time away from work than you will at work, yet most people neglect learning about the lifestyle and social situation where they are going. Be sure you know – before you go.

TED’s Tips™ #2: Get involved in the local expatriate community. It doesn’t need to be to the exclusion of the local people, it can be in additional to.

What’s up in China? Learn about a great internship program on offer if would like to Teach English in China

How to Teach English Overseas and Secrets to Success Abroad
TEFL Boot Camp  is offering a free download of their new publication Seven Secrets of Success Abroad - and along with it comes a bi-weekly installment and revision of their eBook called How to Teach English Overseas.

Great reviews for the Secrets of Success eBook – in spite of the hokey name – and the How to Teach English eBook is being updated and rewritten and sent out in installments as it is ready.

Here they are – click on the eBooks to get your FREE copies! Great information and the price is right, from our friends at TEFL Boot Camp – CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE EBOOKS.

HowToTeachOverseasCover

SevenSecretsCover

Please let me know what you think of the ebooks – use the comments section below.

I confess both eBooks are written by yours truly – hoping to inspire others to head overseas and live life BIG out in the real world. I would value your feedback!

TEFL as a Career Requires Patience

Patience is a true virtue in TEFL

Everything from visa paperwork, to cultural differences to students not quite getting what you are trying to teach them; everything in TEFL requires some patience on your part.

If you are not a patient person, try to pick up some coping skills so you can manage gracefully while you are abroad.

A confession here: I am NOT a patient person. But I have learned a better way to look at and understand processes that I can not always influence.

I can’t control the mid-level bureaucrat who processes my visa. She can make my life pleasant or very difficult. It really is up to her, so it is always better if I approach her with a smile and patience in my heart and a willingness to smile and dance whatever dance she chooses to call.

Getting upset or wired up about it just won’t solve anything and is more likely to create even more problems.

Especially in your early years as a TEFL teacher you will find the bumbling along of bureaucracies to be somewhat frustrating. But you really only need to look at your own home country and remember a bit just how recalcitrant those people at the driver’s license place were or how difficult it might have been to get your first student loan.

Life overseas is not really as different as it might seem, it is often only that you don’t have a full grasp of the culture and language that is how you can get caught in little whirlwinds of paperwork and frustration.

I mention this now as I was recently helping someone process their visa paperwork to teach English in China when all of a sudden a specific form was needed from an authority from the teacher-candidate’s academic past. The form was found and sent to the requesting official who promptly overruled it as it did not have a “chop” or stamp from the school on it.

Now, as we all know, stamps don’t don’t mean quite as much in our culture and usually a signature is just fine. But not in this case.  In China that “chop” is of more value than a signature. And all this was going on during an extended holiday time, with the usual difficulty finding and getting anyone to do anything.

It all got sorted out in the end, but the teacher-candidate just about gave up with frustration.

TED’s Tips™ #1: Realize that the frustrations you are facing before you even get to your job are probably less than those you will deal with when actually on the job.

TED’s Tips™ #2: don’t forget that there were things that frustrated you in your own country as well. Life is life. It is full obstacles but also full of wonder and rewards when we overcome those obstacles.

What’s up in China? Learn about a great internship program on offer if would like to Teach English in China

How to Teach English Overseas and Secrets to Success Abroad
TEFL Boot Camp  is offering a free download of their new publication Seven Secrets of Success Abroad - and along with it comes a bi-weekly installment and revision of their eBook called How to Teach English Overseas.

Great reviews for the Secrets of Success eBook – in spite of the hokey name – and the How to Teach English eBook is being updated and rewritten and sent out in installments as it is ready.

Here they are – click on the eBooks to get your FREE copies! Great information and the price is right, from our friends at TEFL Boot Camp – CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE EBOOKS.

HowToTeachOverseasCover

SevenSecretsCover

Please let me know what you think of the ebooks – use the comments section below.

I confess both eBooks are written by yours truly – hoping to inspire others to head overseas and live life BIG out in the real world. I would value your feedback!