TEFL Career Ladder

After your first TEFL job – then what?

Another reader (in her late 40s) was wondering what she might do next when she wrote in with this question:

Any suggestions on the type of jobs to pursue? I even thought of joining the Peace corps.

I don’t know where you teach now, but as you get older and/or more experienced it is good to either specialize in an ESP such as Business English, Teaching Examinations like TOEFL or teaching Hospitality English in Resorts and Hotels; move up to university/college teaching and/or if you have enough experience, teacher training. For the ESP angle, some good options for learning more about them are over at TEFL Boot Camp.

Three good options – ESP, University, Teacher Training. I am not sure that the Peace Corps will help you with any of those. Now – I am a Peace Corps fan as I was a volunteer in Botswana 89-91 and I believe in service to your country and/or to humanity – so the Peace Corps option depends a lot on your motivation for joining. If it is to see the world, then you already have the tool – TEFL. If it is to serve and nurture the world a bit, then it is a good option.

One option I haven’t suggested is the position of DOS (director of studies) which is typically a supervisory position in many schools. If supervisory skills come naturally to you and you enjoy such work – then it might be a good option for you. But often the DOS position is the guy/gal who fills in at the last second when someone doesn’t show up and they also do a lot of hiring and firing. Those are three things that I don’t enjoy! So I left it out.

TED’s Tips™ #1: There are lots of options in TEFL, you don’t have to keep doing the same thing on and on and on – unless of course you are super happy with what you are doing – then keep on doing it!

TED’s Tips™ #2: College and university positions often require graduate degrees, but with a TEFL Certification (pretty much any kind) and a degree, you can land a good college level job in China these days.

 

Choosing a TEFL Training School

Bottom Line on a Four Week TEFL Course

A reader already working in Korea and intending to change countries wrote this question:

I would like advice on what type of 4 wk TEFL course you might suggest. So many programs to choose from.

If you intend to continue in Asia, take your TEFL training in Asia, so you are doing your observed teaching practice with students who will have similar problems as the students that will be in your future classroom.

The biggest problem in the industry is that so few teacher trainers have either very much good formal training in teaching and education AND/OR have so little experience actually teaching before they became a trainer AND/OR have taught in only one country. Thus, they have limited knowledge of the larger world out there to share with their trainees (you).

I know at least TWO teacher-trainers who started training teachers fresh out of their TEFL training with NO previous teaching experience at all! I know of at least one with a fake degree and I won’t go into the other things I’ve seen. (It’s not all bad, there are some great trainers out there!)

Because of all that, I tend to recommend TEFL Phuket in Thailand (on Phuket Island) as the teacher trainer there has a masters degree in education, a post graduate certificate in TEFL and he has been teaching overseas since 1992. And he has a couple countries under his belt as well as teaching experience with everything from 5 star resorts, to university to kindergarten, to bored housewives. In other words, there is a lot to learn from this guy. And . . . well, there is nothing wrong with studying on a tropical island with beautiful beaches. Just my opinion though. Go over and take a look at TeachEnglishPhuket.com for a bit more information about the area, the school, jobs and more.

Why do I recommend that school?

My bias as a semi-retired former teacher trainer is that you should buy the best teacher trainer you can get. Forget the fancy websites and the marketing BS, puffed up curriculums and syllabi, get a teacher-trainer who has been out in the trenches, had some ups and had some downs and still loves teaching.

Inexperienced trainers, while perhaps able to follow a good curriculum, really have very little to share with you and at least half what goes on in TEFL training is the trainer’s experiences and opinions about different situations and problems you will encounter in and out of the classroom.

TED’s Tips™ #1: How to choose a school? Buy the best teacher-trainer you can find.

TED’s Tips™ #2: TEFL Program.com is a good place to read about TEFL Schools and what you need to learn about a school before you sign up.

The OTHER Side of TEFL . . .

What you DON’T hear about TEFL on the Internet

On the Internet we read so many stories about crazy TEFL schools around the world, crazy recruiters, crazy countries and ideas, but it seems no one ever posts about the difficulties that teachers cause or the craziness that teachers bring to the mix.

It is pretty much a one-sided story out there. Unless, of course, you are reading the Chinese EFL School Owners forum (if one exists).

Anyway – I thought long and hard about what to name this post.

Some strong contenders:

WTF?!

What are you guys watching on TV over there?

Are you all crazy!?

Do you BELIEVE everything you read?

Yeah . . .

What has me saying that?

Well, today – and the names will be changed to protect the innocent – a teacher who had already been hired and was 90% of the way through the visa process for taking up her position in China – and part of that process was to take a final health exam on the China side – wrote me the following:

. . . I was warned to NEVER let anyone, no one, draw blood or stick a needle in me.
And, I will never take a Chip.
[she means have someone insert a radio tracking chip into her body - like for a dog or from Sci-Fi movies!]

If these two things are promised to never happen, all is well.
(If you think my questions are out of line then you are not aligned with the real world.)

Note: in the contract the written words must be in ink, everything that I have written above.

I don’t see why what I have asked (demanded) are out of line.

My response was as follows:

I am curious where you heard about getting a “chip” – amazing! But I’ve not heard anything about such a notion.

She wrote back AGAIN saying:

Note: in the contract the written words must be in ink, everything that I have written above.

My response: The part about the “chip” is a little bit like insisting that there be a clause that you won’t be required to ride in their space ship.

About the use of needles by a clinic, that I can’t guarantee and I quite doubt the school will put that in the contract – they can’t really, as they don’t own, control or manage the health clinic. Contracts are printed in ink though . . .

OF COURSE you have control over your body while in China. Absolutely. No one is going to hold you down and force you to do anything. But the medical exam is required for the final validation of your working papers (it is so in every country in which I have ever worked over the last 21 years). If there is a test required for that exam and if the procedure for that test requires a needle, you may certainly refuse that. However, how that affects the health exam and if the provincial authorities agree to finalize your working papers – that is a different story.

My personal opinion, is that if this is a deal breaker for you then let it break the deal. Life abroad is full of such things that need to be handled on a semi-regular basis. It ain’t America. Over the last twenty years I’ve signed blank contracts, had blood tests, had schools hold my passport, all sorts of stuff that people who know nothing of the real world out here yell about on the Internet.

But once you get to know the wider world a bit more there are often reasons why things are done, things operate a bit more on faith and trust abroad and personally I think that is a very GOOD thing.

Will you always have the choice to refuse a procedure or anything done to your body, of course.. Will it queer the deal for you on that side or anywhere else or lots of other places, quite probably.

The contract isn’t going to change – nor are China immigration rules – in this instance.

TED’s Tips™ #1: I don’t even know what to say for this one! What would you suggest to someone who believes that taking a health exam in another country will include getting a “Chip” inserted into your body or brain??

What are you watching on TV over there!?

Gives a whole new meaning to the marketing phrase, “Intel Inside” doesn’t it?

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

 

Do you REALLY need to spend a fortune on a TEFL Cert?

Online TEFL Certification is an Option These Days

This week’s question is the headline:

Do I really need a course that costs me any where from $900-$2500 for a certificate? Is there any way to do this cheaper, I want to be a good teacher but if it truly costs that much it’s kinda insane.

The Answer:

Do you really need such a course and is there a way to do it cheaper?

Well . . . yes and no. If you want to be a “good teacher” then taking a good course will help a LOT.

However, I quite understand that it is very expensive. You could take an online course to get the basics with an eye toward taking a full blown course when you have saved a bit and made some real money. A few countries are happy to see that you did ANYTHING to learn about how to teach and some will accept almost anything.

China will accept an online course, pretty much ANY online course. That and your degree can get you, sometimes, even a college teaching position. Korea doesn’t require a TEFL cert but if you have one, you can move to the front of the line having demonstrated at least an interest in learning how to do the job well.

A few countries, Thailand and Indonesia as examples, require a TEFL Certification and want the full blown in-class – yes, spend-a-lot-of-money one. If you want to teach there, then into the classroom you go. And shell out the money.

There is even a hybrid type of TEFL Cert where you take the course online but do observed teaching practice somehow somewhere. The details are usually not difficult to work out and that option might be a good one for many people.

If you want to get the basics, enough so that you have an idea about how to go about things AND how to gradually improve yourself, but if money is a BIG issue – probably TEFL Boot Camp’s Online TEFL Certification is one of the best. Probably the least expensive, but written by experienced teachers – for teachers.

TED’s Tips™ #1: If money is a major problem (it is for many of us!) – try online first. Teach a bit, save some money – then get the Full Monty.

TED’s Tips™ #2: Even if a certification is not required, getting one does demonstrate to a potential employer that you have an interest in doing the job well. Enough so that you spent some time and money to improve your skills. Yes, that does say something about you.

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!

An Effective EFL Job Search #1

I have mentioned before that I sometimes help place people in English teaching jobs in China. Today’s blog will be the first of many that talk about how to improve your job search.

We have to start first with people who want to go and teach English abroad just for a year and sometimes even a shorter period of time. Let me correct that, they don’t really want to teach English, they want to go abroad and teaching English is the way they hope will provide that experience.

Because these people don’t take the idea of teaching English seriously, they often fail in their job search.

Why?

Because their job search clearly indicates their lack of sincere interest in helping students learn English. How do I know that? Because their email often begins with “Yo!” I wanna go teach english somewhere – can I? You can do for me?”

Does that indicate a sincere interest in providing some quality instruction for students on the other side of the world, who often have paid a lot of money to sit in your classroom? Sadly, no.

When asked for a photograph – the very photograph that will introduce you to your new employer – they send photos of them dancing drunk with friends in a bar. And recently a very nice guy, with some quite special skills, sent me a photo of him with his family, his beer belly was sticking out and his shirt had stains on it.

What can I say to that?

Take your job search seriously

Your future employer does. They want a responsible professional who will help give their students an advantage in the hard tough ultra-competitive world of developing countries (where most TEFL jobs are). If you present yourself asking for a two-week contract, send photos of you drinking and dancing – what are they to think?

Education in most of the developing world is SERIOUS business. Education is seen as the only way out of a grinding cycle of poverty or difficult jobs with long hours and poor pay. Schools and students are looking to YOU to help them escape to a better world. Help them escape!

Take your job search seriously

Present yourself professionally. Send a professional resume/CV. Send a professional photograph with you in professional dress. Yes, guys in a tie. Ideally seek some training even if only a short online TEFL certification course – to show that you are interested in doing a good job.

While wages can seem very modest abroad, you will often be earning as much or more than someone with a Ph.D teaching at the same school! They take it seriously. So should you. That modest wage, often combined with free accommodation, reimbursed airfares, sometimes even subsidized utilities often means you can save more than you are saving right now.

Come on, get with and treat teaching English abroad – the occupation, the job – with the respect it deserves. No other occupation can provide you with so many options, so many possibilities for seeing and traveling the world and actually saving a few bucks while doing it.

TED’s Tips™ #1: Approach your overseas job search with the same diligence you would a promotion and/or better job in your home country. This is a job that will allow you to travel, work fewer hours, see the world and possibly even save more money than you are saving right now. THAT is worth some diligence!

TED’s Tips™ #2: Get some professional passport type photos taken. They will be worth their weight in gold. Dress professionally, put on a friendly smile (practice if you need to) and look like the sharp skilled person you really are.

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!