I've been reading the forums and could use some advice.

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I've been reading the forums and could use some advice.

Unread postby Kloker » 26 Jan 2010, 22:26

Hi,
I've been looking for information and advice online regarding TEFL for the past few days and these forums have provided more insight and info than anywhere else, so thankyou all for that - I really was glad to find this site and the accumulated experience and perspectives made available through it.

I'm sorry to be making a new thread as I realise most, perhaps all, the information I'm looking for is already available here but what I could really use now is advice specific to my situation.

I graduated in 2004 with MA(Hons) in Medieval History and Archaeology and since 2005 have been working as a professional archaeologist, but for the last year or two have been questioning my purpose and satisfaction at work. I recently turned 30 and began to have even more serious doubts about what I was doing and what use it was to anyone.
I feel like I want to make more of a difference and do something that actually benefits people

I love to travel and have taken time off in the winters to spend 2 months in mexico, a couple of weeks in guatemala, a couple of weeks in Jordan, and a month each in thailand, cambodia, vietnam and laos. I always felt like I was leaving too soon and would have preferred to have more time to just live normally in each place and enjoy the culture.

I have been strongly considering trying TEFL as a way of combining my wish to do something useful with my desire to spend longer periods of time abroad, but I have a few queries that I hope you might be able to help me with.

As I have no experience in teaching, let alone teaching english, I'm wary of over-committing myself to something that may not be the right career for me. As such, would it still be advisable to do the CELTA course with the financial outlay it necessitates or would there be a better way to start and then obtain a CELTA qualification if I chose to stay with the TEFL profession?

Many of the positions around the world I have seen advertised stated hours as low as 15-20 per week - is this the norm? I am aware that teaching can and will involve work outside the classroom such as lesson planning and marking work, but is it feasible that I might have the time to also volunteer with local community development projects or humanitarian work in the area?

I have read that many places require a degree in order for someone to take up an english teaching position - does it matter what that degree is in?

I have a sister who teaches french and spanish in england and my father while not a language teacher did teach for several years in high schools across northern ireland before working at higher levels with the education board, so in terms of the practicalities of teaching and advice on that front I believe I can draw upon the experience of my family for advice. However, on the matter of deciding upon which TEFL qualifications would best suit and the practicalities of life as an english teacher abroad I would greatly appreciate any advice you can offer.
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Re: I've been reading the forums and could use some advice.

Unread postby Lucas » 01 Feb 2010, 00:51

The minimum international requirement for TEFL certification is 100 hours and the university degree does not have to be from any specific area. You should be able to obtain a minimum of 25 teaching hours per week. I guess that being able to volunteer would depend on the type of work and responsibility involved, but you could volunteer for 1 or 2 days a week.
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Re: I've been reading the forums and could use some advice.

Unread postby systematic » 05 Feb 2010, 04:18

As there is no international accreditation for TESOl, there are of course no international standards whatsoever. As the information is totally misleading, I would suggest the message to be a ploy to promote a provider's courses - particularly when considering the blatant advertisement in the signature.
I offer any information or advice 'as is' and hope that it has been of help. I am not an admin of this board, and my postings do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the board management.
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Re: I've been reading the forums and could use some advice.

Unread postby Lucas » 05 Feb 2010, 06:35

Considering that systematic posted the same message in two different blogs, I feel inclined to post the same answer to defend my previous statement "The minimum international standard is what the majority of schools worldwide ask for as a minimum qualification. If you did some research, you'd find that courses that are shorter than 100 hours do not provide all the basic elements of TEFL (Grammar, Phonology, and Methodology) so the global ESL industry has been raising standards (ei: Korea) and shorter courses are not considered anymore. There are places where you can still get a job without any qualification or with a 40-hour certificate."
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Re: I've been reading the forums and could use some advice.

Unread postby ICAL_Pete » 05 Feb 2010, 12:28

There are different ways of getting into TEFL. The usual basic qualifications for a first job are a degree and a TEFL certificate. Almost any TEFL certificate will do in many cases and almost any degree subject will do.

In my opinion (and I know others disagree) the CELTA is an advanced and intensive qualification which should be taken by teachers with a couple of years experience under their belts. And as you say, it's also quite expensive.

To start off, you could take a short 4 week course at a local school if they offer it or an online course (e.g. ICAL).

Regarding the jobs, yes, many will hover around 20 hours per week. This is actual hours in the classroom ("at the chalkface" as they say). On top of this you'll be expected to do preparation, marking and so on. When you look at the salary for this work and convert it to USD or GBP or EUR it will seem quite small. However the chances are that you'll be teaching in a country where the cost of living is much cheaper.

It usually turns out that foreign TEFL teachers are paid above local salaries and are relatively well off. Depending on how frugal you are, in all likelihood you'll have enough to live well, rent a small apartment and get out a couple of times a week for a meal and some beer plus save something for a holiday at the end of your contract.

I think your next step is to decide where you want to go as local conditions vary. For a good overview of getting started in teaching, click here.
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Re: I've been reading the forums and could use some advice.

Unread postby systematic » 05 Feb 2010, 13:22

What I personally take objection to, is people quoting totally misleading statements like:
Lucas wrote: "The minimum international standard is what the majority of schools worldwide ask for as a minimum qualification."
in anticipation that readers will believe it and sign up for your course. And, I especially, don't need a lesson in doing research.
I offer any information or advice 'as is' and hope that it has been of help. I am not an admin of this board, and my postings do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the board management.
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Re: I've been reading the forums and could use some advice.

Unread postby Alex Case » 05 Feb 2010, 14:13

"the CELTA is an advanced and intensive qualification... To start off, you could take a short 4 week course"

Such as the CELTA??

Not only do I not agree with your opinion about CELTA being advanced (you can do the DELTA with 2 years' experience, for goodness sakes), I don't even believe that you really think that. You have commercial reasons for spreading that #%&#*@, and that is the only reason you do so. Instead of repeating this baseless idea again and again, try spending some time debinking the reasons I and others have given for it not being in any way the case.
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Re: I've been reading the forums and could use some advice.

Unread postby ICAL_Pete » 05 Feb 2010, 14:41

Rather than hijack this thread, I've started a new one on CELTA here:

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=3319
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Re: I've been reading the forums and could use some advice.

Unread postby Lucas » 05 Feb 2010, 17:21

Systematic, there isn't any ploy here to mislead anybody. Kloker says he's "wary of over-committing myself to something that may not be the right career for me". So considering that he does not want to spend $2,000 on a course, I mentioned that the minimum requirement (as required by most schools) for employment is a 100-hour course. Even if some schools still accept shorter courses, the least teachers could do for their students is to take a 100-hour course so they cover the basics of every module and they should even take the practicum if it's not included in the course or required by their employer.
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Re: I've been reading the forums and could use some advice.

Unread postby systematic » 05 Feb 2010, 19:52

Lucas wrote:I mentioned that the minimum requirement (as required by most schools) for employment is a 100-hour course.
Lucas, you clearly phrased your mention in a way that it would be understood to be an official requirement, while in fact, most schools don't.
The sad fact is that less than one in five applicants has a TESOL certificate that is worth the paper it's printed on. Therefore, it would appear that 'We the schools' already set higher standards than many of 'you, the course providers' deliver.
I offer any information or advice 'as is' and hope that it has been of help. I am not an admin of this board, and my postings do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the board management.
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Re: I've been reading the forums and could use some advice.

Unread postby Lucas » 05 Feb 2010, 20:51

No, it's not an official requirement worldwide and I apologize if it seemed that way. I meant to say that if he doesn't want to get CELTA then most schools will ask for a 100-hour certificate and even if not asked, it's the minimum level of training he should get. I understand that few course providers deliver well-trained teachers. Fortunately, many schools are now asking for a CELTA, Trinity, or equivalent.
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Re: I've been reading the forums and could use some advice.

Unread postby systematic » 06 Feb 2010, 03:31

Lucas wrote:Fortunately, many schools are now asking for a CELTA, Trinity, or equivalent.
Thank you -now we have a more accurate many rather than most.
I offer any information or advice 'as is' and hope that it has been of help. I am not an admin of this board, and my postings do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the board management.
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Re: I've been reading the forums and could use some advice.

Unread postby davidash » 07 Feb 2010, 20:36

A degree in any subject is for visa requirements only,( They just don't want any Tom, Dick, or Harry Teaching )

A degree is often not required to teach EFL/ESL. The more important qualification is some kind of TEFL certificate. Experience can also count highly. The snag is that in many countries, especially in Asia and the Middle East, a working permit will not be granted without a degree. So a degree is more to satisfy the country's authorities than the language institute's real requirements. With a TEFL certificate, it is certainly possible to find work without a degree, but you should check the country's legal requirements in advance—or be prepared to work illegally, which is not unheard of.

You don't need a Degree to Teach English as a Second Lanuage, If you a only
thinking of Teaching Englsh.

Any Teaching Related Degree is is for More professional Teachers...( Anything from Teacher Trainers, to Director of Studies )

A TEFL Course will benefit you and your Students, you can Take a Teaching English as a Second Language Diploma for £260.00,and pay by Installments of £25, at Stonebridge Associated Colleges.

TEFL certification enables the teacher to gain experience in English teaching even before stepping into the classroom.

Reputable courses outline all aspects of the language: reading, writing, speaking and listening. The English teacher leaves the course feeling more than competent to deal with the ever changing needs of people who study the language.

There is such a huge demand for qualified teachers all over the world. Nearly a quarter of the world's population speaks some English (about 1.6 billion people), but only around 400m are native speakers. This means that there are approximately 1,200,000,000 potential students out there, just waiting for the chance to improve their grammar and pronunciation with your help.

And more thing in a language school you may have to Build up your own student base, so if you need to Keep your stutens, you need to offer them Someting..

In China you can teach in a University, and you have the Class provided for you, so you can work on you Teaching skill, without the worry of Losing Students and Face.


Some parts of China and countries in Latin America are quite open to people without degrees. Indonesia doesn't require a degree. Even Japan is a possibility for people with Working Holiday Visas (common for Aussies and Kiwis). Thailand, in theory, requires degrees. But many schools will hire you without one, though getting a legal work permit is very difficult without a degree. Ask on the discussion boards for the most current information. Things change from time to time.



In countries where they are typically required, many non-degreed people work only part-time jobs, short-term (just a few months), or just do tutoring. Just like back home, short-term and part-time work often pays more per hour - so people who can organize a good schedule may find themselves earning more than the eight-to-five school teacher.


Happy Teaching, David
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