First let me say thanks for a fantastic resource filled site, I was able to answer many of my queries simply by snooping around. However, I do have a few more specific questions and I would be most grateful if you were able to shed any light.
1. I'm very interested in traveling to China as an TEFL teacher. My eye was first caught by an ad on Google advertising a three-day TEFL course. This was at first appealing as the cost was fairly low. However, having surfed around the net a little, I get the impression that these condensed courses are not taken very seriously by all areas of the industry. Am I write in reaching this conclusion?
2. Having looked a little deeper it seems that TEFL (in terms of a certified qualification) is more of an umbrella term than a set level of qualification. It seems to me that an externally certified course such as CELTA would probably give me access to the widest range of teaching jobs. Is this correct?
3. I wont be ready to start a CELTA course for maybe six months, but in the meantime I'd like to prepare myself as much as possible. One of the books that has been recommended to me is English Grammar in Use by Raymond Murphy, are there any other books that you could recommend that would help me get the most out of the course?
4. As I have said, I'm very interested in teaching in China, would you advise traveling to China and seeking work in person or is it best to arrange a placement before leaving.
5. If I find work before leaving the UK is it normal practice for the school to arrange visas, accommodation etc. or is that down to me? Do schools ever contribute to airfare?
6. What is my best source for job opportunities in China? Is it best to approach schools directly, or are there agencies that will do this on my behalf?
7. I've read a few horror stories about accommodation, non-payment of salary etc. and I've seen a number of videos on YouTube (Mainly involving fairly young students) where the teachers role seems to be mainly centered around entertainment/containment. What is the best way to avoid this situation? Is there a direct route into teaching older students, possibly in universities?
I realise that there are quite a few questions here, but any help would be very gratefully accepted.
Simon (London UK)