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Getting started...

Posted: 25 Feb 2011, 14:45
by Bradly

I'm looking into teaching English abroad (I’m from the UK) and would really appreciate some advice on what to do / where to go.

I don't have any teaching qualifications or experience but I do have an unrelated degree (BSc). Ideally I would really like an easy first placement with less than 20 hours teaching a week (or maybe as an assistant?).

I'd prefer to do some kind of course so I'm not standing completely clueless in front of a class with no idea what to do. Would a basic weekend course be enough for that? I would definitely consider more rigorous training but I want to be sure this is the right long term career choice before I throw more expense and qualifications at it.

One other thing; as a keen surfer, if I could find a placement near a surfing beach that would be ideal! Also I would be looking to go in the next 2 or 3 months.

Thanks for any help.

Re: Getting started...

Posted: 25 Feb 2011, 20:32
by rwells
Hello Bradly,

Currently the most paying opportunities for teaching ESL exist in China, Korea, and Taiwan. I worked in Korea at a private language academy and found that the workload wasn't too heavy at 30 teaching hours a week, though some friends worked in the public school system with co-teachers and typically spent fewer hours in the classroom. A nice benefit to working in Korea is that housing and round-trip airfare are generally provided. I have heard that surfing is gaining popularity at Songjeong beach near the city of Busan on the south coast. Apparently there are regular waves and even a surf shop.

I also did a bit of research on Taiwan when I was applying to schools there and found that there is quite a surfing community there as well. Apparently there are quite a few waves to be had on the east and south coasts. The salary in Taiwan is comparable to Korea, but contracts typically don't offer all of the same housing and airfare bonuses as in Korea. I can't comment on the surf in China but the salaries, while lower, are still generous in light of the low cost of living. Most employers there do offer housing and flight reimbursement.

While your degree and native English speaker status alone may qualify you to work in many countries, a bit of TESOL/TESL/TEFL training would definitely give you an advantage over candidates who don't have it. The pricier CELTA or Trinity TESOL courses are typically more of a requirement for those who wish to teach ESL in English speaking countries. On the other hand, correspondence courses without a teaching practicum don’t properly prepare students for teaching abroad and many courses don’t meet the standards or the required in-class hours for international recognition. An in-class course that includes lesson planning, practice teaching and preparation for going abroad can be a definite advantage on your first day in the classroom.

I also lived in Nicaragua for a time and the waves there were both big and constant. If salary isn't a major concern for you there are definitely positions to be had in Central America. I've also heard good things about Indonesia.

Enjoy your teaching adventure, wherever it may take you!

Rowan Wells
Oxford Seminars

Re: Getting started...

Posted: 27 Feb 2011, 17:12
by Bradly
Thanks for the response Rowan, certainly a few things to think about there.