Shall I take the plunge?

Discussion about jobs and employment conditions

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Shall I take the plunge?

Unread post by jaybee » 12 Dec 2009, 00:24

Hi, I've just registed here in order to ask you all this question. Would a 52-year-old journalist on a national UK newspaper (namely me) be totally crazy to jack it all in and try to earn a modest living at TEFL for the rest of his working life? (no, this isn't a hypothetical question for an article; it's real life!). My company's offering voluntary redundancy. It's a tidy sum... but I'll need to work to make it last. I must decide by 31 December. If I thought there was a good chance, once I'd done the necessary training, of getting regular teaching work, then I reckon I'll be joining you lot. If not, I'll reluctantly stay flogging newsprint. The details (which training course, which country etc) can wait for now. I just want to know: are there sufficient jobs out there? Or are there hundreds of you all chasing the same posts? Would 30 years of manhandling the English language as a reporter and sub-editor count for anything with employers? Do you, personally, have regrets about going into TEFL... or quite the opposite? I'd be really grateful to anyone who cares to offer me advice.

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Re: Shall I take the plunge?

Unread post by Alex Case » 13 Dec 2009, 13:25

There are plenty of jobs if you aren't fussy about what country you go to, although as you move towards 60 that will obviously become more difficult (but still possible). I love TEFL, but that does not include how most employers treat you, which can come as quite a shock after working in a "real job". I say give it a go, but don't burn your bridges back home because the last thing you want to do is TEFL in the UK when you get back
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Re: Shall I take the plunge?

Unread post by jaybee » 13 Dec 2009, 18:25

Thanks very much for that, Alex. Now I'd like to know, from you or anyone else who cares to say, what is so horrendous about TEFL in the UK.

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Re: Shall I take the plunge?

Unread post by ICAL_Pete » 14 Dec 2009, 10:06

The weather, does that count?

Not being flippant but teaching a group of teenagers can seem much more appealing when you're in a small seaside resort in Crete or perhaps a new city like Tokyo than the same old town in the UK!

Plus, there are many more jobs outside the UK; TEFL is often used as an opportunity to travel and experience new cultures. If you're set on working in the UK then there is work there, but there is far more work abroad and the lifestyle is often so much more appealing.

But it depends on you. Do you want to remain in the UK or do you fancy trying out somewhere new? Do you have a house in the UK? If so, one option would be to rent it out to cover the mortgage and then get off to Greece for a year to teach or Spain or somewhere you've always fancied.

If it doesn't work out then you can always return to the UK but if you decide that a life in the sun is for you, well it's been worth it!

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Re: Shall I take the plunge?

Unread post by Sunshinesmile » 21 Oct 2010, 11:20

Hi Jaybee

Speaking as a 54yr old - 55yrs in a week!! Yes, do it! Isn't it all about whether you have more to lose than to gain? as well as which 'Life is for living'
I gave up a good job teaching in the UK; rented out my house, left my 19yr old with accusations of abandonement, friends upset and bewildered, elderly father worried and skeptical etc etc but here I am in the beautiful Maldives teaching EFL and loving it!
Yes, maybe I've fallen on my feet working on a 5* Resort with the lovely Maldivian people who treat me like a Princess......if you'd like to be treated like a Princess too lol! I could maybe even get you a job out here?!
It's not ALL paradise of course...I am the only Brit here, it's a LONG, LONG, way home, I've had food poisoning twice in the staff canteen (but now have a special chef) and sometimes get very homesick but all in all, a great experience.
I'm probably earning a bit more than in a school/language centre because my food/accomodation is all free but this is NOT a job to do purely for the money! I make more from renting out my house in the UK, so for me it's ok as I have another income.
I've read and heard a lot of horror stories so be careful where you pick, but my thought was, and still is, if its terrible and I have the flight money home then I would just leave, simple as that!
Good luck, 'Nothing ventured, nothing gained'..Find the adventurer in you!

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Re: Shall I take the plunge?

Unread post by pokedmund » 22 Oct 2010, 12:35

Agree with many of the above comments. Personally, I'm fortunate to have a place to stay in hong Kong (although I am paying for the mortgage, rent, bills etc) but the two things that really make me feel down are:

1) Being away from home. I've left my friends and family in London and have come over to HK all on my own. It does get quite difficult when you come back to an empty house, and strangely enough, the internet doesn't help! especially with facebook showing me daily updates of life back at home.

2) Long hours. I'm working 45 hours a week, 6 day a week. There isn't much 'me' time compared to life in the UK.

The most important thing about teaching, is that you enjoy teaching!

In honesty, there are days when I do want to pack it all in and go back to an easier life in London (have a return ticket in my drawer)...but there are also many more days where there are things I can do and see in Hong Kong that I couldn't in the UK, and there are a few students who really make your teaching job worthwhile.

Just one last thing from me. I used to be earning a lot more,working less hours and having more job benefits from my previous job working as a hospital administrator than my current teaching role, but I wouldn't ever want to go back to my old job.

Good luck with whatever you decide!

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