Want to get into TEFL teaching but very concerned about future career prospects

For general discussion between teachers

Moderator: Joe

Posts: 1
Joined: 01 Dec 2020, 09:07
Status: Teacher

Want to get into TEFL teaching but very concerned about future career prospects

Unread post by hintslara82 »

Hello everyone, not sure where to begin so I'll start with the basics.

I'm a 24 year old British dude, I graduated from Uni in 2016 and did a 4 month SE Asia trip immediately after. I fell in love with travel, and worked a crappy job back home in order to save up to do it again. I then travelled for 1.5 years, returning back home last December.

Before I had done any travelling whatsoever, I had always been interested in teaching English. As I travelled more, my passion for languages and helping other's in their English language journey grew and grew, to the point where right now my main goal is becoming a CELTA qualified teacher. I am also teaching myself French and plan to master this and one other language during my lifetime.

(Teaching isn't something I want to do just to supplement more travelling - I actually just want to be based in one place and focus on working properly and being the best teacher I can be. My travel bug has been scratched)

However, I spent about 1.5 hours last night looking up various threads in this subreddit about career progression and job prospects back in western countries, and am now having a major life crisis.

My main stress and worry right now is reaching a dead end, and not being viable to work a well paying job back home. Which is confusing to me, as being an English teacher seemingly encompasses so many traits that are widely applicable into other career jobs - things like communication, presentation/public speaking, task management, designing and implementing engaging and effective plans, interpersonal skills, etc.

But from what I've found on threads in this sub, is that the majority opinion is that these skills aren't transferable, and that teaching back home also pays terribly and isn't a desirable lifestyle.

Is all hope lost? Is the pessimism deserved? Should I try to teach back home rather than in Asia, to make myself more viable for UK based career jobs? (Apparently experience working abroad isn't exotic or interesting) Am I just playing into a fallacy? Am I just hearing from the people who can't market/sell their skillset effectively?

It just comes off like the experience I'll attain in working a job I'm genuinely passionate about, won't actually benefit my life in the long run.

Appreciate you guys reading this and look forwards to any insights.
Posts: 4
Joined: 02 Dec 2020, 09:57
Status: Teacher

Re: Want to get into TEFL teaching but very concerned about future career prospects

Unread post by marktovey »

Hey buddy,

Sure, you'd have a more solid job progression if you took a corporate job back home or entered a more conventional profession.

At the same time, it seems like that model is outdated and increasingly people are working more jobs in their lifetime. At the age of 25, I've had more jobs than my dad and grandfather combined!

If you're really passionate about developing yourself as a foreign language teacher, dive in head first.

You're smart though to think about your future, too. Keep your eye on this, but don't obsess about it or let it interfere with your following your interests in this moment.

There are plenty of language teachers who have leveraged their time overseas in entrepreneurial ways to create businesses back home. As you said, you'll pick up lots of transferable skills.

Take this example: https://www.britishcouncil.org/voices-m ... ch-english. This British guy was teaching English in China, and he leveraged the cultural knowledge he picked up to produce a brand of t-shirts made from bamboo to sell back in the UK and all over the world.

Or this American guy who you've probably stumbled across on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/GetRICHTeaching. He's created his own consulting business after years of working as a teacher overseas.

In short, I'd say if you think this will give you lots of skills, then do it. Maybe some white-collar stiffs back home might not see it, but who cares? In the internet age it's easier than ever to be entrepreneurial and to monetise your own know-how and offerings.

Good luck, dude!
Posts: 1
Joined: 20 Feb 2021, 10:15
Status: New Teacher

Re: Want to get into TEFL teaching but very concerned about future career prospects

Unread post by BillShiphr »

Hi there! What exactly do you want to do? If you want to work as a teacher, there are lots of worthy offers. You can even work online nowadays. So, it will give you money to travel more. I friendly recommend you to check several relevant offers on https://jooble.org/jobs/Newark%2C-NJ. Maybe it will give you some inspiration and show you the right path.
User avatar
John V55
Top Contributor
Posts: 437
Joined: 02 Apr 2015, 01:34
Status: Teacher

Re: Want to get into TEFL teaching but very concerned about future career prospects

Unread post by John V55 »

A ‘major life crisis’ at 24? Jeez. :)

If you want to be a teacher with opportunities worldwide, including the UK, do a 12 month PGCE. If for whatever reason you want to stay on the TEFL route, don’t bother with CELTA or DELTA, they’re not required, they won’t pay you more for having them and will not give you professional status. They might have a reputation in the west, but they’re generally useless six thousand miles away where they might well be mistaken for a type of fruit. :?

It’s unclear whether you actually taught on your travels, but if you did you have all the requirements. Degree, TEFL cert’ and a bit of experience. When the travel restrictions lift get yourself out to SE Asia and get more teaching experience. A year later start searching for jobs in China or Japan.

Meanwhile, start to prepare sets of lesson plans, lots of them. Practice your public speaking either on someone you know, or even in a full length mirror. Have a look at You Tube and something like, ‘My first day as a TEFL teacher.’ Forget about anonymous reddit, learn from real experience on sites such as https://www.ajarn.com/ and ex-pat sites. Start your preparations as early as you can.
Before following CFTU click baits take a quick look at https://www.opnlttr.com/letter/china-fo ... scammed-me
User avatar
Rising Star
Posts: 50
Joined: 09 Mar 2021, 07:38
Status: Teacher

Re: Want to get into TEFL teaching but very concerned about future career prospects

Unread post by Tiger »

It is a fun profession - Welcome! I suggest you spend an hour and visit this sub of really good TEFL tips that will prevent a lot of unpleasant surprises for you https://reddit.com/r/TEFL_tips_traps_scams. Unfortunately I found that link a little late and got exploited. Good luck!
I suggest every TEFL teacher take a visit to https://reddit.com/r/TEFLscams BEFORE they send off their resumes.
Post Reply