Discussion about jobs in Asia inc. Middle East

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John V55
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Unread post by John V55 »

Over a period of time the same TEFL questions tend to crop up, so here’s my list of FAQs and comments based on TEFL in Asia.

1. Do I need a degree to TEFL?
No, but only in the private that by-passes education authority requirements needed to teach in state schools. A BTEC or other certificates and/or diplomas are not degrees. You either have a university degree or you haven’t.

2. Do I need a TEFL certificate to teach in Asia?
No, but it depends on where you want to teach. In a state school yes, but in a privately run school or language centre run by a business, no although it’s usually asked for. That’s because a private business is able to bypass government education requirements. Without a degree or TEFL certificate your chances of employment are practically zero.

3. Which is the best TEFL certificate to get?
It doesn’t matter. Employers look at TEFL certificates as a sign of basic competence, not as a hierarchy of brand names. Similarly, it doesn’t matter which university you went to, as long as it’s a genuine one. It’s always a good idea to get one from the country you’re going to teach in taught by local teachers. Stay clear of online certificates because they don’t have a practical teaching component and are often refused.

4. Celta or Delta?
Neither, unless you’re already a qualified teacher in your home country applying for top-end International schools. It’s unlikely someone in a school on the other side of the world will have heard of them and they won’t add to your salary. You’re a either a TEFL teacher or a qualified teacher, not a TEFL teacher +.

5. What’s the best sector to teach in?
That’s an individual choice. State schools will offer lower salaries, but with the bonus of safety and working in a professional environment. Conversely, private ‘schools’ are competitive businesses and although the salary is higher so are the risks as they’re unregulated. The private business sector will often call their language centres ‘International Schools’ – they’re not. In the same way you could call yourself an astronaut if you wanted to.

6. As a foreigner, once in the country am I then free to do what I want?
No. As a registered alien you are subject to both immigration and labour laws, plus you’re tied into the contract you signed. As an alien you are not allowed to freelance or jump from job to job as you could in the west. If you later decide you don’t like the job you’re in, it’s basically hard luck. You signed the contract and now sit out the period of the contract and then move on.

7. Can I make lots of money teaching TEFL?
That depends on what is meant by ‘lots’, but generally, no. Teaching is not a financially lucrative profession anywhere. However, given that the cost of living is a lot less than in the west you can live quite comfortably as a TEFL teacher.

8. What’s a realistic TEFL salary?
That very much depends on which country you want to teach in. Most schools use recruiters as they’re familiar with immigration rules and the work permit process, which is often both lengthy and bureaucratic. Look for an average going rate across TEFL sites, because give or take that’s what you’re likely to get. Private schools will have an across the board average, but state schools generally pay rates according to qualifications, more for post graduate degrees.

9. Can I make a living teaching online?
No. Rates vary, but the hype of sitting with your feet up for $20ph (£14.36) and not including company profits which probably double that is beyond all but the wealthy in a developing country. Could it be a side line source of a little extra income? Yes.

10. What’s a TEFL scam?
These typically occur at the lower end privatized sector of TEFL and are usually financial, although it’s sometimes phishing for information – its deception, a fraud. There are many numerous types from promoting ‘accredited’ TEFL certificates to employment described as a holiday or the promise of high salaries. As a general rule; if it sounds too good to be true it’s probably a scam. No one is going to pay you the salary of a western brain surgeon for a TEFL certificate, just as a bone-fide school won’t try to convince you teaching is a holiday.

11. The isms
Alive and kicking and then some. Outside the west political correctness hasn’t yet taken a hold and equality is a distant dream. Disabilities, visible tattoos and long hair (men) are a definite, No! Equally, the western paranoia of hiding behind gender, age and photo anonymity will almost guarantee you don’t even get an interview, never mind an offer. Racial discrimination? Definitely and the job offers you’ll get being coloured will be from the private business sector.

12. Is TEFL a career?
Generally speaking, no. That’s because a TEFL certificate is not a professional qualification, it’s an attendance certificate of competency. In much the same way as a university degree doesn’t guarantee a lifetime of employment. TEFL is a job dependent on supply and demand, unlike the medical or qualified teaching professions that have a qualified status attached to them.

This is my list with which others may agree/disagree. Feel free to comment or add to them, but can I ask that we make this thread link free? :)
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Re: Asia TEFL FAQs

Unread post by odyssey »

Thanks for the FAQ, John. Very useful list of topics.
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