Getting started as an ESL teacher?

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Getting started as an ESL teacher?

Unread post by matt123 » 01 Apr 2015, 15:21

I will be completing my undergraduate degree in BA (hons) English Language at University of Manchester in June, and plan on teaching English abroad to gain professional experience, travel, and hopefully save a little money. It's not on the cards for me to do a PGCE right now, for many reasons, so I won't have pre-existing teaching experience. I will be completing a CELTA course however.

My degree is in English language, which as a form of linguistics I think is highly relevant, and I will have the requisite TEFL/CELTA qualifications. I hoped this would be enough to get me started in an entry level position abroad, with the eventual goal being to get a high end well-paid position in a competitive country like UAE/Dubai, after gaining 2+ years experience completing a few years in less competitive job roles.

I thought that an English Language BA + TEFL would be enough, but I've done alot of research and now I'm beginning to doubt whether it's enough. I'm 21 years old, as UK undergraduate degree's last three years and I will be finishing mine in June, yet it seems most of the jobs I see advertised (in China) require applicants to be 24+ or have a minimum of 2 years post-grad work experience.

I thought china/korea were the most accessible for new graduates? Is a degree + TEFL certification enough to get a job here at all? If so, will such a job be able to support me + my fiancee until a better option becomes available with experience? If there are indeed jobs available for graduates age 21, without post-grad experience, how might I go about finding these, and sorting the scams from the legitimate jobs?

And ultimately, will multiple years experience teaching ESL abroad, a degree in English Language, and CELTA certification be enough to land me a decent job in a developed middle-eastern country? Or will these high-end jobs still require a masters/formal education degree/PGCE's?

I really thought this was an accessible route for me to enter a profession, I hope that I dont have to wait 2 years just for some weird preference for older applicants. Is it governmental policy that all expat teachers have to have 2 years post-grad work experience in any field? It seems strange that thats a requisite when previous teaching experience isn't necessary.

I understand that teachers with more experience would be more highly sought after, but teachers in these positions have to get on the employment ladder somewhere, nobody is experienced to begin with, so there must be entry-level positions, right? If so, are these enough to support (i.e accommodation, food, and basic living costs) 2 people? Also, if these positions are available for new graduates age 21 and 22 with a degree + TEFL qualifications, where might I find them? ESLcafe all seem to be scams or have 24+ or work experience requisites.

Any advice is greatly appreciated. Please if anyone can let me know if its a realistic option for me and my fiancee as new graduates, and if so, how can I find a position that doesnt require previous work experience or a lower age boundary of 23+?


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Re: Getting started as an ESL teacher?

Unread post by Awalls86 » 06 Apr 2015, 17:13

China requires teachers to have two years post grad experience (any field). Many employers falsify CVs and degree certificates if they have to, but if you are below 23, they know the authorities in China will not be fooled. For many teflers this is fine anyway because they are often career changers so have previous experience. Few native speakers seem to get into tefl as their first choice, myself included, but that doesn't help you.
Look at other far-east destinations. I'm fairly certain that Thailand or Korea would employ brand new tefl teachers, though I could be wrong. If you really can't get paid work, also consider volunteering opportunities in Africa or South America - they should cover most of your costs.
Personally though, if you're 21, I would dream a little bigger than tefl. You can always come to it later in life (as many do) but harder to do something else if you start in tefl. Not that I don't enjoy it, but it wasn't my first choice, and I would love to have youth back in my favour to pursue a different career.

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