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    • Join Date: Jan 2008
    • Posts: 3

    Considering TEFL - questions

    Hello all, I'm a new member here... set to graduate this summer after a 3 year course in History and Politics.

    Just a few questions about TEFL:

    a) How do you forsee the global recession that today's stock market crash would appear to presage? Will this limit the ability of new teachers to 'get in'. I have looked at job openings and most outside Asia seem to demand experience - and Asia seems especially poised to be bruised by the bear market.

    b) What are working conditions like, or more specifically, what are the typical hours one might expect to work a week? What is the accomidation like? I know this will be highly variable, but I presume there are common experiences here. How stressful can it be? How does not knowing the language of the students you teach affect the lesson?

    c) Is there much by way of long term career prospects here? I hear rumblings of MAs in Applied linguistics and TEFL, but is this really possible to pay for on a TEFL teacher's wage? Is it possible to get into International schools eventually, or would I be better served by a formal teaching qualification like the PGCE we have here?

    Many thanks

  1. #2

    Re: Considering TEFL - questions

    Speaking only from my personal experience, for the first question I would say that there are still likely to be rapid increases in the numbers of teachers required for China in particular. It's a huge growth area and even if the economic wobbles slow it down a little, China just can't get enough teachers fast enough.
    For other countries, yes, obviously, most places prefer teachers with experience (though in Italy, you may find some schools further south willing to consider you without it.) You're British, so working in Europe presents no visa problems and most European language schools prefer British English language teachers.

    The working conditions question is a big one. It depends what your expectations are. I know when you're first getting a teaching job, you feel you should take the first thing that comes along, but it's really worth asking the school basic questions about how many days in a week they're going to timetable you and whether the hours are likely to be clustered together or you'll have to work on and off all day from 8 in the morning till ten at night. (This is a favourite scheduling option for various language schools in Spain and Northern Italy.) Money in European private language schools is often as low as schools think they can get away with - it's harder in big cities where lots of teachers want to live (Rome, Barcelona, Milan etc). You often get a better standard of living if you go to a smaller, non-touristy destination (plus you have a more interesting time.)

    If you're considering China, you often get treated with rather more respect - and the pay is usually fine for just spending money while you are there. (but don't think you'll save much.) I didn't enjoy living there much, but plenty of people do. It's mostly kids at the moment, in Chinese language schools.

    For long term prospects, basically if you are serious about career prospects, pension schemes, sick-pay or moving up the career ladder then maybe it's time for a rethink. It's an interesting job and gives you the chance to meet lots of different kinds of people, but there is no real structure or progression. Career EFL/ ELT people usually go into management, publishing, training or really anything other than actually classroom jobs.

    Hope you have fun with it, if it's what you decide to do and hope some of this has been useful. (I've been in ELT for hundreds of years now, so it can't be that bad!)
    Last edited by Clare James; 22-Jan-2008 at 19:08.

  2. #3

    Re: Considering TEFL - questions

    As an afterthought, here's a joke about conditions of work in ELT / ESL:

    What's the difference between a large pizza and an EFL teacher?
    The pizza can feed a family of four.

    • Join Date: Jan 2008
    • Posts: 3

    Re: Considering TEFL - questions

    Many thanks - where has your career progression taken you in this field?

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