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Is TEFL / TESL "Really" a Career?

 
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What "Kind" of Career is TEFL / TESL?
A very legitimate one with a bright shining future and retirement benefits.
14%
 14%  [ 2 ]
Maybe there's no health plan involved but it might open the door to better things down the road.
14%
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Like missionary work, this "career" can't really be compared with others. It has its own rewards.
42%
 42%  [ 6 ]
All I want is a way to support my backpacking lifestyle. I could care less where this "career" leads, if you want to call it that.
14%
 14%  [ 2 ]
Waste-Collection, now that's a career. TEFL / TESL? A way to waste some time.
14%
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Total Votes : 14

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Lee Hobbs
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Joined: 08 Dec 2005
Posts: 141
Location: TheGulfCoast

PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 12:30 am    Post subject: Is TEFL / TESL "Really" a Career? Reply with quote


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Last edited by Lee Hobbs on Fri Jan 20, 2006 7:06 am; edited 3 times in total
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 05 Jun 2004
Posts: 263
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 12:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll guess I spend my whole retirement fund and drop my 2 cents here...

TEFL/TESL is probably best seen as a step in a career, often the very first one. Abroad, I've seen a number of young teachers try it out in order to get a feel for working in class, often before deciding to go after a Master's in Education degree.

For me, it was a bit of a stopover from journalism...initially a means to pay the way while I write my way across Latin America. It's led to some interesting career twists, but I'm still writing and teaching. I see EFL publishing in my future, especially if I never improve my saxophone skills! Wink
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PittsburghPete



Joined: 05 Oct 2005
Posts: 23
Location: Not of this world

PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 7:00 am    Post subject: Making a career out of defending my career choice Reply with quote

Guy Courchesne wrote:
I've seen a number of young teachers try it out in order to get a feel for working in class, often before deciding to go after a Master's in Education degree


Woo-wee, I tell ya hoss, that's exactly what I done. Turns out lot of them old boys in no-speak-English-land can't understand how I talk. Why I went back to get a master's in all this anyhow. Now I'm a jack of all trades (master of none). Go figure.

Seems to me this whole business is a good way to see what's outside the township: only the really ambitious seem to make any hard profit. Me, I hardly profited.

What's the average stint for this gig? About three years before the quarterlife crisis passes? Somebody make a poll.

Po' Pete
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"You might be a redneck if you spent more money on your pickup truck than on your education." --Joe Foxworthy.
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Lexicon



Joined: 11 Sep 2006
Posts: 153
Location: New Orleans

PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2006 10:39 am    Post subject: So I'm one of the few who think this can be a legit career Reply with quote

I have to say, in its current state, ESL is not much of a career. But that has something to do with the fact that as an industry, ESL has basically refused to change and evolve with the times.

Schools are still using the same crappy methods they used 10 years ago, and they still base their business models on having a school for every Joe Blow with a few euros to spare.

Is ESL currently much of a career option? No. But, it can be. If a teacher is willing to go out and tackle the ESl industry full force, and run it llike a real business, then there's money to be made.

The problem is, that you have to find a way to separate the professional instructors from the backpacker/working holiday crowd.

Good luck to all of us on that one...

--Andreas
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sigmoid



Joined: 19 Feb 2006
Posts: 81
Location: Southeast Asia

PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2006 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess it depends on how you define TEFL/TESL.

If you limit yourself to language schools, then I suppose teaching is not much of a career. But, if you can move yourself into actual academic and educational institutions and settings, then it is as much a career as any other field.

I tend to look at it like professional sports with language schools analagous to the minor leagues and colleges and universities as the big leagues and international schools, colleges and unis as the premier league. Of course, some do very well at the pre-school level, but that can hardly be regarded as teaching, can it?

So, I would say it all depends on the individual.
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aardvark



Joined: 21 Jul 2008
Posts: 176
Location: Central Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:26 am    Post subject: Future? what future? Reply with quote

In my experience, the USA community colleges, public and private universities are following the model of the fly-by-night schools. They hire teachers part-time, pay no benefits, and drop the teacher if there is any hint of student displeasure.

The managers and directors routinely hire teachers at the last minute and pay no mind to faculty training or satisfaction. They expect organizations like TESOL and CATESOL to bring the teachers up to date on methodologies.

If these directors had to go into the classroom, they'd be fired on the first day. I could tell you some tales about really stupid ESL directors who don't know the first thing about teaching.
any suggestions on how we turn this thing around?
Neutral Idea
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SC



Joined: 16 Oct 2008
Posts: 15
Location: Shanghai

PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 4:46 am    Post subject: TEFL career Reply with quote

I treated it as a way to see the world; sure I worked hard but that was so I could travel in my time off. The problem with TEFL is that your experience can not really be transfered anywhere else. I mean, sure you gain the ability to adapt, gain confidence in yourself and the rest of it but no industry experience or knowledge.

I don't regret my time but...
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JamesAtRealize



Joined: 09 Sep 2010
Posts: 118
Location: Kobe, Sanomiya, Japan

PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see it like being a carpenter or a plumber or a mechanic...

most people barely get out of the apprentice stage of it all, and then stagnate there for way too long...

Those who are smart take the "career" to the natural progression of ownership, or SP
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bonvivant



Joined: 25 Jul 2011
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It has proven itself (ESL, etc.) as fertile ground for confidence racketeers. All a sharp crook needs to do these days is to convince people that they need one more certificate in order to move on up the ladder. Of course, after the dummy buys that one more certificate, thereエs always another requirement that is hidden in the wings. Nobody has yet explained why you canエt work at ESL after youエre 60. Nobody has yet explained why after spending 4 or more years getting a college degree, a person should buy a questionable course that will supposedly teach you how to teach what your student teaching supposedly taught you how to teach. Nobody has yet explained why colleges have all of a sudden developed four or more different English majors when one English major has been fine ever since English has been a teaching major. And if a person has a second major or minor in a foreign language, why does that person need to supplement that college training with some two-bit correspondence course. Why is it that ESL schools always tell the teachers to stick to the books that they supply and the CDエs they supply when any eighth grade dropout could do the job, if all that is needed is someone to read the book to the students. You really donエt need a college education in order to teach ESL anyway. The whole business smells of fish. Worse than that, education in general has become a giant promise mill that delivers very little and none of what it promises. If Susan Collins was really sincere in clamping down on for-profit schools, she most certainly should look at the ESL business.
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jimmyjoeten7



Joined: 09 Jul 2013
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2014 2:52 pm    Post subject: TEFL, TESOL, etc. Reply with quote

I've read a lot of posts here and really have to agree with many of them, especially those that state these "certificate programs" are essentially a waste of time and money. I'm a mature, intelligent native English speaker with a Bachelor's Degree in Social Psychology and am told time and again by "recruiters" in Korea, China and Vietnam that that isn't enough. You have to have that TEFL Certificate before anyone will consider hiring you. I've always felt that higher education was a scam and this TEFL/TESOL nonsense only confirms my beliefs. I was taught English composition, grammar, writing and proper speaking of the English language during my basic education in elementary, middle and high school. I could easily walk into an ESL class and effectively teach students in any country. But never mind all of that, until I pay a couple thousand dollars to take a certificate program, I'm considered not good enough to teach. These certificate programs are "cash cows" for schools and language centers who offer them. A friend of mine in Korea has a good friend teaching at a girls high school in Seoul. He started teaching about 10 years ago when this certification nonsense was not around. I asked him what he thought about TEFL/TESOL and the other programs and he said that they are not necessary to become a good teacher; that they were "money makers" and that's about all. He said that if you attended English classes during middle and high school, then you have the knowledge to be a good teacher. He started teaching at the right time. Society has always thought up ways to separate you from your hard earned money. This is a classic example.
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