teaching english abroad

Sep 16th, 2005, 01:54 PM
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teaching english abroad

If anyone has experience teaching english as a second language abroad, I would love any advice on which areas I should definitely look into, which areas I should definitely stay away from, etc. I'm open to almost any country. Any advice is helpful. Thanks! Oh, and, I'm an American. Although I'm "blue-state minded" me being American might change some of your minds about where I would be welcomed.
movingonup is offline  
Sep 16th, 2005, 02:04 PM
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The Western European market provides opportunities but they often pay only minimum wage, depending on how desirable the city is. There is no market in the UK or other English-speaking countries, where native Anglophones obviously abound. Eastern Europe has more opportunities with relatively better pay (compared to the cost of living).

Generally speaking, you probably won't be able to live off English teaching in any major Western European venue. And you'll need work permits and visas wherever you decide to teach, which you usually cannot get just for an English teaching job.

Opportunities are better in many regions outside Europe. I've heard that many parts of Asia have a lot of demand, although I have no personal experience with that. Here in Paris, you wouldn't even be able to make a rent payment with what you might earn as a full-time English teacher in most schools, and that's assuming you've already found a way to obtain a work permit (usually possible only if you marry a local) and that you have some sort of teaching certification.
AnthonyGA is offline  
Sep 16th, 2005, 02:20 PM
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An American teaching English in western Europe? It is not going to happen. Somebody who teaches English has to be a native speaker. Native speakers do come from England. Period!
logos999 is offline  
Sep 16th, 2005, 02:26 PM
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Wrong, logos, I have a couple friends who taught "English as a foreign language". They were both American. Among other places like Pakistan and Thailand, they also taught in Helsinki, Finland; Warsaw, Poland; and Augsburg, Germany -- those are just the ones I recall offhand.
Patrick is offline  
Sep 16th, 2005, 02:27 PM
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You want it cheap, you'll get it cheap.
logos999 is offline  
Sep 16th, 2005, 02:48 PM
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Patrick - Do you mind if I ask which agency your friends used?

Others who critize ENGLISH speakers obviously need to learn to read English. I said I was open to almost any country. I never specified Western Europe as a place of interest.
movingonup is offline  
Sep 16th, 2005, 02:56 PM
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I have looked into this myself, so will share my experience for Italy specifically. The preference there is for speakers from ENGLAND to teach English, not Americans. That is not to say that there are no Americans teaching English, it is just that I have found the institutions, universities, and companies there prefer hiring a Brit versus an American.
Huitres is offline  
Sep 16th, 2005, 03:01 PM
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I've met people who've done this, though for barely subsistence pay. But they all were fluent in one of the languages of Western Europe. What other languages do you speak, movingonup? I can't see how you could teach English well to students without also being able to communicate with them in their own language.
StCirq is online now  
Sep 16th, 2005, 04:13 PM
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A friend just returned from a one-year stay in the Czech Republic. I don't know the details, but she used TEFL International to do it. They helped with all of the arrangements including the necessary visas. She took their certification course in Prague. They helped find lodging while she took the course. Then they helped secure a position teaching English. She got a 1 year assignment in a small town about 45 minutes from Prague. I have no idea how much money she was paid for her job, but it was enough to live on. She speaks no foreign languages, and that was not a criteria for the program. She said it was the best experience of her life and she would love to go back and do it again. If you can afford it, go for it!
cls2paris is offline  
Sep 16th, 2005, 05:05 PM
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I taught English in Thailand with the Rockefeller Foundation, but that was in 1970, so it's difficult for me to give you information now. I can say that we (my ex and I) had college degrees and easily found jobs in Bangkok and were able to live and save with the salary we were paid. It was a great experience (though I didn't like Bangkok) and I've often thought of doing it again. We didn't have jobs when we went there--just word of mouth that they were to be had--and some luck. Good luck to you.
artlover is offline  
Sep 16th, 2005, 07:24 PM
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I know several Canadians who are teaching ESL (English as second language) in Beijing, Tanjing and Tokyo. All have certain ESL training, but no other language background, found the jobs through some collages.

The one in Tokyo enjoying the staying so much, she have been in Japan for 6 years.
JudyC is offline  
Sep 16th, 2005, 07:33 PM
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Three of my son's college roommates are teaching English in China. One other is in Hong Kong and my son was offered a job teaching Enlish in Japan. He turned it down to take a 'real' job, but his friends love it and have signed on for an additional year.
rbnwdln is offline  
Sep 16th, 2005, 07:41 PM
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My son is in his 5th year of teaching English in Japan. He started out teaching in a kindergarden in a town north of Tokyo, then 3 years ago moved to Tokyo, where he teaches for a school that teaches through Drama. Meaning they learn songs, put on plays, that sort of thing. In addition to that, he tutors, businessmen.
He makes a ridiculous amount of money which is one of the reasons it has been hard to come back to the US, no teacher here makes that kind of money!
It is a wonderful experience, regardless of what country you go to..I think..we think
I would say (from what he has told me according to people who have had these experiences) Korea and China are not good places to work..
Good luck!
ps..there are ESL sites on the web where they discuss all the pros & cons and where the best are etc.
Scarlett is offline  
Sep 17th, 2005, 12:03 AM
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Hi! I'm an American teaching English in Switzerland. One half of my adult students prefer British English, the other half American English.

Get a CELTA certificate. The CELTA is an internationally recognised certificate that verifies that you've done the correct basic training to teach English. It's a four week course that is offered in the states but more so in the UK. I just did mine at International House in London.

Places needing teachers: China is in great need of English teachers. There are tons of job openings for someone who wants to teach three year olds and up. Czech Republic is also looking for teachers. There are very good websites that post job openings. Most require CELTA and preferably job experience. Google away.

If you get a job abroad, some employers will set up your housing, working permit, etc.

P.S. The world, thankfully, still likes Americans. They just don't like our politics right now.
kleeblatt is offline  
Sep 17th, 2005, 04:05 AM
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cls2paris: Was your friend at Vaughan Systems' Englishtown near Madrid for a week last summer? Your description sounds exactly like a woman I met there who had taken a years' leave of absense from teaching. Several people there had done the Tefla training and were staying in Europe to teach English. She was the only one returning to Prague. She said there was a great demand for native English speakers in the Czech Republic. Several were staying in Madrid to teach.
marty is offline  
Sep 17th, 2005, 04:43 AM
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Do you have any experience teaching English as a second language? It is not as easy as one might suppose.

I teach ESL as a volunteer at a nearby church, helping immigrants learn the basics.

Although I am quite fluent in their language, I find that they simply do not have experience in making certain "sounds" common in spoken English. This is especially true of the flat vowels and certain other letters such as "r" and "v" and "w." Diphthongs -- the th and sh, etc. -- take endless repetition.

As we move through the course materials, I try to speak more and more English, getting their ears accustomed to hearing those elusive sounds. Over and over and over again.

They are bright, eager to learn, but progress is slow. If ESL teachers believe they are somehow going to graft their language skills onto others' tongues with the wave of a magic wand, loads of good will, and a smile, they are in for a shock. These things take time, patience, and -- above all -- repetition.

From what I can gather from other volunteer teachers, China is the big market for ESL skills.

My recommendation: get some experience. See if you like it. See if you have the patience. Then market that experience where the demand is.
USNR is offline  
Sep 17th, 2005, 04:48 AM
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How old are you? If you are in your early 20's, you may be able to get a job at a big English-language school like GEOS in Japan. You MUST have a BA/BS, however. Japan will not give you a visa without a degree. Scarlett's son teaches in Japan.

If you teach English in Western Europe, your pay/job conditions will improve greatly if you have a ESL/TESOL certificate, along with an English certificate and experience, from a college/university.

Former English teacher,
John G.
ThinGorjus is offline  
Sep 17th, 2005, 05:17 AM
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Student preferences vary, with patterns discernable in different regions of the globe. Some want "British English" (which usually means RP, or sometimes anything that is non-rhotic), others want "American English," which usually means GAE.

European English teachers tend to be from Europe simply because Europeans can work more easily in Europe, and two European countries speak mostly English as a native language.

There are many other native speakers in the world, though. The single largest group of native speakers is that of the continental U.S. and much of Canada, speakers of so-called American English.

Students who are learning English for purely academic or personal reasons often prefer British English. Those learning it for practical business purposes often prefer American English. Many students have no preference at all. The differences among major standard versions of English are very small, and do not significantly impede comprehension, and all but the most advanced students can simply ignore them, anyway.
AnthonyGA is offline  
Sep 17th, 2005, 08:03 AM
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Marty - I will ask her! I know she went to Spain but I thought Seville not Madrid but I could be wrong. Small world, huh?
cls2paris is offline  
Sep 17th, 2005, 08:19 AM
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cls2paris: Her name is Stephanie. Same person?
marty is offline  

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