Friday, January 21, 2011

So You want to be an English Teacher?


Many people have asked me about teaching English overseas and another friend expressed interest in it only  last week, so I thought I should mention one or two resources here. Even better than my own experience (Click for start) which you can read about  right at the beginning of this blog, Englishdroid can help you out with all kinds of information, job listings, links to other useful sites and teaching tips and resources (even tips for students on learning and speaking English, courses etc).  
 Yes, it does help if you have Celta or Tesol qualifications, but they aren’t always necessary.  Usually you do need to have a degree, though again, not necessarily in English or Education. Some places are happy to give training and others do not need you so much for teaching as they have very good local teachers, but they do want native speakers for conversation and to give students experience of hearing English as it is spoken in real life rather than in text books.

 Glotagog X513 also has a lot of wonderful teaching tips and a wicked sense of humour. He has also kindly given permission to reprint a lighthearted  exchange here which may answer some of your questions about what it's really like.
Thanks Glotagog X513! Where are you now?


Dear Terry
While we usually require a university degree and an ELT certificate from an approved institution, I am prepared to make an exception in your case, based on your experience.
Tursdville is a bustling city which has largely been constructed in the last eight months. While it lacks some of the modern facilities we associate with Western cities, it has a lively atmosphere that blends the traditional customs of the Dystopians with their eagerness to acquire the benefits of rapid development.
As a home bird myself, I can’t tell you much about the night life. Of course, there is Turdsville’s huge red-light district, serving the needs of the migrant workforce, and I believe there is a monthly disco in the Sheraton Hotel (a bit pricey).
Maureen
From Encarta:
Turdsville, city in northeastern Dystopia, a major industrial center. Manufactures include iron and steel, aluminum, transportation equipment, machinery, machine tools, chemicals, tanning, processed food (especially sugar and soybean products), and wood and paper products. Modern industrialization accelerated in the 1990s. In 2004 demonstrations against migrant workers left 90 dead and 940 wounded. Population (2003) 1,520,000.
Dear Maureen
I have a few questions:
  1. How many other teachers are there? Where are they from?
  2. Will the school provide accommodation?
  3. Are there mosquitoes?
  4. Will I have to teach kids?
  5. Can you buy things in the shops like mint-flavoured dental floss? If so, is it expensive?
  6. What’s the salary?
I read on the Internet that there were riots in Turdsville last year and some foreigners were killed. Is it safe now?
Terry

Dear Terry
First, let me reassure you about the security situation here. Obviously, the embassies have to protect themselves, so they bend over backwards to be cautious. The recent advice from the British Embassy—Do not under any circumstances go to Turdsville, Dystopia, unless you are stark raving bonkers—should be taken with a pinch of salt. I have lived here now for several months and seen hardly any incidents.
To answer your other points:
  1. There are 5 teachers, including one native English speaker, Emilio (from the Philippines).
  2. The school provides a large shared house, which you will have all to yourself, as Emilio lives with me in a room in the military barracks.
  3. There are mosquitoes, but not nearly as big as the ones in southwest Dystopia, which you may have seen on the National Geographic channel’s Giant Scary Gnats of Death.
  4. You might have to teach children occasionally, but most Dystopian children are quite well-behaved if you are strict enough.
  5. I haven’t actually noticed mint-flavoured dental floss in the shops, but I’m sure it’s there if you look for it.
So, when are you coming?
Maureen

Dear Maureen
Thanks for the information. I still have a few questions.
  1. What are the promotion prospects? Could I become a Senior Teacher after one year?
  2. What are Dystopian girls like?
  3. You still haven’t told me the salary.
Terry

Dear Terry
Promotion prospects at Express English are excellent. There is every chance you will become a Senior Teacher, if not the Director of Studies, within a month or two.
I may not be the right person to ask about Dystopian women! You will have to ask Emilio. They are certainly very strong.
Sorry, I thought I had already told you about the salary. It is being reviewed, so it may increase before you arrive. At present it is 136 billion wobli a month (after tax).
Maureen

Dear Maureen
There are about 270,000,000 wobli to the US dollar, so this means the monthly salary is $503.70. How can you live on that?
Terry

Dear Terry
I never was any good at maths, I’m afraid, but if you say it’s around $500, I expect you’re right!
Frankly, it’s best not to think in terms of other currencies, but about how far the money will go in Turdsville. Obviously, if you choose to frequent places like the Sheraton (where a small bottle of imported beer costs 2.7 billion wobli), your salary will not go very far. However, at a roadside food stall a large serving of the staple food, blup (a sort of dumpling boiled with cabbage), costs only 29 million. Some local people earn as little as 3 billion a month, so you will be 45 times richer than them!
We really want to open a TOEFL class next week, so can you get here before then?
Maureen

Dear Maureen
  1. What sort of electric sockets does the house have?
  2. Is there a satellite TV with English language channels?
  3. Does the school provide free Internet access for the teachers?
  4. How many bars are there within a two-mile radius of the school?
  5. What are their opening times?
  6. Do they serve Guinness?
  7. If so, how much is it?
  8. What about health cover and holidays?
  9. Do I need a visa before I leave?
  10. Do you reimburse my visa and airfare and, if so, how quickly?
  11. If I don’t want to live in the teachers’ house, can I get a housing allowance instead?
  12. Are there any penalties if I leave early?
  13. Can you send me a draft contract?
Terry

Dear Mr Terry
How do you do? Yes please, I am, and to introduce.
Maureen go and Emilio also, very bad peoples, now we have nothing foreigner so please to come at once we answer all question after you here, I make Special Offer good salary you DOS and have plenty Dystopia girl they very like Western man even old and ugly man they still like, no problem.
Your faithful
Wondo (owner)
P.S. Also many homo boy here, also like Western man.

Dear Mr Wondo
I’m booked on Dystopian Airlines flight DY 4562 arriving Turdsville 10 August 2230 hours local time. My friend Kevin is also coming. (Can he be a Senior Teacher?) Please meet us at the airport.
Regards
Terry


So should you take the job? My advice, on the whole, is yes. We English teachers are the unsung pioneers of the age, exploring the world’s dreariest places, spreading the present perfect to unenlightened regions. Wilfred Thesiger may have crossed the Empty Quarter by camel, but would he have survived a year teaching in Hafr al-Batin?



 This is Glotagog X513 's advice but I say go for it too.  You meet a lot of nice people, gain a deeper insight into another culture than you do as a tourist and really get out of your comfort zone. 

Big Hi! to any of my students if you are still reading this after all this time. There will be a comprehension test after lunch!

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