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How should I get myself ready to teach English?

Discuss working and making a living overseas, starting a business, or studying abroad.

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How should I get myself ready to teach English?

Postby rudder » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:02 pm

Let me preface by giving a little background info which may influence my ability to land a teaching job:
-Bachelors Degree - General Studies with two minors, each in a foreign language
-Associates Degree in Science (probably irrelevant)
-Tutored Spanish to College Students while I attended college
-I'm a published author of a non-fiction book
-Took a career/personality test at the local community college and it said I should be a teacher.

I was digging through my diplomas and other important stuff in order to locate my TEFL certificate from the community college class that I took a few summers ago. It turns out that the certificate is actually just a Skills Competency Award in Introduction to Teaching English as a Foreign Language.

I had lost this certificate for the longest time, so two years ago I went back to the community college and requested they print another one. The second one they printed just says, "This is to certify that (my name) has successfully completed coursework for Teaching English as a Foreign Language."

WTF!? What good is that? Seriously, what can I do with that?! Here I was the whole time thinking that I had a TEFL certificate, when in actuality it is just some sort of introductory thing?!

Also, although English is my native language, I feel like I lack the confidence to be able to teach it. For instance, if a student asked me a question about grammar my explanation could very well be, "I don't know. That's just the way it is."

Is there something I can accomplish in the next six months (preferably free of charge) that would both increase my chances of landing an English teaching job, and my confidence to be able to actually teach well?

I am a bit concerned because I read an article on Escapeartist about how it's damn hard to make a living teaching English in Mexico. Anyone know the article I'm talking about?

Would it be better to get a job at a school or to just freelance under the table? Or both?

Also, I'd really like to hear royaldude elaborate on his previous post:
royaldude wrote:most important quality to living abroad is being independent. you have to have it or you will not make it. that is probably more important in working and earning a living than anything else. so when i hear expats working tesl and going thru schools i think dude you are a slave to a company and to your boss. just quit and work independently. thats what i do. how do i do it well let me explain at 25 i quit my job in us and sold pretty much all my shit and since working for myself i have never been happier. i initally worked in expat bars and even in an english school. i the pay and work were sporatic and i didnt like working for a boss it made me feel like i was a slave. i realized i have a still (ability to teach english) and i have a market (in my case mexicans who want to speak english) the only question was marketing myself to them. heres what i do. i l have an apartment in a mexican neighborhood i live by myself so its easy to have students come over. i put flyers around my neighborhood explaining my services i explain i can offer discounts to multiple students and charge more if i have to go to the students house. the result. well i have consistent work. i work when i want. i get paid before i teach and always in cash. i live here on a tourist visa. if i dont like a student or they are flakey i dont work with them. anyone on this forum who says i want to leave the us just do it you will find work if you make it for yourself. the only recomendation i have is avoid cities with lots of other expats since they are your competition. but even then very few do what i do and work independently


Are you still doing this? Aren't you worried about the authorities finding out about your under-the-table ESL dealings?

Please forgive me if this topic is redundant.[/u]
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Postby ladislav » Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:46 am

If you only have six months, then you should get a CELTA certificate. Not free of charge, but still reasonable and will pay for itself in a month. Get online and find out where their next boot camp is.

Also, consider DELTA but I am not sure about the conditions. An MA in TESL would be ideal and it would allow you to chart out decades of glamorous career, but for now I would work on CELTA.

When its time to do your resume, PM me for a review.

If you can prove 2 year experience ( it does not have to be on the same job) and create a streamlined ESL resume, then you are already a good candidate for many Middle Eastern countries- Oman should take you pretty much on the spot. Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand are automatic.

As far as being confident, confidence is something that develops-- do you think I was confident? You just follow the book they give you. If they ask why something is like this, you should never say " I don't know". A teacher is supposed to know. You can buy some book like this:

http://www.amazon.com/English-Grammar-D ... 0470546646

2 pages a day and you will cover the whole book.

If you still don't know, you say: "You know, it's a good question and I think I know the answer but I would like to make it more exact, so let's look it up". Then you google it with the words:

Why do we say...+ the phrase.
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
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Postby rudder » Thu Aug 01, 2013 2:02 am

Just reading the wikipedia page about Celta I noticed:

Even the part-time version of the course can take up more time than a full-time job for many candidates, especially those with no teaching background.


That's a little too involved for what I'm after. At this point, I'm just looking to get my feet wet, and don't really plan on teaching english as a career...just as a way to make some cash on the side. The way I see it, teaching english is becoming waaaay too institutionalized. I should just be able to rely on a little bit of practice experience, my native language ability, and a decent textbook with lesson plans. If it turns out that I really enjoy teaching English then I might decide to invest more into obtaining credentials.
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Postby Taco » Thu Aug 01, 2013 2:30 am

The most important thing for teaching English in a classroom is learning the different warmers, games, activities, songs you'll be using in your lesson plans. Most students already have lots of English grammar before they meet you, its speaking English they have the most problems with. Also, you need to learn how to make lesson plans quickly. Ideally, you want to spend 10 minutes preparing a lesson plan and turn it into 1 hour of teaching, this will take some time and organization on your part to master.
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Postby xiongmao » Thu Aug 01, 2013 2:16 pm

Get a CELTA or TESOL - they last forever. I'll get one myself when I get chance.

One of the CELTA places in Bangkok has a list of books you can read as preparation. Google them, you'll find their site. Only 2 places do CELTA's here.
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Postby Ghost » Thu Aug 01, 2013 3:44 pm

Taco wrote:The most important thing for teaching English in a classroom is learning the different warmers, games, activities, songs you'll be using in your lesson plans. Most students already have lots of English grammar before they meet you, its speaking English they have the most problems with. Also, you need to learn how to make lesson plans quickly. Ideally, you want to spend 10 minutes preparing a lesson plan and turn it into 1 hour of teaching, this will take some time and organization on your part to master.


This. Most of the job as I have experienced it so far is mostly about being a white English speaking face that sings and dances like a trained monkey. Actually teaching is usually frowned upon or even met with confused reactions when I try it. But I accepted it, and accepted it quickly and don't have a big problem with it. Read a book or two (Ladislav's e-books are very helpful!), get a TEFL if you don't want to drop bigger bucks on a better qualification, get a degree (any bachelor's degree will do but you can get favored more for having a bachelor's in English and/or education), and brush up on your grammar and spelling. Work on your speaking: you'll need to speak more slowly and fluidly in class.
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Postby rudder » Thu Aug 01, 2013 9:07 pm

I've done toastmasters, so getting in front of people and talking slowly and clearly is no big deal for me. I'm more concerned with knowing how. Honestly, I've looked into CELTA, there's nothing locally. There's a TESOL course at the university...we're talking thousands of dollars for that though. I'm not sure I'm willing to pay for something that will probably just go in one ear and out the other. Aren't their free lesson plans online, and free teacher training workshop videos on youtube?
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Postby Cornfed » Thu Aug 01, 2013 9:15 pm

rudder wrote:I've done toastmasters, so getting in front of people and talking slowly and clearly is no big deal for me. I'm more concerned with knowing how. Honestly, I've looked into CELTA, there's nothing locally. There's a TESOL course at the university...we're talking thousands of dollars for that though. I'm not sure I'm willing to pay for something that will probably just go in one ear and out the other. Aren't their free lesson plans online, and free teacher training workshop videos on youtube?

Yes, but it is good to know how to actually present and adapt stuff from online lesson plans and text books, as well as knowing how you might go about planning your own lessons. On the subject of sites for lesson plans, this is a good one:
http://bogglesworldesl.com/
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Postby rudder » Thu Aug 01, 2013 9:41 pm

Cornfed wrote:
rudder wrote:I've done toastmasters, so getting in front of people and talking slowly and clearly is no big deal for me. I'm more concerned with knowing how. Honestly, I've looked into CELTA, there's nothing locally. There's a TESOL course at the university...we're talking thousands of dollars for that though. I'm not sure I'm willing to pay for something that will probably just go in one ear and out the other. Aren't their free lesson plans online, and free teacher training workshop videos on youtube?

Yes, but it is good to know how to actually present and adapt stuff from online lesson plans and text books, as well as knowing how you might go about planning your own lessons. On the subject of sites for lesson plans, this is a good one:
http://bogglesworldesl.com/


Yes, I agree. Thanks for the link, too.
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Postby rudder » Sat Aug 03, 2013 1:03 am

Given my background and my desire to teach in Mexico and Latin America, do you think this course would be worth my time?
http://www.oxfordseminars.com/tesol-tes ... %20Angeles

I'm in uncharted waters here, and would like to make sure that the certificate I get from them is reputable, recognized and sufficient to land a job.
I'm probably going to sign up for the course tomorrow.
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Postby Cornfed » Sat Aug 03, 2013 1:49 am

I'd say better to do the CELTA over a month. There is a limit to what you can learn in six days spread over 3 weeks, and the CELTA is more universally recognized.
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Postby RedMenace » Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:16 am

Is there any other jobs one can do in China other than teaching English. I should be starting an Electrical and Electronics Engineering course at uni in September. Don't know whether there are jobs in that field for foreigners in China.
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Postby Cornfed » Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:33 am

RedMenace wrote:Is there any other jobs one can do in China other than teaching English. I should be starting an Electrical and Electronics Engineering course at uni in September. Don't know whether there are jobs in that field for foreigners in China.

There are various foreigner-type short term gigs like acting/promotions/modelling etc. in major centers, but not much that would qualify you for a work visa. To work full time in anything else you would have to either be hired by a Western company in the West, be a recognised expert, and/or speak fluent Mandarin. Obviously the Chinese are not going to hire and train an inexperienced foreigner to do a job that a Chinese could do just as well. Only Western whorporations are stupid and treasonous enough to do stuff like that.
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Postby Cornfed » Tue Aug 06, 2013 4:06 am

Even the part-time version of the [CELTA] course can take up more time than a full-time job for many candidates, especially those with no teaching background.

The idea is to do the month-long intensive course. That is much more efficient, because you don't have time to keep second-guessing yourself on the lesson plans and such. Even though it is pretty full on, I still managed to designate Saturday as a drinking day. :)
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