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TESOL question

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

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TESOL question

Postby chanta76 » Fri Sep 23, 2016 3:55 pm

There is a program at New School for a master degree in TESOL.
Here is the link. http://www.newschool.edu/public-engagement/ma-teaching-english-to-speakers-of-other-languages/

It's almost two years program and it does cost some money. Is it worth it? Or just get a regular TESOL certificate?
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Re: TESOL question

Postby MrMan » Sat Sep 24, 2016 12:10 am

As an English teacher in Indonesia, I thought about getting an MA TESOL, but realized the degree would get me nowhere if I came back to Indonesia, or probably anywhere else. I had plenty of ESL experience. Adding a one month Cambridge certificate might have opened up a door for me at a 'national plus' school-- just one-- if I had had it. But schools wanted certified school teachers, not MA TESOLs.

You can teach adults with just a degree, or just a degree and a certificate. Why waste the time and money on a Masters degree? It's hard to get a job at a community college teaching with a degree like that. If you know of a specific job where they want to hire you with an MA TESOL, maybe it's worth it.

I decided an MBA was a better investment, even though it is more expensive. But you could double or triple your income. Another alternative is just train to be a teacher and be certified in the US, and get a 'real job' with real long hours at an international school.

If you ever want to get married, it makes sense to work the real job. I was doing the light TESOL thing, part time, when I met my wife. I kind of wished I'd been working longer hours. They took me on full-time before i got married. It was literally 40 hours a week, with no over-time ever, low pressure, too, a pretty good gig even if it did not pay huge amounts. It was still great money for Indonesia.

In Indonesia, there are international and 'national plus' schools looking for teachers certified to teach in developed countries. I suspect international schools around Asia will hire for the same thing. Korea and some other places may pay okay for ESL teachers at institutes, but international schools are better jobs with real benefits, trying to hire real professionals (maybe not the best paid professionals on the planet, but enough to earn a living) from western countries. In Indonesia at least, ESL institutes can pay very low. But international and national plus schools can pay relatively decent and throw in housing and benefits. It's a real career if you want to go that route.

Of course, teachers can work a lot of hours and it isn't an easy job-- I mean K-12 teachers. A lot of ESL jobs are really light work in my experience. I've done both. Teaching at a university is a real job, too, at least for full-time faculty. ESL teaching at an institute can be hard work too, depending on where you are, what you put into it, and whether you get into administration, but some of these jobs need not be that difficult.

For the time you put in school if you study some kind of science, business, or engineering, you may be able to make a lot more money than if you went into that than ESL. With some of these areas, even with English, as a certified teacher, it still is possible to get jobs in Asia. In some science and tech jobs, Asian countries may want to hire their own people. So you need to do a little research on the Asian job market (or whatever region you want to work in) if you want to work abroad.

I got out of ESL. I needed to raise a family. Also, studying business, you learn some skills you need to actually run one, or at least invest money.
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Re: TESOL question

Postby yick » Sat Sep 24, 2016 11:17 am

It depends what you want to do Chanta - the Koreans will sooner or later (they are starting now actually) start demanding that everyone teaching at a university in Korea to have a related MA. So, if you want to go back to South Korea, it's not a bad investment.

Depends where you want to go, depends what you want to do - I mean, I would never do an MBA - I think they are the biggest con job in academia. As for Mr Man's claim that you will double or triple your income - this might be the case, but you will work harder and have a more stressful working life - if you get the job that pays triple that is.

If you want to be a teacher and teach at a university - get the MA TESOL - and it seems to be a decent institution - it is the minimum for any decent TEFL job (joint venture universities in China, Saudi jobs etc).
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Re: TESOL question

Postby MrMan » Sat Sep 24, 2016 4:19 pm

If you do get an MBA from a first or second tier program with good recruitment, you may be able to nearly triple your income over an ESL salary. I actually have trippled my income from my ESL salary compared to what I make now, not accounting for inflation, but probably taking it into account as well, in terms of US dollars. Of course, I was working in Indonesia.

It is a lot more stress and a heavier workload than I had in 2000, making less than a third take-home, not counting inflation converted to US dolalrs. But I had a job in the mid 2000's where I had a fairly high amount of stress and worked a lot of hours, and still did not make much. ESL just generally doesn't pay much money. Maybe if you own or manage a school you could make a decent salary. In academia, I'd imagine a professor in the ESL field who rises to the level of dean probably earns a decent salary.

It's hard to support a family on a 'low stress' salary job. It makes sense to embrace the idea of working hard. You can have a work-life balance, too, but you do have to work hard if you want to really earn a decent living or accomplish a lot even when non-financial objectives are in view.
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Re: TESOL question

Postby chanta76 » Sun Oct 02, 2016 3:16 am

The issue with me moving overseas is income. I am married at the same time I do support my parents. I work in real estate in NYC and do OK but I don't have the skill set to work overseas as a high paying professional. I do speak some Korean but not fluently. And the Korean job market is really competitive. I mean there are lots of local Koreans who can speak passing English with business or IT degrees.

So realistically I'm looking at ESL but I'm well aware of the income. I figure maybe look into a MA of ESL might give me a leg up in competition but it is two years program and not cheap. The other choice is I can look into higher education besides ESL to help me get a regular job in Asia. They do say an MBA can help but I just turned 40 years old so I don't know how much my age will handicap me. Places like South Korea and Japan do have age discrimination.

The other choice is sell some asset that I have and make wise investment decision and just go with my wife and wing it.

For me the move back is different with so many other guys. Many posters I think go to Asia to look for a girl or to monger. Not me..since I'm married already but my wife and I are thinking of having a baby. I like my kid to grow up in Asia if it's possible. I figure I might need 2 years to plan this.

MBA route I think depends on the school you go to. I know NYU stern business school has a great MBA program but very hard to get into. There are other schools but I would hate to invest all that time and money and not be able to find work.

My parents are the problem. They don't want to move back and if you know the Asian culture being the first son I feel responsible in taking care of them. Sometimes I think you white guys are lucky and free pass card.
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Re: TESOL question

Postby xiongmao » Thu Oct 06, 2016 8:05 pm

I did a CELTA last year. It was hard work but also fun at times. The main benefit was the increase in my self confidence that has made me absolutely kill it in job interviews (not for teaching related jobs).

If I was going to go and teach overseas now then I would definitely try and get a standard teaching qualification (not an EFL one). In the UK (assuming you have a degree) you can do a one year PGCE. When I get time I will do the related certification which allows you to teach adults at further education colleges, evening classes etc. etc.

As far as changing careers go, I am mid-40's now and getting too old to be a programmer to be honest. The best advice I have heard is if you change careers then make it a big change. A programmer I used to work with is now an MD and enjoying every minute of it.
In February 2013 I quit my boring job and now I'm Happier Abroad...
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Re: TESOL question

Postby Traveler » Sat Nov 12, 2016 1:06 am

I knew a few people in Korea who had MA TESOLs. They didn't have better teaching jobs than me. They either taught at public schools or hagwons. Korean universities often receive hundreds of applications for a single position so it's not easy to get hired. I think a much better path would to be to become certified to teach math or science in the US public school system and then start applying for jobs at international schools in Asia.
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Re: TESOL question

Postby chanta76 » Sat Nov 12, 2016 5:09 pm

From my understanding in order to teach in a Korean university you would need actually teaching experience in a university setting . The difference between a hagwon or a university job is that in a university job they actually want you to know how to teach ESL where as in hagwon it's less important.

My wife is telling me to find different way if we decide to move abroad. She tells me that the ESL industry is limited which I am aware of . My back ground is in real estate property management. Considering that I'm 40 years old I don't know if I can reinvent myself. I actually thought about pilot school but I'm bit old to do that and to become a commercial pilot takes years .

The pros for me is that I can afford to go to school again but it has to be something that will actually give me legit job in the future. I thought about MBA but there is no guarantee that I find work overseas. With ESL it's little bit guarantee but it is limited in the long run. I might just consider teacher certificate but in order to do a legit career change you got kind of like the work.

I'm been applying to teaching internship here in NYC or trying to volunteer as a teacher . I mean let say I hate teaching and hate kids. There is no point to be ESL teacher or Maybe adult students??


The cons is my age and maybe my family. I take care of my parents and that why I'm stuck in the USA. My wife doesn't mind moving abroad but my parents surprising are happy in the states. I figure it would take me 2 or 5 years to make the move. Some of it is family reason , building a new skill set and finances.
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Re: TESOL question

Postby Guhji » Sun Nov 13, 2016 12:51 am

Chanta, are you connected? I mean do you have powerful friends and family in Korea who can help you start a career, get culturally acclimated etc.? I suspect the answer is "no", so you can forget about starting a career in Korea. Businessmen in Korea are on the way out at 40. They're not contemplating a way "in" at that age.

I gotta admit, I admire how you've been able to navigate your way through American society as an Asian man. You're married (happily?), successful career, and with savings to boot. And you support your parents. Respect.

Frankly, if you have a good income and you're getting regular (safe!) sex, why think about leaving? The people on this board are poor and sexless. That's why they (we) want to get out. I think you are in a much different, and much more favorable position.
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Re: TESOL question

Postby chanta76 » Mon Nov 14, 2016 9:03 pm

Guhji,

I'm thinking about the next generation. I'm thinking about having kids with my wife. Granted South Korea has allot of problems but so does America. I know that the education system in Korea is tough compared to USA so if I have kids it be tough on them but saying that I think part of me yearns to go back to my native country.

At least go back somewhere in Asia. The Ideal lifestyle would be live in both country. Both USA and somewhere in Asia. Trying to figure that out though.

I do have family in South Korea so I have some knowledge although not too deep about the working landscape. It still comes down to the individual to make it work. South Korea does have ageism which makes America look so much better in comparison but again there is pros and cons in both countries. I'm not just limiting myself to South Korea. Other places in Asia I will consider.

One way or the other I eventually see myself and my family retire in another country. I think Yohan made it work by living in Japan but also having a place in Thailand.
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Re: TESOL question

Postby Guhji » Tue Nov 15, 2016 2:55 am

You want to leave because you've always felt like a third class citizen in this country, with an SMV slightly above that of a secondhand vibrator? Yeah, I get it. I just realized that things wouldn't really be all that much different in Asia. Nowadays there are a lot of super rich Koreans, Chinese, Thais, Vietnamese etc., who have no qualms about treating their less fortunate countrymen like garbage. People in America are not so pretentious or malicious. They don't mess with you. They leave you alone if you're not worth bothering with. There are some advantages to being anonymous.

There's a Korean American on Youtube. Yevato Kim is his handle. He lives with his wife and daughter in Saigon. He claims he needs 8K a month to maintain his lifestyle over there. 8K a month! Sounds like a lot, but maybe that's not a lot of money in Vietnam. He says he will never return to the States, so moving abroad appears to have been the right choice for him.
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