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When I set off happier abroad in a couple of years I will be going down the English teaching route, at least for quite a while. I am in Vancouver now and I'd like to know the best places to get TESOL / CELTA locally. It needs to be a program with a classroom component that lasts a minimum of 100 hours, as I have heard that more and more employers abroad are not accepting online certificates. I will most likely need a college / uni degree before I can register for those courses. As of now I'm leaning towards the CELTA due to recommendation from David, a British expat in Malaysia who may become my father in the near future. TESOL is also fine with me. Can someone do a comparison of both?
I went to Bangkok and picked up a CELTA. Most of the other students were experienced teachers who were getting it because they needed to upgrade for their jobs. There were teachers there from Korea, Thailand, China and one student was from Vietnam who needed the CELTA to get a job. So, if you are planning to be a teacher for some time it may be the way to go. But, I personally found the technique they were teaching to be rigid and not that effective although they push it as the superior method of teaching. They also like to put you under a lot of stress by criticism and making you afraid that you won't pass. The teachers are mostly English. As long as you can get a job, another degree might be more fun and rewarding.
I've been out of the field for 7 years. I did okay without a certificate. I was in Indonesia. A certificate will get you the same kind of low-paying jobs you could get without a certificate and a bachelors degree, IMO. If you wanted to teach-- in that part of the world at least-- and make a decent living, you could go through all the training to be a certified elementary, middle, or high school teacher in the US and do an ESL add-on. That way, you could get a decent job at an international school, possibly, instead of a job paying less than $1000 a month. I was fortunate to always find jobs that paid more, but I went through 8 months of unemployment overseas looking for a decent-paying job once. I had a friend with a business who sponsored me for a business visit visa and I took runs to Singapore while living off savings.
I worked in Korea, but that was long ago. My guess is that having a certificate won't help you that much.
It will help knowing how to teach English. If you want to invest in a training program, invest in something that will teach you the skills you need. CELTA is supposed to be good for that, but university courses MIGHT help. I took one university course. It was okay. But I think I learned more from a seminar from a volunteer ESL teacher training program once.
Your being Asian may hurt you in Korea and some other countries, unless you speak the local language. Having a certificate may help you get a job.
The last I checked on Daves ESL cafÃ©, Korea pays about $1800 a month, airfare and an apartment, probably shared. In Korea, they may not tell you this beforehand, but unless you teach kids, which means working Saturday mornings, you'll probably get a split shift. You might have a 7, 8, or 9 AM class, get off work at 10 AM, then come back at four or five and teach until 9. Jet lag moving to Korea is pretty rough, too. I felt sick a couple of weeks in from not getting rested. I didn't have 8 hours between night and morning work hours to sleep.
Indonesian hours were much more reasonable. From my American perspective the boundary of what is acceptable for a Korean manager to ask of you is really uncomfortable. Indonesians were much easier to work with in this regard. It's good to talk to expats at the school. You might have a contract that specifies an apartment shared with one other teacher, but get there and be put in a home stay situation or just some other weird situation where thing aren't prepared for you.
There was a CELTA in the Kunningan area of Jakarta. I used to pass by the building walking from work to the outdoor food area several times a work at lunch time. It was $1200 at the time. The cost of living is pretty low in Jakarta, though getting there is expensive. If you plan to go find a job in some country like that, especially a cheap one, you could fly on some kind of temporary visa, find a place to stay, take the course, and find a job when you graduate.
A TESOL certificate type job at an institute is probably okay when you are single. When you get married and start having kids, it's not so great.
What may eventually end up becoming a dilemma for me is whether to take the CELTA in Vancouver right after I graduate or to fly to Asia and take it there in the country of my choice (VN or Malaysia are the two most likely choices, but maybe TH, Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, maybe a return to China). On the website of IH Career College in West Broadway, Vancouver the CELTA costs $2,345.
I've had a Chinese friend tell me that a TEFL is better because it is more widely recognized than a CELTA. In the end, it probably won't matter much anyway, and these companies are selling hopes and dreams, not reality. I'm still planning to get a TEFL. But I'm planning to do it in Latin America, where I will also go to check out what the women are like, improve my Spanish, and visit a country or two I've wanted to visit for a long time.
It costs too much for what is, but if you have no other qualifications, you don't need it I think. I have a degree and some experience so it will mostly just be a third thing to tack on my resume. I could use some more references as well and any additional experience helps, but it is far from needed. But since you're going to just be starting out in TEFL, it will probably be more helpful to you.
A helpful guide:
Expatriation Apocalypse! The Guide to Expatriation for the Broke and Hopeless (Kindle)
Expatriation Apocalypse! (Paperback)
I used to work in the field and I don't know what a 'TEFL' is the way you are using it. Is that a certificate? From what I've heard, the Cambridge certificate, the CELTA is tops for teaching adults.
The knowledge and skill one gains is worthwhile. As best I could tell from when I worked in the field, it's the kind of certification that MIGHT get your foot in the door for a job. You don't get paid more and you don't need it to get a job in a lot of countries. I might have been able to be considered for a school that was a notch below an international school once if I'd had a CELTA certificate. But it's an adult certificate, so international schools probably won't accept it.
MATESOL is also an investment with what is likely to be a negative return on investment, though I do know one guy who got a really good job in Saudi Arabia, paywise, who had one. But in most parts of Asia, you don't need it, or you could use it to get a lower paying job at a university than you'd get with similar qualifications in business or engineering, for example.
Depending on where you teach, you might be better off getting a cheap online certificate for the knowledge of how to teach and just to have something. You might not even need that to land a job. I don't think you need it in Korea to get a job. The only thing is if you want to know what you are doing, which is worth something.
8 posts • Page 1 of 1
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