Read the article below on finding work
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Types of TEFL Employment
Freelance work is often a great attraction for teachers because of the obvious financial rewards - students are prepared to spend more for more personal one-to-one language training. However, the advantages are often outweighed by the disadvantages. Firstly, you have to go out and find the work – adverts on public notice boards, in schools, universities, companies, libraries or in local papers are good ways of attracting private students.
However, be prepared to work unsociable hours, and travel long distances to reach people, and take into account the preparation and travelling time which you will not be paid for. Don’t rely on a minimum wage working in this way: the work will not always be regular and it is very difficult to claim compensation for cancelled lessons. For women as well I would advise caution when agreeing when and where to meet single male clients, particularly for the first time. Above all it can sometimes be a lonely existence – you cannot always find people to seek advice from or go out with in the evenings.
Especially if you are intending to travel to an unfamiliar country, where you cannot speak the language it is always advisable to seek a contracted teaching job with a school as soon as possible. In this way you can guarantee a regular income, access to resources, guidance and comradeship, holiday pay and often assistance with accommodation and in-house training. Freelancing is however a great way to supplement your income when you have got a regular job.
Some people choose to find and accept a job from home before travelling to the destination – this obviously removes a lot of uncertainty and worries about travelling alone and without a job. It also allows you time to sort out any necessary visas or other paperwork, and gives you a chance to prepare a good base of authentic materials and any other course materials you may not be able to find abroad.
The other option is to travel to your destination first and look around potential schools and meet potential employers and colleagues. This is often advisable before committing to a job or area that does not live up to your expectations.
Finding a TEFL job from home
There are two widely available publications, which contain a good number of TEFL vacancies: The Educational Guardian and the Times Educational Supplement, both of which are available weekly (get copies to hand round).
For a more specific EFL publication try EL Gazette which is available monthly and gives general information about the EFL market. Subscribers receive a free job supplement called EL Prospects, which can also be subscribed to separately. For American teachers the International Employment Gazette is published bi-weekly and advertises vacancies and North American recruitment organisations.
The internet is a great resource for locating vacancies. It is far more cost efficient for schools in poorer countries to advertise on the web than in a foreign newspaper – so log onto any of the major search engines and see what you can find. There are also many EFL directories which post vacancies from all around the world. The internet is a very effective means of finding and securing international jobs as CVs and other information can be posted and received virtually simultaneously.
There are many recruitment services that place teachers in schools around the world. However, it may not be useful to rely solely on these as they are expensive for the schools and therefore may cater for more specialised or senior positions. Also, it is worth investigating the quality of schools advertised, as it may be that the bad name of the school means that they are unable to recruit from the local community.
Some of the major international language schools are a good starting place to send your CV. The British Council has 127 language centres, Berlitz 330, Inlingua over 300 and International House 110 centres.
Probably the largest volunteer organisation placing teachers is the VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas). Most of their postings are for two years for anyone aged 21 to 70 in over 50 countries, but predominantly in Africa and South East Asia. They offer a reasonable package that includes return airfares, full medical insurance, NI contributions, and a travel grant mid way through the posting. In addition to this they provide language training prior to departure. There are several other religious organisations that provide a similar service.
For North Americans there are several teacher placement agencies. However, be aware that American organisations will often charge you a fee for successful placement.
One major organisation is TESOL inc. which you need to become a member of in order to subscribe to its Placement Bulletin. There is also an annual convention where job interviews are held and teachers can be hired on site.
The Peace Corps also traditionally locates EFL teachers in secondary schools and in universities around the world. Along with these and many other voluntary organisations there are a significant number of commercial agencies.
Finding an English teaching job in your chosen destination
Even though many jobs are advertised with international agencies or in the press, a great deal of recruitment occurs in the location itself. Thailand, for example, hires virtually all its staff from the local community.
Whatever the country, if you can arrange a trip in advance to advertise yourself in person, you will have a much higher success rate. Go out there with a list of schools (found on the internet, from the consulate or even from the Yellow Pages which you can now access online), the names of the Director, or Director of Studies, a map and visit as many as possible.
Ask for a meeting with either of the above or if this is not possible, leave your CV with them. Don’t forget to leave contact details of how to locate you while you are in the area, and how long you are staying.
Another entry route might be to say you are prepared to stand in for an absent teacher at short notice. If you can start with even a few hours, they will begin to gain confidence in you and often this leads to a more permanent contract. Also, if you are teaching for a few hours at a number of schools, you will gain useful experience of the local schools and decide for yourself which ones will be good or bad employers before committing to one in particular.
Preparing your CV / Resume for TEFL/TESOL schools
Preparing a CV for an EFL post is much like it is for any other job. Obviously include all relevant details about your training and experience. Also, particularly if you do not have any teaching experience, try to include activities or jobs you have done in the past to show that you are a people – person, such as any voluntary work, or if you have been a member or captain of a team. You want to prove to the employers that you are confident, a team – player as well as a leader, adventurous, enthusiastic and creative.
It might also be an advantage to translate or have your CV translated into the language where you are applying for jobs. However, if you don’t speak the language, don’t forget to make that clear in the CV, so the school are not selecting you under false pretences!
TEFL job interviews
The first thing to consider when going for an interview is dress code. If you are having the interview in the UK, then the usual smart casual applies. If you are travelling to the country itself don’t forget to pack something smarter, particularly for Asian countries which are big on formality and prefer the conservative, respectable look.
Secondly, two things to remember are original copies of your TEFL certificate –photocopies are often not accepted as so many unqualified people use false certificates – and if you have a university degree take the original certificate. This may often be necessary for obtaining work permits or even when negotiating your pay. Also, if possible take along written references on headed paper even if these are not from teaching jobs.
Similarly to the CV impress upon the interviewer your relevant experience, which, even if not teaching related, demonstrates your aptitude for teaching and your people – oriented character. Always be prepared for an oral test, possibly on grammar or classroom management, and try to familiarize yourself with certain courses and materials that you can discuss at the interview.
If you are asked how long you intend to stay be on the safe side and say a minimum of one year, otherwise there is a strong chance you will be rejected at this point.
When you ask about pay and conditions, try to obtain as much information as possible as employers often forget what they have promised when you actually start!
TEFL work contracts
Even if schools will not offer you a formal contract try to at least get written confirmation of your status and pay.
If a contract is drawn up make sure that the following information is contained:
In addition, if the job was accepted on the basis of assistance with accommodation and/or free accommodation, paid flights, etc, ensure the exact details are contained in the contract.
If the contract is in a foreign language it is worth having it translated into English before signing so you are sure of what to expect. Also, have copies of it just in case!
Even if you have accepted a job with a school that offers health insurance, always check exactly how comprehensive this is. Many policies are basic and may not cover emergencies or dental treatment for example, or may only be valid while you are in the workplace.
If you are not happy with the level of cover offered to you, take out a policy of your own. Whatever type of insurance you choose it is advisable to ensure that it contains evacuation cover with 24 hour emergency service. This is important as it means you always have telephone access to an English speaking doctor.
If you are staying within the EU, the situation is a lot easier. You need an E – 111 certificate obtained and stamped at the Post Office, which entitles you to cover for the first 12 months of your stay. When that expires you need to have an E – 106.
It is a good idea to have a general check up with your GP before departure as well as a dental check up and an eye test. If anything does show up it is easier to sort it out in the UK than a foreign country where it may be more expensive or even difficult to communicate.
If you are heading for somewhere tropical don’t forget that you will need certain vaccinations before you travel. Check with a nurse at your local surgery who will be able to advise you further. Don’t forget to leave plenty of time as you will often need six weeks for a vaccination programme.
If you are going to be teaching in Africa, where the incidence of HIV is high, it may be advisable to take a sterile medical pack with you. In case of an emergency. MASTA (Medical Advisory Service for Travellers Abroad) has a help line, which issues a free booklet if you leave your personal and travel details (0891 224100). They should also be able to give you further information on any health issues.
Tax payments will depend on the country you are visiting and you should check with the Inland Revenue before you leave. Useful leaflets include the following: IR20 Residents and Non-Residents: Liability to Tax in the UK, and IR139 Income from abroad? (phone IR)
Don’t worry if you are going to an EU country, as there is a reciprocal agreement that if any payments are made, then the person is entitled to benefit on return to the UK. If you are not making any NI payments whilst abroad this may affect your entitlement when you return to the UK. You can obtain a leaflet from Social Security NI38 called Social Security Abroad which explains all the different possibilities if you are in a country where there is no social security agreement with the UK.
The one thing you will need above all to survive in the early stages is money. You are unlikely to be paid until the end of the first month and you will probably need to pay a large deposit for your accommodation. Be prepared for other unexpected costs which always crop up. Credit cards are a great back up!
Other items you will need to have at your disposal include numerous passport photos and copies of your birth certificate, academic certificates, references, etc.
If possible find out about the resources available at the school and if you get the feeling they are sparse then try to stock up before you go. Particularly on magazine and newspaper articles, video and cassette recordings, pictures, maps, flashcards, brochures etc. KELTIC is a large EFL bookshop in London (25 Chepstow Corner, Chepstow Place, London, W2 4XE), which also has an international mail order service, from where you can obtain a wide selection of specialized EFL materials. Again there are many others you can find on the internet.
Stationery will be essential – don’t forget scissors, glue, blu tac, coloured pens and white and coloured paper. Another idea is to take lots of photographs with you of your home environment, the town, cars, parks, houses, monuments anything that will be of interest to foreign students.
It might be good to have a book about British culture to hand as foreign students are extremely interested in the monarchy, political system, democratic system, industry, sporting history – any number of topics on which you are expected to be an expert!
Teaching English (ESL) in Western Europe
EU citizens have the right to work in member states, although it is still fairly difficult to find good placements in Western Europe. EU citizens still have to apply for residence visas and tax numbers. For non-EU citizens it is necessary to have work permit which is often a long and expensive process making it less easy to find work.
In Western Europe the market has expanded to incorporate Business English, therefore it is often useful to have experience or knowledge in this area. Be prepared to work early in the mornings and/or late in the evenings to cater for this market.
In popular cities such as Paris and Rome there is great competition. New teachers are very seldom offered permanent contracts. It will often involve working freelance at a number of language schools or doing private work until you have sufficient experience. Money may be tight at first so save beforehand.
Due to competition in major cities it is easier to find work in more provincial or less popular areas to begin. Here you are more likely to secure a full time contract.
In the UK market the greatest demand for English teachers is during the summer when there are numerous summer schools and short courses for foreign visitors especially in historic towns such as Oxford or coastal regions such as Brighton. It may be difficult to secure a full time contract for a newly qualified teacher, although there will be many freelance opportunities in London and the South-East.
Salaries for a newly qualified TEFL teacher will often start at around 10 per hour in private language schools and will increase with experience. For private work you can charge upwards of £20 per hour.
Teaching ESL in Central and Eastern Europe
Many of these countries will soon be joining the EU and governments are keen for their people to integrate with the rest of Europe. With the additional interest in Western tourism to the region, English is now the principal foreign language in most of these countries and there are very many opportunities for teaching English as a foreign language. English teaching is considered so important that salaries in some countries can be similar to those offered in Spain or Italy.
In most countries it is illegal to work on a tourist visa although this is a common practice. Most states require you to have a work permit. This takes time to process and so it is advisable to apply for it in your home country before arriving particularly for the Czech Republic and Poland. In some countries you may not apply for a work permit without having a written offer from an employer so check with the state if you are not sure of obtaining a contracted position. British citizens don’t need a visa to work in Hungary.
There are many opportunities in both the state and private sector. The basic requirement for a position is a first degree and a recognized TEFL qualification.
Be aware that schools and universities outside the major cities can often be poorly equipped so take plenty of materials.
There is growing market in Russia, particularly in Moscow and St Petersburg and the oil cities of Siberia. Take plenty of warm clothing for the cold winters!
Many schools can arrange accommodation for teachers so check the situation before you accept an offer. Good, reasonably priced accommodation in Eastern Europe can be difficult to come across.
Landlords can demand up to six months salary as a deposit and monthly rents can use up nearly a whole month’s wages. When arranging accommodation, try to have someone with you who speaks the local language and can help to negotiate a better deal and prevent you from falling into loopholes with the contract.
Teaching English as a Second Language in North America
In the USA there are two major TEFL markets: teaching children in the state sector and teaching adults in the private sector.
The USA is very strict about the qualifications of its teachers and this is compounded if you are not an American citizen. Often the minimum requirement will be a Master’s degree with a TEFL component. A recognized TEFL diploma may be accepted as an equivalent.
It is necessary to have a green card, permanent residence or a work permit in order to work in the United States. It is not advisable to work without any of these as there are strict penalties.
In Canada the demand for English language teaching continues to grow due to its French speaking population, a growing immigrant population, and high numbers of foreign students arriving to learn English.
Opportunities are fairly good in both the public sector, where immigrants are offered state funded ESL courses, and the private sector in which Business English within companies is an important aspect.
In Canada a work permit must be granted before you are eligible for work. This can be difficult, as it must be proved that there is not a qualified Canadian capable of doing this job. However, as there are few TEFL training opportunities in Canada some of the recognized British qualifications such as Trinity may be sufficient.
Teaching English as a Foreign Language in South America, Central America and The Caribbean
With more stable economies, there are now a wide range of English language teaching opportunities in this region. Demand is particularly strong in the business community as companies often now actively encourage their staff to learn English.
It has always been easier for American English teachers to find work in this region, however it is now becoming increasingly easier for the British to find teaching positions through cultural associations that have links with the British Council.
Unfortunately jobs in the Caribbean islands can only usually be secured by qualified and experienced teachers through aid agencies and salaries may not be enough to cover your basic living costs. There are, however, some opportunities to teach business English in Jamaica.
In many South American countries it is impossible to work in state schools without a qualification from a native university.
In Argentina it is best to start making applications in October to start in April/May, or if you intend to look on spec go arrive in January. Also bear in mind the work visa, which can take up to eight months to process.
In Brazil it is necessary to have 2 years experience before you can obtain a work permit. Also, there are two semesters to be aware of when applying for work – the first begins in February after the Carnival and the second is in August.
Ecuador is considered a great place to start a TEFL career in South America. There are numerous opportunities to teach general, business and young learner English in the larger cities. Uruguay also has a great demand for native English speakers. Columbia has a significant number of opportunities especially in the business sector; however, these are more readily available to North Americans.
Teaching English - Asia and the Pacific Rim
This has always been a popular destination for English teachers. Following the recession there is an interesting situation regarding the demand for teachers. In many countries the numbers of students travelling abroad to learn English has dropped and therefore there are increased opportunities in the countries themselves. However, because Australia was always the popular choice for these students, it also means that the competition from Australian teachers has grown as they are travelling to the students instead.
Australia and New Zealand can be accessed on a working holiday visa or temporary working visa, which lasts up to 12 months. Unfortunately for longer periods you must apply for resident status in Australia and a work permit in New Zealand, both of which mean proving that you will be doing a job that no other resident can do.
China is a great place to secure your first teaching position. It is thought that up to 200 million Chinese are currently learning the language! However, be prepared for classes of more than 100 students! There are two grades of English teacher, the Foreign Teacher who is normally younger and with limited qualifications or experience, and the Foreign Expert who has many years experience and further qualifications.
In most cases employers will assist with accommodation and visa applications. Try to insist on some form of accommodation with the contract, as it can be very difficult to find alone. The cost of living is very cheap although unless you are in one of the major cities salaries are very low.
Japan is a great attraction for those who are seeking high salaries.
We have finally got the hang of the grocer's apostrophe. But we still have little clue how to defuse, or diffuse, our other hang-ups about the correct use of words - and computer spellcheckers only make our task harder.
This is today's (not todays) verdict from Oxford University Press. It reports evidence from its 300m-word database of "a new kind of problem" among otherwise relatively literate people.
One of the epidemic errors of the past 30 years - unnecessary, misplaced or omitted apostrophes in the words "its"and "it's" - has dwindled to only about 8% of people, possibly because the mistake has drawn so much ridicule. It was dubbed "the grocer's apostrophe" because of its unnecessary use in plural words on shop signs or placards (Price's Slashed).
But it has been replaced by misuse of "diffuse" or "defuse" (as in "A coach can diffuse the situation by praising the players").
Research for the new Concise Oxford English Dictionary, published today, found that this word crime was committed in some 50% of examples on the database. It is now rated as the commonest in the language.
Second commonest is uncertainty over when to use "rein" or "reign", found in 26% of examples, as in "A taxi driver had free reign to charge whatever he likes".
Third most frequent (21%) is "tow" instead of "toe", as in "Some pointed to his refusal to tow the line under Tony Blair". Fourth (12%) is "pouring" instead of "poring", as in "He spent his evenings pouring over western art magazines".
Other common confusions include pedal and peddle, draw and drawer, compliment and complement and their, there and they're.
Angus Stevenson, of OUP dictionaries, said yesterday: "This seems to be something of a new situation. These errors are occurring in texts that are otherwise quite well spelt, possibly because of the increasing use of spellcheckers. Spellcheckers can tell you whether a word is correctly spelt - but not whether it is properly used.
"Also, we find that people are picking up words and phrases from the media and bolting them together into fully formed sentences."
The OUP database contains mainly written word usages. To measure speech, it used to include recordings from radio but now takes examples from the internet instead.
"People are increasingly writing on the internet as if it was a spoken rather than a written medium, with all the mistakes which arise through doing that," Mr Stevenson said.
Newly coined, or revived, words and phrases printed for the first time in the latest Concise dictionary include metrosexual (used about David Beckham and others), sex up, congestion charge, health tourism, pole dancing, speed dating and threequel (a second sequel).
Often confused words
We are still recruiting for august 2012 starts in South Korea
Recruitment for Easter and summer schools seems to have begun early this year. The best place to look for these jobs is the the Guardian web site. here...
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