I’m an older woman (late 50’s) in a managerial position in IT, used to stress and long hours.
I do not have a degree, but I do have basic and advanced qualifications obtained over 30 years ago in a profession for which the current qualification is a degree – in other words, my qualification is degree-equivalent.
In 3 months’ time I am leaving my job, having a total change of focus and planning to do the CELTA diploma, then returning to the UK for the first time in over ten years …
What are the advantages/disadvantages between the two methods of training – should I go for part-time or for full-time?
10 June, 2007 at 8:18
Total posts: 26
Reply To: Part-time or full-time?
If you do the full-time course, it really will be full-time – you have to be prepared for it to take over your life. If you don’t have to work at the same time, don’t have a family and are willing/able to dedicate all your time inside and outside the course sessions to studying, then fine.
This isn’t possible for everyone, which is where the part-time course comes in. It lets you do the course and retain some pretence of being a normal human being at the same time. And it also gives you more time to assimilate all the new ideas – this can be useful a) for people who don’t like learning under stress and prefer time to let things "sink in" or b) you are aiming for a really top result and would like to do more work than would be possible on the full-time course to help you get it.
Think about your other commitments, and also about the pace at which you like to learn etc before you decide – in the end it’s very much an individual decision.
Thanks for the super-fast reply! I am 99% decided on the part-time course, as long as I can get on it. I have good help in the office and am gradually cutting down on my responsibilities as I hand them over.
Older trainees in this field seem to be not so derided as are older trainees in many other fields – I am told and I read that age discrimination is not a huge problem in the English Language teaching "industry" (although I am sure I will come across some). Can you confirm this?
It seems fairly obvious to me that business and professional people, at the very least, may prefer to be taught by a peer or a more mature person who has had business and professional experience themselves, rather than by a very young person, no matter what their ability – but perhaps Language Schools find younger employees to be more easily manipulated?
Is there anything I should particularly bear in mind as an older person hoping to go into English Language teaching?
11 June, 2007 at 6:43
Total posts: 26
Reply To: Part-time or full-time?
It’s difficult to reply for an entire industry – whatever I say, you’ll probably find the school which is the exception However …
As far as the training course is concerned – you should experience no problems. Older trainees are fairly common – a lot of people who decide on a career change, want a complete change of scene etc opt for TEFL so people in their forties and fifties are a fairly common sight. Bear in mind also, if you’re doing a CELTA, that Cambridge ESOL have an equal opportunities policy and centres must abide by it. I’ve never heard of anyone needing to complain, but if it did happen it would be taken seriously.
As for working – you’re right that your previous experience is a plus – as long as you’re intending to work in Teaching Business English of course, and especially if you’re working with students at the top of the corporate ladder. I’ve known Managing Directors of large firms who would have eaten the average twenty something alive, however good a teacher they actually were. It may also depend where you’re intending to work. Remember that in many cultures there is a lot more respect for age than in US/British etc contexts so that may work in your favour.
I think you’ll find however, that it is your teaching ability which people are interested in, and your general personality and approach – as it should be. I too am over 50 and have never experienced ageism in the TEFL industry – except in reverse. I have had clients specifying that they didn’t want a younger teacher – again irrespective of how good that person was.
I don’t think there’s anything particular you need to take into consideration based on your age alone. Personality is much more important. For example, I’ve known some 50 year olds who were more dynamic in the classroom than some 20 year olds – and some that weren’t. 50 year old open to change and 20 year olds resistant – and vice versa. And it’s that sort of factor which makes the difference. As long as you go into your course accepting that you have a lot to learn, that eventually (with experience) you’ll adapt the course techniques to your own teaching style, but that the course itself is the time when you have to master them, not play around with them – you’ll be fine.