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Research for report on "Teaching Abroad"

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  • Weezie
    Participant
    13 June, 2006 at 15:05
    • Total posts: 2

    Hello!

    I am a Salford University student of Modern Languages (German and Italian) and am currently completing my residence abroad placement in Italy. My course requires a report about my experiences during my stay here in Italy and particularly how I went about achieving specific goals I’d set myself prior to my arrival.

    One of my aims was to find out a bit more about teaching abroad. I chose this aim because although my participation in a number of teacher training programmes had inspired me to become a teacher myself, I was always left with the same question:
    How would I decided where to teach?

    I’ve never had any problems listing reasons to stay in the U.K. but although moving abroad permanently seems like such a leap of faith, I shouldn’t automatically rule it out as a possibility.

    Therefore I thought I’d ask a few teachers about their own experience; not just on a professional level but on a personal level too.

    The kinds of things I’m interested in finding out are:

    *What inspired you to get into teaching?
    *What courses did you take?
    *Have you ever taught in your home country?
    *Why did you decide to teach abroad?
    *What are the pro’s/con’s of teaching abroad?
    *Are there any specific qualifications / documentation needed to teach in abroad?
    *Do you have any recommendations for useful books / websites?
    *Any other information you think may be useful e.g. tips or general thing about the daily life of a foreign teacher.

    Any information that you can provide will be helpful.

    Thanks! :D

    fiper
    Participant
    22 June, 2006 at 11:01
    • Total posts: 2

    Reply To: Research for report on "Teaching Abroad"

    Hi Weezie

    I got into teaching after doing a gap year in Indonesia. I was teaching at a university for 6 months, absolutely loved it, despite not having a clue what I was doing! I’d done a weekend TEFL course, provided by the gap year organisation, which didn’t prepare me very much for teaching with a microphone to classes of over 100. But despite all this, it was, up to that point, the best experience of my life, and I vowed to return, so after uni I did a CELTA and started teaching. I’m still going 8 years later…

    I’ve never taught in the UK (my home country), and nor would I wish to. I know many people who have, and who have told me that making ends meet was impossible. I guess we all go into teaching knowing and expecting salaries to be low, and we accept this – if everyone who went into TEFL did it for the money, there’d be no TEFL teachers! But there’s a big diference between surviving on a TEFL salary in Jakarta (with which you can live very comfortably) and surviving on a TEFL salary in London.

    Qualifications required to teach abroad vary from country to country, but normally include a degree and a teaching qualification such as Cambridge CELTA or Trinity Cert TESOL – both these are normally 4 week intensive (VERY intensive) courses. This is the normal requirement, but you can find work in some countries with no formal qualification or experience, and, at the other end of the scale, in some countries you’ll need a higher level qualification and several years experience (some countries in the Middle East for example).

    The only big disadvantage I’ve found to teaching abroad is losing touch with friends. I’ve generally stayed in one place for two years or so, then moved on. In each place I’ve made many good friends, but inevitably when you move, you lose touch with some, and others become less close as the only contact becomes email. The same is true for friends in the UK – when I get back to the UK, it’s usually only for a few days, and priority has to be to see family. Consequently, I don’t get to see my old UK friends much, and relationships become more distant.

    This disadvantage though, for me, is outweighted by the advantages – if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t still be teaching!

    Hope this helps you!

    Paul

    Weezie
    Participant
    22 June, 2006 at 13:06
    • Total posts: 2

    Reply To: Research for report on "Teaching Abroad"

    Thanks for your reply Paul. This helps a lot! I’ve heard about courses to get your TEFL qualification but most of the courses I saw were for the duration of one year. Your experience has certainly inpired me to look into other options. Thank you.

    Hermione
    Participant
    27 March, 2007 at 6:03
    • Total posts: 1

    Reply To: Research for report on "Teaching Abroad"

    After a longer period in Germany and working in German companies, I wanted to use my mother tongue again.
    I took a correspondence TEFL course, but I found that practical teaching assessment was missing and this was a disadvantage. Nowadays I would recommend the 4 week CELTA course.
    I’ve never taught in Britain, no.
    I decided to move to Germany in 1993, as I loved the German language and people – that was my motivation.
    As an English teacher in Germany, I find in general you are looked up to as English has become so important now in practically every industry. I teach mainly business people but that ranges from secretaries to finance managers, all across the board. I’ve even taught security guards English!
    Regarding qualifications, a good background such as CELTA gives you confidence. Especially as a lot of language schools don’t have many resources (books/photocopiable material). You need to develop skills to design your own courses and write your own material and/or obtain it from the internet.
    Useful books are – for the more advanced: Teach Business English by Sylvie Donna.
    There are loads of websites, but you have to look for the best. Some of my favourites are: eslbase.com, breakingnewsenglish.com, bbc.co.uk
    In general, you have to be interested in your students as people and focus on their strengths. Treating all students with respect is very important too. Any ways to motivate them will have an effect on their learning.
    Best of luck with your course!
    :)

    Katie
    Participant
    5 April, 2007 at 12:52
    • Total posts: 2

    Reply To: Research for report on "Teaching Abroad"

    Interesting questions…and answers!

    I don’t think I can answer them all, but here’s something.

    I started teaching right out of university, though I studied something else (sociology). I got my CELTA in July and went to work in Sarajevo in August. I was interested in teaching because I wanted to live abroad and interact with locals, not just other travelers/foreigners…and having met people with different kinds of jobs abroad, I still think teaching is one of the best ways to get to know real people. I chose my location because I had traveled in Croatia, returned home and decided to take a language course in that language, and then wanted to teach somewhere that language was spoken (Sarajevo is in Bosnia of course but it is essentially the same language) and liked the city.

    I think the CELTA or another course with actual teaching practice is good – I can’t imagine teaching a class without it! Though there is still much to be learned on your feet.

    I taught in the US briefly and also noticed the relative difference in salary.

    One book that I used which may be a little dated now was Teaching English Abroad by Susan Griffith and Vacation Works. It had a gigantic index of contact info for schools (granted this is less necessary with the internet, but still valuable I think) and information on "red tape" and general topics related to teaching abroad, including short exerpts in teachers’ own words, which I found to provide interesting insight.

    ICAL_Pete
    Participant
    6 September, 2010 at 9:13
    • Total posts: 149

    Reply To: Research for report on "Teaching Abroad"

    *What inspired you to get into teaching?

    It was an accident; I didn’t have a job and this came up. That was *many* years ago and I’m so glad it happened that way!

    *What courses did you take?

    Initially nothing (although I did have a degree). Then a couple of short teaching courses after a couple of years and then CELTA.

    *Have you ever taught in your home country?

    No.

    *Why did you decide to teach abroad?

    For the adventure. To see the world, etc. Travel is fine, but spending a couple of weeks somewhere is just not comparable to living there for a year or more. I’ve spent more time living outside my home country than in it and don’t regret one day of that.

    *What are the pro’s/con’s of teaching abroad?

    It depends on the person. If you are the homesick type or don’t like to try something new then it’s not for you. If you are even just fairly open minded then it’s brilliant.

    The pros speak for themselves: travel, new experiences, new people, new places, etc.

    The cons… well I suppose if you’re away from home then it’s sometimes awkward to get home for family, but as far as teaching itself then there are no cons. In the old days it was difficult to get resources and so on, but now with the internet that’s just not an issue (unless, I suppose, one was in the remotest place on earth!).

    *Are there any specific qualifications / documentation needed to teach in abroad?

    These days a degree and a TEFL cert are the minimum. Of course there are specific requirements for different countries (e.g. passport regulations in Europe and higher qualifications and experience for certain jobs).

    *Do you have any recommendations for useful books / websites?

    The ICAL TEFL Wiki – the largest collection of TESL/TEFL articles online.

    *Any other information you think may be useful e.g. tips or general thing about the daily life of a foreign teacher.

    Be open minded, enjoy yourself!


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