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  #1  
Old 28 Jun 2006
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Teaching along the way - TEFL

After an amazing weekend at Lumb farm and a head full of travel and all things right about being able to pack up and go, I find that I won't be able to pack anything up for at least a little while... and depression is setting in.
It's not all bad, because it is fabulous motivation to just Sort It Out!
So, in attempting to find a way to fund some travels and a aquire a sensible skill to take with me,
I am thinking about doing a TEFL course in London as soon as possible.

Has anyone taught along the way during their travels, or even before/after travels to save up some dosh?
Any experience of TEFL courses and their usefulness?

Thank you!
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  #2  
Old 28 Jun 2006
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I wish you every success if you do go down this road, but please try to talk to as many people as you can who have done this before you sign up for a course . My step-son did this a couple of years ago in the hope it would fund his stay in Spain. He now has all the qualifications and he did spend some time doing this in Barcelona and Madrid, but in the end he has found bar work to be more profitable and more enjoyable.
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  #3  
Old 29 Jun 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harleyrider
I wish you every success if you do go down this road, but please try to talk to as many people as you can who have done this before you sign up for a course . My step-son did this a couple of years ago in the hope it would fund his stay in Spain. He now has all the qualifications and he did spend some time doing this in Barcelona and Madrid, but in the end he has found bar work to be more profitable and more enjoyable.

Good advice.
The pay that is offered (each country is different, of course) doesn't allow much breathing room to save money.
It could work well if you're looking for just extended stays in certain areas.
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  #4  
Old 29 Jun 2006
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funding

hI sHELLS,

I'd be interested in what you find. Me and my wife (still seems weird saying that as I've only been married 6 months) had a similar idea regarding doing a TEFL to help fund a trip once on the road.
Must admit bar works looks more fun but I feel less rewarding?
Good luck
simon
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  #5  
Old 29 Jun 2006
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Cool

A few points. None of them particularly encouraging I am afraid. But best to know what you're getting yourself into.

Teaching schools do not want travellers. They want you to stay a year or more in general. Two and three month contracts are around yes, but they are designed at the convenience of the school ("flexibility" it's called in UK) not the workers. Generally speaking, you need to make a longish commitment of time to the job. I am sure there are exceptions, but this is generally the case. Look at it from the school's point of view.

Fulfilling Simon? No. this is not the reason to do TEFL. You are teaching businessmen, and disinterested well-to-do teens whose fathers want them to acquire the status English-speaking acrues. It is unlikely that you will get work with either children or dedicated learners.

And yes, the pay and conditions are lousy. Enough to live in the country. But not to save and travel. If you want the experience of living abroad, and are prepared to live at a low standard then TEFL is a good option. It suits early twenty-somethings I reckon. A life of coffee and scruffy trousers.

Exception: Japan. But here you are something close to a full-time professional teacher, and have proper responsibilities. It is not really for the "give it a try" types.

China will take anyone at the moment, but, again, the pay is rubbish and you are expected to live for a year in the middle of nowhere. Is this your life-plan?

Do you like teaching? Have you ever done it? Really, it doesn't suit everyone. I find most people have a completely warped notion of what the job involved. Funny, given everyone has the experience of schooling. So talk to some teachers.

This is a very funny site, written by a TEFL teacher:

http://chasemeladies.blogspot.com/

Scroll down for his teaching entries.

Lastly, to be more positive, you live in a country with a strong currency compared to most. Your best option for money is on your doorstep.

Here's an idea. Just for spice. How about six months touring India? Fly there. Buy a bike there, and resell at the end. Monthly expenses? Upwards from 350GBP. 450 is comfortable. Total: three grand will get you a fine experience. If you fancy SE Asia instead, then make it four or five. It is a lot, but not an impossible amount to save over a year or so. Maybe you own some assets, like a house and a car? Get a smaller ones.

I'm not trying to put you off here - just share my experience as a teacher and traveller. Biking travel is great. But TEFL is suited to a particular type of life. A stationary one. If you want an in-depth experience of another place then it may be for you. But it fits poorly with the hair-in-the-wind, whereever-I-lay-my-ignitions-keys-that's-my-home life that most people have in mind for biking travel.

Hope this helps,

Simon
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Last edited by Simon Kennedy; 29 Jun 2006 at 13:54.
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  #6  
Old 30 Jun 2006
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Talking

Hi. I have been teaching English overseas for a little over three years now.
As other posters have pointed out, you can generally earn an income that is good by local standards but low by 'Western' ideals. An example: I taught for a year in Indonesia and earned about $800 US per month. The average income for an office worker there might be $150/month, so I lived quite well and still managed to save $500 per month.

However, if you want to tour around on a motorcycle, $500/ month isn't sufficient. It would take you months to save the money for the airfare to fly your motorcycle to the next destination.

"Coffee and scruffy trousers"? Ha ha - today we ran out of coffee in the office, so it's a mug of tea this morning. But my trousers are pretty scruffy-looking....
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  #7  
Old 30 Jun 2006
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Rather than taking an expensve course buy the Interchange books. They are pretty self explanatory. You could then put an ad in a local newspaper wherever you happen to be and get private sts. As was pointed out you won't make a fortune but should get enough to get by.
Good luck and if you come through Mex City send me a PM
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  #8  
Old 1 Jul 2006
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thanks

Thanks Simon for the considered reply. Certainly food for thought there and opened my 'non-teaching' eyes to a few things. (bar work it is then)

Doing a 'safe' trip round Europe first this summer - to break the wife in gently to the joys of 2 wheeled travel.

From then on it's just the point where our jobs annoy us too much and the road calls too loudly.

Cheers
simon
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  #9  
Old 1 Jul 2006
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Humph!

Oh balls!

I suppose that covers that then.
And as for filling my head with EVEN MORE travel ideas (India on the cheap), well, cheers, Simon K
ha!

No assets besides my bike, and there is no way I am getting a smaller one! (apologies mad scooter adventurers)

I have taught before, but in a different environment, but love it! Best for the brain to cover all thoughts related to an idea though, so thanks for the excellent thoughts. I agree that the teaching idea is better suited to being temporarily stationary, which was the drive behind the idea, so that's no problem. The inflexibility and 'survival' pay is not so appealing.
Good to have thoughts to explore though...

I might tuck into this zinfandel and see what else I can come up with

Thanks everyone.
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  #10  
Old 18 Oct 2006
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I know....

...that I might be a little late, but didn't see your post until today.... :{

Well, in reference to teaching on the way - you might (will??) run into problems, at least over here in the Far East! Teaching jobs are connected to at least 1-year-contracts. Second, the market is over-flooded with foreigners who want to teach, coming to (f.ex.) Japan for one year, ecperiencing the country and then getting out again as fast as possible. You would be very lucky to find someone who would be willing to hire you for just a couple of days or weeks. In addition, the hourly salary is not that fantastic - right now over here in Japan less than 20 Euros/hour. Considering your daily needs (food, a place to stay, and so on) ... I'm not sure whether that would even cover half of your expenses.

Sorry I can't give you any better information. But if you really want to try it...go for it!

Klaus
http://virtulanguage.com
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  #11  
Old 26 Dec 2007
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In many countries you can hang around universities and let it be known that you will offer private tutoring for a reasonable fee. The first rule to remember is that reasonable might only be 2 bucks an hour and even that will stretch some students budget. Don't let greed keep you from enjoying it. Figure if you are teaching in the evening for 4 hours in an economically depressed country- 8 bucks will go a long ways. You can buy your food and hotel for that much in some places and even better is get a group together for 10 bucks an hour and they will all chip in to get the 10 together. You will also be invited to their homes for dinner. Don't do this. What happens is they will splash out to make a special dinner and that could well ruin their budget for a week. If you can't make a reasonable excuse for not going, mention that you are a vegetarian and can't touch any meat or animal product. In many cities in south Italy, you can get two or three groups in an evening and if you hang around for two weeks you will have plenty of time during the day to sight see. Be honest with yourself though. If your English is only based on the fact that you are a native speaker you might not be qualified to teach it. If you can't name the 8 parts of speech and how they work: the different types and uses of adverbs, the difference between locative and motive prepositions, and so on,you probably shouldn't be teaching.
Now this might sound lame, but when I used to ride my bicycle around Europe I took my melodica, a hat, put on blue jeans and stood on a corner dancing and playing. Most times in three hours I would have enough to keep me going on the bike for another 4 or 5 days. Begging might not be your slice of life, but it is fun. I also had a pair of blue slacks, a light blue shirt, and a name tag. If there was a factory nearby I would put them on and just go to the factory and follow the workers to the cafeteria. Workers don't pay for lunch and the food isn't bad. leave, put the riding clothes back on and stroke on down the road.
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  #12  
Old 10 Jan 2008
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teaching and living abroad

I'm a teacher by trade and do the two wheel travel thing in a different way than many of the RTW-ers out there. Rather than stay on the road, I set up shop and use my teaching license as a ticket in. I get a 2 year contract and voila, a work visa, decent pay, housing, etc. This puts me in a new region in the world and then I buy my bike locally and spend holidays/saving (1 week to 2 months at a time traveling around the region. It's a great way to really learn an area get a nice grasp of language, culture, etc.
Teaching is excellent but as stated by others, your heart needs to be in it or you will drive yourself mad (or be driven mad).
If you like this idea, get a teaching license (a chunk of change and a year of schooling - can also do lots of this online now-a-days). Apply to smaller, young schools since the bigger ones require the experience and it's tough to get in. Go to a job fair for teaching, there's lots that cost but one that's free called CIS (council of international schools) and it's in london once a year. Another free huge fair is in Iowa once a year. If you have experience teaching go to either a Search Associates Fair or International School Services fair. They are a good bet if you have the experience. Once you are in with one school, you're in and moving to a new country/school is easy. Hope this helps someone.

Pete

Last edited by Poa; 10 Jan 2008 at 06:09. Reason: typo
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  #13  
Old 10 Feb 2008
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I took a TEFL course 10 years ago before coming to work in Spain.I am still here but would never teach again.
I started off giving the odd private lesson before finding work with an agency.They sent me to offices across Barcelona....normally one hour very early in the morning then another hour somewhere else at lunch time and then another hour later in the evening.I seemed to be traveling from one job to another more than actually teaching.
Eventually i took a job with a private language school which meant less traveling but more responsibility.The school directors spent more time having 3 hour lunches and long shopping trips than actually earning their salaries.I eventually had a nervous break down due to the unpaid responsibilities and extra hours i was expected to work.You will have people take advantage of you because you are a foriegner.
The job is not rewarding....it becomes very monotonous....you will be asked to teach very young children who don't want to be taught....so you become a glorified baby sitter.
I eventually won a lot of money from the school after taking them to court(only with the help of my Spanish girlfriend).
I did learn a hell of alot on the job about english grammer.......which years later made me feel quite proud after a disscusion with an arrogant Dutch man who thought he spoke better english than most English people.....i asked him to give me an example of adjective order....which he couldn't do and i could.Example:Intensifying adjective(f##king) followed by adjective(fat) followed by noun(bastard).
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  #14  
Old 10 Feb 2008
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There are some exceptions as I have mentioned before. You can get two months work in the summer or winter breaks in Korea and the pay is somewhere around 25-30,000 won per hour or 27-38 USD. This will include meals and lodging, and subtract almost nohing for taxes. On average over the past 13 years, I have earned an additional 6000 USD each year doing the camps and one winter break I managed to squeeze in two camps. The academies are crying for help during those times. You are required to have a four year degree, and sign a contract that is submitted to the Ministry of Immigration. The other part that makes this very attractive is that you can teach privates after the camp session ends (usually about 5:00 pm) and there you are only limited by your greed. Some teachers fleece the parents for 50 bucks an hour while others, including me, will settle for half that or less. Your visa would be for 90 days or 180 if Canadian and since the camps are usually 3-5 weeks, that would give you time to either do two camps, or spend the time wandering round the country.
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  #15  
Old 13 Feb 2008
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Blimmin marvellous!

That was just the thread I was after. Thank you to everyone for their, as ever, forthright opinions, and I must say, the intrigue of a TEFL course for me has quickly diminished. I didnt quite realise there were so many negative aspects...having never tried teaching (other than when I was about 7 years old playing "school" with my friends) I am not sure I am cut out for it....and to be honest I would much prefer to follow in Hindu's steps, and sing for my supper! Fabulous!

Just to complete my curiosty, if you do a TEFL course, does anyone know the qualification's period of validity, i.e could you do a course and then not teach for two or three years, and it would still be valid?

Cheers

Char
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