Teaching Abroad Advice

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Matryeshka, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. Matryeshka

    Matryeshka Well-Known Member

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    I have decided I need to make some fairly radical changes in my life as my current situation is just not working. I really miss teaching and I would love to be able to travel, so I'd like to start the process for teaching abroad next year.

    I do have some concerns about how legitimate some services are. I understand the application fee, but some are upwards of 1500, which I can save up for, but if I pay that much I want a guarantee of placement. Reviews are generally mixed so I thought I'd ask the great FSU.

    Here are some requirements/wishes on my end:
    Reliable public transportation and phone service.
    Near a city large enough to have an airport
    I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, so Northern Europe is out. I would ideally like a place with no or very little snow, but that's negotiable so long as it's not weeks without seeing the sun.
    I would prefer a small stipend w/ a furnished apt rather than a larger salary and on my own for accomodations.
    I don't have to have American style kitchens/closets/bathrooms, but I don't want to sleep on the floor either.
    No Middle East.

    I have five years teaching experience 6-12 and seven as a community college adjunct. I'm certified in 4-8 General Science, 4-12 English, 4-12 Social Studies. Special cert in World Geography and World History. Igave a Master's from LSU and the equivalent from The Youth Institute of Moscow. My language experience is French and Russian, some German, and very basic Spanish and Italian.
     
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  2. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Pink Bitch

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    I would sign up with joyjobs.com. It think it's $40 for a year, and they list almost all open jobs all over the world. They help you with your CV, if you want, and the used to set up a website for you. They also tell you where NOT to apply, which is good. I got my summer job in China through them. :)

    eta: some people swear by the UNI Interational Teacher's Fair. A friend of a friend is teaching social studies in Bulgaria right now, and that's where he found his job.
     
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  3. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

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    I would write to schools directly, and find out if you can apply directly (many you can now) or where they advertise/ how to apply. If you're interested in Beijing, let me know. All good international schools in Beijing pay salary + accommodation stipend, health insurance, moving allowance, travel allowance etc. Most put you in temporary accommodation (usually for 3 months), which you can choose to keep, or find your own during that time. I would not consider an application fee, unless it was under $50 and like PL said.
     
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  4. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Pink Bitch

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    It's not an application fee with Joyjobs. It's just a website that lists all the jobs, so you don't have to go to each school's website to see what's open. You can search by region, grade, whatever. So much faster, and I never would've found my Shanghai job on my own.
     
  5. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

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    If you've taught as an adjunct in post-secondary, try the ad jobs in the Chronicle of Higher Education or in any publication aimed at post-secondary teachers. At least in my neck of the woods, there are a number of colleges with overseas operations that are often looking for instructors to go overseas for a semester or two. You could also try identifying colleges with those sort of programs, in geographical areas that you are interested in, and contacting them directly.

    FWIW most of the programs of this sort that I know of either maintain a staff apartment, and whoever is teaching that semester stays there, or have an agreement with a local hotel or other type of long-term residence. So you wouldn't have to find your own accommodation.
     
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  6. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

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    I meant any fee. I wouldn't pay any fees at all, website, applications, job search, unless it was one or two and under $50. I'm such a cheapskate I don't think I'd pay any that didn't offer a job placement guarantee.
     
  7. jl22aries

    jl22aries Active Member

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    If you are interested in living, working and travelling Japan and/or Korea, there are many many opportunities to teach there with many different types of companies, some of which don't require a specific ESL TOEFL type certification, just a University degree. They'll sponsor your VISA and many will set you up in an apartment fully furnished, provide health insurance, they'll basically cover all your bases. PM me if you would like more information and I am happy to share with you my personal experience of teaching abroad. It was one of the most amazing adventures of my life. I have recommended it to anyone whose expressed an interest to me.
     
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  8. Matryeshka

    Matryeshka Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone have teaching experience in South America, particularly Argentina or Brazil? While I appreciate the information on China, S. Korea, and Japan, I don't know that those would be a first choice, but they definitely wouldn't be my last either. The language scares me, especially the tonal aspect and I'm completely intimidated by the idea of Japan's three different written languages.

    I don't mind paying a fee up to $100 to search, but if it's a higher fee, then I want a guarantee of at least an interview. I'll pay for convenience--I consider my time to be very valuable. I work 8.5 hours and commute anywhere between 2.5-3 hours/day for a job I loathe. I'm not going to waste more trying to find/researching schools that might or might not have an opening. If someone is willing to do the research for me, who am I to deny them a paycheck?

    overedge, I've never heard of the Chronicle of Higher Education but I'll definitely check it out :)
     
  9. allezfred

    allezfred Mince Pie Depriving Admin Staff Member

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    First of all, hiragana, katakana and kanji aren't languages. They are alphabets. ;)

    Secondly, hiragana and katakana only have about 50 characters each. You could learn each in about a week if you put your mind too it and knowing them would help a lot.

    Having said that in most major Japanese cities you can live quite comfortably not knowing or reading any Japanese whatsoever. Many English teachers I met when I lived there certainly never bothered. Also for better or worse, most Japanese people think their language is difficult too and don't really expect foreigners to learn it. If I had 100 yen for every time a Japanese person complimented me when I said "konnichiwa" to them....

    Plus it's probably the only country in the world where being obsessed about figure skating is not unusual. ;)
     
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  10. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    Hiragana and katakana are super easy. It's been 4 years since I studied Japanese for 1 year, and I still remember most of the characters.
     
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  11. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Pink Bitch

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    Matry, I think joyjobs is the website for you. I know it posts lots of South American jobs, but I never really looked at them. I was more interested in Europe and Asia.
     
  12. screech

    screech Well-Known Member

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    I actually got some interviews for jobs (and found mine) just through google searches. And between now and March is the time to be doing it. I also paid (I think) $20 to register with the website International Schools Review. Teachers who have worked with various international schools review their schools on a scale of 1-10 for a variety of criteria. It can be quite informative.

    I was registered with Search Associates. It cost a couple of hundred dollars (for 3 years of registration), but I did like receiving emails telling me of available jobs for the levels I could teach and in the locations I wanted. I also received random requests for interviews and offers from schools in other locations through them. They hold recruitment fairs all over the world every year, as well.

    I spent 2 years searching for the job I wanted, because I was being picky. I almost accepted a different job, somewhere I didn't really like, but I held off, and shortly afterwards got this one, which I'm loving. I did also deal with some douchey schools, though. One school postponed my phone interview for 3 months (without giving reasons). During the actual interview, basically informed me that the position was mine (that my info just had to be sent to HR). After about 2 weeks I emailed them to see how things were going and received a rather snarky reply. After another month I emailed again and was informed that 'they had no positions meeting my skills.'

    Through my experience, my advice is to be picky - go with what you really want, and make sure to research the schools if you can.
     
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  13. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate Active Member

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    Is it possible to teach for a summer if you are 6 units from graduating? My son is thinking about S Korea or Thailand when he graduates (Eng major) but I'd like him to go for a summer first. His idea is to take a gap year between getting his degree and working on a masters.
     
  14. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

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    Most overseas jobs that I'm aware of require a completed bachelor's degree at least. This might have something to do with the visa requirements to get the person into the country, though, rather than with being able to do the job.
     
  15. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Pink Bitch

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    Most overseas schools, at least reputable ones, want experienced teachers. Some schools require five years, most want at least two.
     
  16. Matryeshka

    Matryeshka Well-Known Member

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    I registered with Joyjobs today!! They told me I'm allll wrong--I need to look at the SCHOOL, not the COUNTRY. :drama:

    I'm still looking at country. I might like Budapest.
     
  17. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Pink Bitch

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    I totally went by country. Though I did look through all the listings. :)
     
  18. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

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    Don't give up your dream Matryeshka. I wish you all the luck in the world! :cheer2:
     
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  19. TheGirlCanSkate

    TheGirlCanSkate Active Member

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    Thanks! He has been a TA for 2 years at a high school, but not teaching on his own.
     
  20. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

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    Only if you're talking about international schools, where you need to be a qualified teacher. Local schools and/or English learning centres in China, Korea and Japan at least, take native English speakers without teaching experience or credentials. They prefer a completed degree but will almost always also take a TEFL/TESOL/CERTA certificate in lieu of a degree. When I first came, for local schools, it didn't matter that I am a 'real' teacher, I needed to get a TEFL certificate! It pissed me off, but I ended up doing a quick one online. In China now, you're supposed to have a degree and have graduated at least two years ago, and have two years post graduate experience in order to get a work visa (and foreign expert certificate), but really, it's easy enough to get around for a bigg-ish school, or one with a good reputation, especially if you have a TEFL certificate. It really depends on who (and what) you want to teach. For teaching English to Chinese, Japanese or Koreans, a TEFL certificate and being a native English speaker is enough.

    TheGirlCanSkate - there are plenty of short-term teaching jobs in Asia, and a lot of them are teaching camps (do activities in English and learning through immersion rather than actual sit-down lessons, or in addition to sit-down lessons).
     
  21. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    I know several people who have taught in Costa Rica and looooooooooooooooooooved it, but I think the advice on this site is pretty on target: http://www.delapuravida.com/2012/teaching-english-in-costa-rica-faq-where-when-how/

    Another option might be to look into teaching at Department of Defense or State Department schools overseas, or one of the other programs listed here: http://www.state.gov/m/dghr/flo/c21946.htm

    I know quite a few people who have taught in DoDDS schools and liked it very much. They got to teach in familiar ways in unfamiliar places.
     
  22. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

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    Oh, I agree with this. I know lots of people who have done this and loved it!
     
  23. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Pink Bitch

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    Angel, I was referring to International Schools. I didn't think Matry or TGCS's son wanted to teach ESL. I could be wrong, though.

    I started to apply with DoDDS, but you can't pick your location. They pick for you. For some people, that might not be an issue, but for me, it was.
     
  24. Matryeshka

    Matryeshka Well-Known Member

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    No PL, you're right, I'd prefer to teach a subject, but I'm not adverse to teaching ESL. I'm pretty flexible as to what I teach--I just can't teach math beyond 7th grade or science beyond 10th. I've worked every ability level but shine with the bookends--gifted and low achieving/at risk.

    I'm researching DoDDS schools, and for every plus, there are some serious cons. The most significant are you're in an American school surrounded by Americans, and you have to seek out non-Americans. I'm looking to be immersed in somewhere that's else. Also, DoDDS schools can kick you out for no reason given-no contract, no guarantee. I would hate to go through the process and end up in Guam for only three months.

    Plus, the more I look at intl schools in China, the better they look. I might have an in--one of my authors visited four intl schools last year, and I worked very closely on logistic issues for shipping books. They were really pleased.

    And I have an inquiry from Venezuela!!!!
     
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  25. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    It sounds as though you are already moving in a good direction, Matryeshka.
     
  26. Spareoom

    Spareoom Well-Known Member

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    My sister is 18 and is teaching English in Taiwan, through a government program that deals with an organization that we're a part of. It's fantastic experience and her living and travel costs are taken care of, and she receives a weekly stipend. All she has is a high school degree and TESOL certification, so it's definitely possible to teach in certain places abroad with minimal qualification and experience. :)
     
  27. skategal

    skategal Bunny slave

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    For anyone looking to teach English, I know that learning english is very big in Thailand right now and the gov't is requiring that it be taught in secondary schools there so all kids will have english as their second language.

    Beautiful country....beautiful people...and you can live quite well on minimal income. Have no idea of the requirements but sounds good to me.
     
  28. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    If you have TESOL/TOEFL certification, you can go to all kinds of places. I know people who have taught in many countries.

    That's true; you are on an American base teaching American kids.

    But my friends have made the most of their time--and they generally end up with more free time teaching at those schools than they do if they teach at local schools, if only because the job itself is usually very much what they have been used to.
     
  29. Matryeshka

    Matryeshka Well-Known Member

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    I'm definitely applying for everything I can. :lol: My mom and several of my friends are doing "but why..." thing so it's nice to have good advice and support here. My best friend though is all for it and believes she should have a say in where I go. :)

    I'm not sure DoDDS will take me as my teaching certificate has lapsed and I've since learned due to my teaching mostly in charter schools, I have things missing where the schools did not turn in the paperwork properly. Since Louisiana charter schools tend to be fly-by-night, in one year, out the next operations, I have no recourse of action to prove I taught there. :angry:

    It just occurred to me to with the DoDDS should I get accepted, it would be a good dip-your-toe-in the waters of international teaching. I could be American when I needed to be and would have access--I think in most places--to American goods and services. On the other hand, I can also see that as being an excuse to not go out and explore. I don't think I'd do that, but you never know.
     
  30. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I

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    If you do DoDDS and then find that you become American-centric, you'll at least have built your resume teaching abroad, and then you can get your next job through another type of program. Chances are you'll develop connections no matter which route you take.