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WHICH COURSE?
Q.
How can I decide which is the right Masters course for me? There are so many on the market and there is no 'star' system for course providers.

A.
Start with the most important factor in the whole process - you! Things you might consider are: your particular areas of interest; employment opportunities for those areas; do you have time and/or financial constraints?; do you prefer face to face or distance tuition? Probe beyond the course prospectus. Visit the campus. Speak with the course director. Check on reading lists, staff specialisations, course delivery, deadlines and methodology and, if possible, speak to others who have done the course.


OVER QUALIFIED?
Q.
I have a Masters degree in linguistics and over 20 years teaching experience both at secondary and tertiary levels. Yet all my recent job applications to language schools in Europe and Japan have been turned down. They say they are only looking for a first degree and no experience is necessary. Is this the trend now and, if so, am I over qualified?

A.
There are certainly still posts around which demand your qualifications and experience. However, as in every profession, there are also opportunities for new entrants which offer concomitant remuneration.


FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
Q.
I would really like to do a TEFL course but I would require financial assistance. Can you put me in touch with likely sources?

A.
Very few training organisations offer assisted places. Teaching charities may be willing to train you, free of charge, if you otherwise match their recruitment requirements.


CONTINUING DEVELOPMENT
Q.
I have just finished a TEFL course and am about to start my first job. The course was a real blast and I'm afraid of becoming stale when left to my own devices. What can I do to ensure that I continue to develop professionally?

A.
Your first teaching job is probably one of the most challenging you'll ever have. There is a big difference between teaching 6 to 8 hours teaching practice on a pre-entry course and planning for and delivering 20 to 25 hours per week. Therefore, it would be difficult for any new teacher not to be on a steep learning curve. There are, of course, other things you can do, e.g. sharing and participating in all formal and informal teacher development opportunities in your new job; joining a professional association; joining some of the ELT e.groups; scouring the Net for helpful ELT sites etc.


What sort of people will I be teaching?
Q.
I've just finished an introductory course and am rather terrified of the prospect of teaching for the first time. What sort of people will I be teaching? Will they be professionals, students, housewives?

A.
This really is a question for your prospective employer who should be able to provide you with a typical student profile or profiles. However, I'm sure your training will have stressed the importance of ascertaining the needs (individual and group) of your learners, whoever they may be, and to deliver to those needs as far as possible. If you can do that, your students should appreciate and value your teaching whatever their age, nationality, culture or (relative) status.


TEFL fall back position
Q.
I'm doing a PhD in Biochemistry at a UK university and I intend to leave the UK with my French girlfriend when we finish our studies. I would like to know whether it would be possible/appropriate to do a TEFL course as a 'fall back' option, so that if one or neither of us is able to obtain a postdoctoral position there would still be the option of teaching english. Also, would it be possible to combine the TEFL qualification with a life sciences PhD?

A.
I am sure it would be possible to do a TEFL course as there are many on offer both in the UK and elsewhere. Whether it is appropriate rather depends on whether or not you have an interest in teaching English as a foreign/second/other language other than just the need for alternative employment. In fairness to your prospective students, employer/s and yourself, it is a good idea to research this parallel career path before making a decision.


Teaching & retirement
Q.
I would very much appreciate your advice.I am 47 years old and shortly retiring early from the civil service. I do not have a degree but I am considering enrolling on a one month CELTA course. I live in Devon (Totnes), UK and eventually would like to divide my time between here and Spain. What are the realistic prospects of employment both locally and in Spain in these circumstances?

A.
Before investing in any career change it can be worthwhile finding out about and experiencing as much of the prospective profession as possible. You are probably better placed than most to find out about the local TEFL market and, in doing so, you may be able to speak to existing teachers and perhaps even observe a class or two. With regard to Spain. It is possible for newly qualified teachers to obtain a teaching position, depending on the place and the market. However, they have set academic years and term times which would probably require you to spend from at least October to June, in Spain.


Language Panic
Q.
I have just accepted a teaching job in Greece but I am now in a panic as I can't speak a word of Greek. Will this be real drawback?

A.
I am sure there are many expatriate workers in Greece in the same position and you may be more fortunate than some by being able to speak an, if not the, international language. As an English-speaker, I am sure you will be able to survive in Greece without Greek but making the effort to learn the host language when you are there should certainly enhance your stay and is an invaluable experience for any teacher of language.


Travel to Post
Q.
Do you have any information on where to get cheap flights to the Middle East? My prospective employer will pay my fare but has set a very strict budget and will only pay on arrival.

A.
You don't mention your destination, nor your point of departure, but it can be difficult to find cheap flights to the richer states. It is sometimes possible to get cheap deals by travelling via other (less rich) countries in the region. A good travel agent and the internet search engines should be able to provide you with the specifics.


Resources
Q.
I am about to leave for Spain where I will be teaching English to young children 'en famille'. They live in a rather remote mountain area in the north and I am wondering what resources I should take with me in the way of text books etc. I should mention that they do have computers and internet access.

A.
The latter could be your saviour. Seriously, there are so many excellent sites for young learners which a good search engine will throw up immediately, that you should never be stuck. You would presumably also be able to order material from the many online ELT bookshops . It is worth sussing these out before you leave and perhaps buying some core materials which suit their needs.


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Search the Career Knowledge Base for keywords:

Not find what your looking for? Submit a career-related question

Return to Knowledge Base




British Council CELTA Course, Sri Lanka


Via Lingua - Train to teach English as a Foreign Language - Budapest, Crete, Florence, Istanbul, Mexico, Porto, St. Petersburg & Sardinia..[CLICK!]


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