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fremen_warrior's avatar

Any TEFLutherites aboard?

Asked by fremen_warrior (5505points) July 31st, 2012

I am seriously considering doing the CELTA to be able to TEFL – I’ve got a BA in Linguistics and want to spend a good chunk of my life travelling, so it seems like a logical next step. I was wondering if any of you Jellies have any experience in this line of work and would like to perhaps share your stories, or some pointers with a prospective English teacher slash vagabond. “Thanks in advance” as we Poles like to say :-)


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11 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I taught English as a foreign/second language for a number of years overseas and loved it. It’s a great way to live abroad and really get to know a country and its people. I highly recommend it to all who consider it.

I taught in Japan and France. I got some great teaching experience and made decent money. I also got to learn much more about the countries than the average tourist does.

_Whitetigress's avatar

My friend has done the Japan route. She taught there for about 2 years. She said she loved it. Of course it is a different culture in itself in Japan. A lot of U.S. military kids and such. She said she realizes how much cleaner and stricter the culture is in Japan when compared to the States as it pertains to cleanliness, and studies are taken more seriously over there. So these kids will be extremely tentative to your teaching.

gailcalled's avatar


Probably not “tentative” but attentive”?

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
fremen_warrior's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake do you think that a non-native speaker of English, such as myself, armed with their CELTA certificate might have a more difficult time finding a job, or is that irrelevant? Btw., did you speak French or Japanese at the time you taught there? Do you still teach?

geeky_mama's avatar

Like @Hawaii_Jake I also taught English abroad for a number of years. I taught in Japan.
I spoke Japanese, but never in the presence of my students because my school required an English-immersion style learning experience. So, I only spoke Japanese during staff meetings or with my colleagues (all of whom were Japanese citizens).

In my experience, the private companies and Government organizations that were reputable and were seeking English language instructors did not require certification for TEFL or TESL teachers – but they did recruit only native speakers. The requirements were a university degree (BA/BS) and native language English speaker.

If you are interested in teaching languages abroad and English is not your first language there are other languages that are sought by programs such as those sponsored by the Japanese Ministry of Education (Monbusho). Moreover, the MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology in Japan) offers scholarships to international students who wish to study at Japanese universities as research students under the Japanese Government. Info on the (MEXT) Scholarship Program here.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@fremen_warrior : In my experience, Asian countries look for native speakers of a language. It will be a consideration on their part, and something for you to be aware of.

I learned Japanese while I was there to a high level of fluency. I learned French later.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Those who taught in Asia or anywhere, were the hours extremely long and was there much correcting to do at home(essays, tests etc)? Did you get back home late at night usually?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@ZEPHYRA : I taught mostly conversational English. In those classes, there was no writing involved. I did teach one class that had a lot of writing, but I was given time the day before to prepare and look at the assignments turned in the previous week. I didn’t have to take work home with me. This situation was unique, and I was very lucky.

geeky_mama's avatar

@ZEPHYRA – yes, the hours were long. Days at work started around 10am and ended at 10pm. Most students needed to come after their school or work hours – so hours did tend to be a bit late.
I did a lot of prep work to prepare materials and handouts – but not much grading after classes. I did the vast majority of my prep work during my (12 hour) working day – not from home. Also, at work I had a fair amount of required paper work to complete (attendance, notes on student progress, etc.) and then edited text books and learning materials for the publishing arm of our business on top of all that.

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