This could be the most time and energy consuming, stressful part of the entire process. Or it could be one of the most exciting, if you remember that you will find work eventually. Then you can appreciate the plethora of available job opportunities. How many job fields are booming like this one is?
If you’ve never taught English abroad before, it’s a good idea to go through a recruiting company. They are (usually) professional and have been in the business for many years, some of them even as teachers.
You will need to apply through their website with a resume. They will contact you shortly after and conduct a phone interview to get a better idea of what kind of job you’re looking for. Then they will start sending you job descriptions that suit your profile. You can choose the ones you like, then you will have an interview over the phone or Skype with the school, and you will inform your recruiter whether or not you want the job. Once you’ve accepted the job, they will then help you with the proceeding steps, especially your visa.
Remember: they are making money off you so it’s in their interest that you accept your job offer, but don’t feel pressured!
Here are some recruiting companies, the top few being the most reputable and some being country specific:
Once you have your certification you can start to seriously search for a job. I’m going to make some brief generalizations about different parts of the world and offer some outside sources for more detailed information.
1) Europe – Probably a highly desired destination but with a serious restriction – visas! Most European countries are very reluctant to hire non EU citizens. But as they say, where there’s a will there’s a way! Of course, Western Europe = higher salaries but higher living costs and Eastern Europe = lower salaries but lower living costs.
2) Asia – A popular starting point for most teachers, Asia is a vast continent with countless job opportunities. The requirements start very low and the wages are quite reasonable in comparison to living costs. Jobs in Southeast Asia pay significantly less but again, lower living costs.
Seoul, South Korea
3) Middle East – An emerging destination, especially the Gulf countries. Lots of money to be made here tax free, but the requirements are much higher and the contracts are longer.
4) Latin America – The jobs don’t pay that well but that’s not what usually attracts teachers to this part of the world. Jobs are often found upon arrival.
5) Africa – Maybe the most undeveloped teaching location and likely attracting the adventurous type. Many volunteer opportunities.
Although there may still some countries that will hire you without a teacher certification, it’s in your best interest to get certified anyway. Why? You will learn a lot from the course, you will have access to more job listings, you should get a better idea of what to expect at your future job, and finally, you probably don’t want to work for a company that is desperate to hire anyone regardless of her/his credentials.
There are many kinds of certifications and they differ in length of study, price and location. Courses can be completed online or in a classroom. Some jobs specifically require a ‘CELTA or equivalent’ certification. These courses are more challenging and expensive but are the most reputable. CELTA is the most sought after and is offered through Cambridge University. The next best is probably CertTESOL offered through Trinity College London, and the third is SIT TESOL.
If you’re not willing or able to fork out the extra dollars for the above mentioned courses, here is a solid database for international and online TEFL courses. Also, Groupon sometimes has deals on online courses. Warning: A TEFL equivalent is a minimum 100 hour in class course with a minimum of 6 hours of practicum. Not sure which one to choose? Read some reviews from other teachers!
However, if you already know where you want to teach then do a quick search for jobs there and see what certifications are required. It could save you a lot of time and money.
If I had to define what a ‘Personal Learning Network’ is, I would keep it simple and broad:
n. – the entire collection of people with whom you engage and exchange information, usually online.
Personal Learning Networks, or PLNs, have been around forever. Originally, they were your family and friends, maybe other educators you worked with, but as the internet and web 2.0 tools have become nearly ubiquitous, PLNs can include tons of different communities – social networking sites like Facebook, blogs, Twitter, wikis, social bookmarking tools, LinkedIn, and so many more. Basically, anyone that you interact with is apart of your PLN, whether they are social contacts, professional peers, or experts in their field. Most of the ‘learning’ takes place on-line now, because it is simple to find and connect with others with similar interests from around the world.
A personal learning network is indispensable for a true life-long learner. No one person can keep up with the rush of information in her/his area of interest, but a good PLN can filter the information and keep one alert of important trends and developments.
PLNs have always been important…social media only makes it easier to create, manage and maintain the network!
I wrote some posts about how a good PLN on social media enabled me to propose and create courses in social media marketing at my university before the usual aids – other profs syllabi or a textbook – were available.
Even the STORY of how this PLN, based in Twitter and LinkedIn, has been helpful to my career:
Mark Schaefer and the SMCKnox invited me to SoSlam to tell the story… and then posted a video on YouTube that has collected over 400 views,
There is so much information on the internet so where do I start? Luckily for this assignment there were some specific requirements. We have to use:
1) A social network platform – Facebook, Twitter, Google+ (yeah, right!). There’s way more out there than I thought! I chose Twitter.
2) A news aggregator – This was a new concept to me and I went with Feedly. I really like it so far and it even inspired me to add an extra research question. There are many lists of the ‘best’ ones, and here’s one of those lists.
3) A blog – Plenty to choose from but I’ve used WordPress before and find it pretty user friendly. Here are some opinions of the best sites to use.
4) A social bookmarking component – Again a new concept for me, I went with Delicious, mostly because I liked the name! I don’t fully see the value of this yet, maybe I have to play around with it more. There’s a whole website dedicated to the best ones.