Teaching English for the Long Term – Is it Really Worth It?

Teaching English for the Long Term – Is it Really Worth It?
easyrider Mar 15, 2013 11:11


I’ve been in this gig for several years now and I can say it’s a pretty fun job most of the time. I have a pretty relaxed schedule, live in a pretty chilled out city and get a decent enough salary to live comfortably and make some considerable savings for potential travelling or whatever. It’s not such a bad life.


In our school we have a DOS (Director of Studies), a guy from the UK who basically manages and trains teachers and deals with anything on the academic side of things from course design to events organizing. He’s been in the game just over 15 years, though has been a DOS (in other parts of China) for about 11 or 12 of those years. This says two things to me about TEFL. 1) There are many opportunities to advance to management within a relatively short space of time, and 2) Beyond DOS, there isn’t much higher you can go unless you want to start your own school.


My DOS has got all the badges: like me he is TEFL certified but went on to do his CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) and then DELTA (Diploma in…you get the idea). Aside from a masters or a Phd, it seems to me that these qualifications are about as high as you get in TEFL. From that, my DOS is able to be an IELTS examiner across the world, manage school across the world, and generally be a bit of a TEFL badass. It took him a few years to get this far, though what else is one the horizon after that? Sure, he’s on a good salary (for China) but what about when you want to start thinking about making more money? It also seems that when we go home (and face it, 90% percent of us always do in the end) TEFL experience may not be too useful on your CV if you’re looking for a job.


Of course, I’ve met exceptions; those who have made great careers for themselves back home based on their TEFL credentials. One of my friends is teaching English to international students at a university in the states. Lucky him I say! I’ve heard generally though the requirement for TEFL teachers abroad is pretty small, and the market is already saturated with people who already have better qualifications and experience than me. So what to do? Should I continue my relatively stress-free life here in China and gradually build up my CV as a TEFL expert or try new pastures? I do eventually plan to go home and am a bit worried regarding the job situation generally, let alone finding a job with my TEFL-full CV.   



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