Updated on June 23, 2015
Chapter 4: TEFL Survival
Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) is not a bad way to survive in the third world,considering local wages, local expectations of life quality and local work conditions, TEFL isn’t a bad alternative.
However, if your plan is to stay and live in another country, at some point you may start to crave a more substantial form of employment. Something stable, regular and a little more lucrative. Of course all that depends upon your career goals, training and work inclinations. If you are a real teacher back in your native country then there are some really good opportunities abroad.
Certified teachers from back home have excellent opportunities in the various international and bilingual schools, these prestigious schools catering to the children of diplomats and the more affluent pay really well and are sure to be interested in a certified teacher. I have also known EFL teachers who made the switch to these international schools without certification, the regular hours and good pay can be a very good situation for a teacher.
I applied to one school like that in Santo Domingo, at the urging of friends I applied online to the Carol Morgan School, never heard from them and didn’t pursue it. I don’t think I’m a very good fit for those schools, I don’t really enjoy teaching children I tend to be to lax until I snap and then come down too hard, which lately I haven’t even bothered to do, and they they just take over. I don’t like following set curriculum and I don’t like to be monitored too closely by the administration, all necessary components of these type schools.
Mostly I see teaching as a way of networking with the hope of connecting to future opportunities. I have seen teachers use some connections with their high school students but that might take years for the students to grow into their parents companies and remember their old teacher. For me although these school are a very good teaching opportunity they are also a dead end if teaching isn’t your calling.
After four years of teaching I have realized that it’s not the thing I want to be doing for the rest of my work life. It’s something I can do to survive, but not my goal. After attempting the English Institute route in Uruguay, and failing, I turned to online teaching as a possible survival method.
My online teaching experience, in one paragraph: I scoured the internet, communicated with online teachers, applied to twenty companies, signed up with two, taught some students in Japan, made about three hundred dollars over the course of two months. I think that online teaching might be a good way to earn a living if your lifestyle fits, and your luck prevails. I have always heard of the great opportunities available online. For me it was boring and another dead end. The relationships formed weren’t going to help me in this country. The limitations of online communication, where you need to be focused on talking and listening can be very tiring and not that pleasant. In the end I decided to return to teaching at companies, even with the travel time, two hours each way, it’ll be a better fit for me.