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Re: Should I teach English?

Posted By: nomad soul
Date: Thursday, 9 January 2014, at 1:45 p.m.

In Response To: Should I teach English? (Alex)

Hello. This is more of a question regarding the actual activity of teaching abroad rather than specific certificates and methods and such.

About 10 years ago I started to self-learn Russian. I did that for about a year and stopped. Now about a year ago I spent a month in Eastern Europe bouncing around various cities in Poland and Ukraine. There only about 35% of people speak any English. Less in Ukraine. My slim 1 year of self study of Slavic languages greatly helped me navigate and operate in those countries.

I really want to go back for an indefinite period of time. While in Ukraine, I met an American guy who teaches English and he recommended this website. Although my main goal is to learn a Slavic language, I can't think of any better way to stay there and not drain my bank account than to have a job. A TEFL job seems suitable since I am a native American English speaker (with a very clear accent). While I was in Poland and Ukraine I had the opportunity to casually correct the speech of the people I met (they asked me to, I'm not that rude).

I have a university degree in mechanical engineering and am a few years out of school. I do not have a job at this time and currently live with my over-controlling parents. So of course I am desperate to eject from that situation.

I am confident in my ability to correct spoken and written sentences, along with pronunciation. But I am not very confident in the exacting rules and terminology of English. Of course in school I studied prepositions, adverbs, proper nouns, and other elementary grammar. I can correct people, and give a casual elementary explanation, but I can't point to a specific grammar rule.

I have researched various certificates and one that stands out the CELTA, which has a local teaching center in my city. There are also TEFL course at local colleges that are spread out over a semester instead of jam packed in 4 weeks. I don't know which one I should take. The local university courses are $1000 less and spread out. I hear the CELTA course is akin to the Navy SEALS 'Hell Week' in terms of intensiveness, which I think is extremely detrimental to retaining knowledge. But are local university courses widely accredited?

I ultimate goal is to learn a Slavic language and become familiar with the culture. In Poland, the kids I partied with considered me an honorary native Pole due to my heritage lol. Since that is my ultimate goal, I am not sure if teaching English is for me, especially plopping down $2500 on an intensive class with no refunds upon failure.

I know that there are less intense courses, but they may less accepted too. What should I do? The CELTA course in my city is 4 or 5 months away and the local university's TEFL courses are in less than a week! I do think I would enjoy teaching, but I am not super passionate about it. I don't know if a career in it is for me though. I overhear tons of people talking about how their brother or sister are doing it, not sure what qualifications they have, but they don't seem to have a problem.

* * * * * * * * * * *

There's a thread on the Cafe's Poland jobs discussion forum, "Looking for Advice (potential ESL teacher)," you should take a look at. (You can also put that thread title in as an Internet search to access the forum.) In fact, the Poland forum can give you an idea about what it's like to teach there.

But if you're not sure you'd even like teaching, consider volunteering for a couple of months at one of your local, nonprofit refugee/ESL literacy organizations. There are usually in-class tutor or classroom assistant opportunities in which volunteers not only provide in-class assistance but more importantly, also receive supervision and mentoring under a seasoned teacher. It won't suffice as TEFL training, but volunteer teaching is how some of us tested the water before deciding whether TEFL would be a rewarding career choice. If it turns out to be something you enjoy, then look into getting a CELTA or other valid, equivalent TEFL cert. But frankly, if learning a Slavic language is your "ultimate" goal, then instead of teaching, enroll in a language course---either in your home country or abroad---for your target language.

Messages In This Thread

Should I teach English?
Alex -- Tuesday, 7 January 2014, at 11:43 a.m.
Re: Should I teach English?
Tim -- Wednesday, 8 January 2014, at 11:59 a.m.
Re: Should I teach English?
nomad soul -- Thursday, 9 January 2014, at 1:45 p.m.

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