Author Topic: Careers in TESOL  (Read 6458 times)

Rubyist

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Careers in TESOL
« on: December 07, 2015, 07:13:05 PM »
Wondering if anybody here has worked in TESOL, either short or long-term.

I've taught ESL for the past 4 years, since I graduated from college. I've worked exclusively at for-profit language schools in the US. I really enjoy the work, interacting with my students, and the easy hours, but I'm getting less satisfied with the low pay. So, it's time to explore my options.

I'm really curious to hear from anyone with experience in this field, especially within the US. Did you pursue a Master's degree in TESOL? Have you taught in a university or community college? Did you go into school management, or transition into a better-paying field?

Tom Bri

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2015, 07:49:36 PM »
Did it in Japan for 15 years. Not great, not bad. Easy work, but modest pay with limited upside unless you get into management. With a masters you can do university gigs which will pay more. It has been a while, but I think I never made more than about $40K, working for for-profit schools.

BigBangWeary

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2015, 02:22:03 AM »
Can't comment on the US situation, but without getting into specifics, I can attest to the possibility of earning $100,000 + USD a year tax free in the field plus perks, but you would need a Masters, and would have needed to get to the Gulf before the latest oil downturn.

I am somewhat skeptical as to whether those days will ever be back. It used to be harder to get people to move to that region, but with the global society we live in, and with the massive increase in English speakers for lower paying countries, you might have a hard time replicating this. There are some decent option in Japan, and far less attractive options in Korea, but from there the salaries really do drop. Too many young people with liberal arts degrees looking for adventure.

If you do look at the Gulf option, ignore all forums and job posts when it comes to 'what is possible'. The great jobs do exist but they come through networking, having good credentials, and being strategic. Sometimes you need to take a lower paying position just to get boots on the ground.

The best places tend to be satellite-universities from Western countries. They tend to last 5 years max before pulling out. People who get in early to those, and then jump to the next start-up with their 'expert knowledge' have been able to do very well.

But with sub $40 oil, have a backup career plan!

Rubyist

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2015, 09:54:21 PM »
Thank you both for your responses. Tom Bri, you basically summed up my impression of the industry. $40k sounds pretty good to me right now in comparison to what I'm making!

BigBangWeary--pretty sure working in the Gulf is not for me, so it's kind of a relief to hear that you think the glory days are over! Teaching Arab students here in the US is exciting enough for me.

May I ask what you're both doing now?

ragesinggoddess

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2015, 07:34:02 AM »
I have been working as an ESL teacher for several years, on and off. A lot of the nonprofits around me pay pretty well ($26+/hr with benefits) but the work is often seasonal. I've just gotten my certificate to teach here in MA which will start me at $42K if I find a job, and there do seem to be a lot of them. Teacher pay tops out at $70K and I will probably have to get a Masters at some point, but teaching in public schools is more stable and comes with great benefits.

I would put your resume on Craigslist as an ESL teacher/tutor--I've gotten some business that way.

(Love your username by the way!)

FLBiker

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2015, 08:04:27 AM »
This has been my career:

1999-2004: Taught in Taiwan for 5 years, making ~$24 an hour under the table, plus ~$15 an hour for my visa job (jobs w/ visa pay less).  Worked ~25 hours per week.
2004-2006: MA @ University of Hawaii, taught 1/2 time for tuition waiver and stipend.
2007: Taught in China.  Made very little money (~$750 per month) but accommodation was provided and non-big city China is very cheap.  I saved ~$5K, even after travelling for 2 months.
2008-present: taught / administered at US University.  Started at $38K, now at $75K.  I was "lucky" in the sense that my language school went through a tremendous period of growth / upheaval (250 students to 1200 students) during my time here, so new admin roles became available.  Being a full-time administrator pays better than teaching, but I get less time off (4 weeks a year, plus another couple weeks in university holidays).  That said, it's easier for me to take vacation time during semesters than my wife (who is a teacher).  Full-time, 12-month teachers make $45-50K per year (w/ good benefits), 9-month make $33K-38K. Adjuncts make ~$45-50 per contact hour -- a full-time load is 18 hours per week, for ~44 weeks a year (if 12-month).

All that being said, we pay better than other schools in our area.

Personally, I've been very happy with it as a career.  It enabled me to spend my 20s living in interesting places, and now I've got a stable, well paying (by my standards), university job.  Based on colleagues in other non-STEM fields, finding a university job w/ benefits nowadays is not so easy, and I love working at a university.  As a state university, we get great benefits, and I love the library.  Many universities are adding bridge programs / trying to boost international student enrollment, so I feel fortunate to be in an area that is growing -- unlike creative writing / English lit (my undergrad degree).

If you have other questions, just shoot.

Tom Bri

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2015, 05:12:28 PM »
Right now in insurance, just graduated from nursing school so applying for RN jobs. I liked teaching well enough, lots of perks, especially as a bachelor it fits into your free lifestyle. I got bored with it though, and stayed in too long. Perhaps if I remained a bachelor, and had moved around more I would have stayed in.

MVal

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2015, 11:39:29 AM »
Can't comment on the US situation, but without getting into specifics, I can attest to the possibility of earning $100,000 + USD a year tax free in the field plus perks, but you would need a Masters, and would have needed to get to the Gulf before the latest oil downturn.

I am somewhat skeptical as to whether those days will ever be back. It used to be harder to get people to move to that region, but with the global society we live in, and with the massive increase in English speakers for lower paying countries, you might have a hard time replicating this. There are some decent option in Japan, and far less attractive options in Korea, but from there the salaries really do drop. Too many young people with liberal arts degrees looking for adventure.

If you do look at the Gulf option, ignore all forums and job posts when it comes to 'what is possible'. The great jobs do exist but they come through networking, having good credentials, and being strategic. Sometimes you need to take a lower paying position just to get boots on the ground.

The best places tend to be satellite-universities from Western countries. They tend to last 5 years max before pulling out. People who get in early to those, and then jump to the next start-up with their 'expert knowledge' have been able to do very well.

But with sub $40 oil, have a backup career plan!

I thought Korea was the highest paying country in Asia? Or well, when you put pay against cost of living, I've always read that Korea is the best option for savers. I've been curious about doing this for a while, looking to change up my life from being an admin assistant for the last 7 years and maybe put my dusty English degree to work. Pay-wise, it would be a lateral move for me at this time to teach in Korea, but you know, liberal arts adventure...

MVal

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2015, 11:40:30 AM »
Wondering if anybody here has worked in TESOL, either short or long-term.

I've taught ESL for the past 4 years, since I graduated from college. I've worked exclusively at for-profit language schools in the US. I really enjoy the work, interacting with my students, and the easy hours, but I'm getting less satisfied with the low pay. So, it's time to explore my options.

I'm really curious to hear from anyone with experience in this field, especially within the US. Did you pursue a Master's degree in TESOL? Have you taught in a university or community college? Did you go into school management, or transition into a better-paying field?

How did you get started in ESL? Did you get your training online? I would like to get started in this, even as just a side job.

Tom Bri

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2015, 06:45:27 PM »
http://hub.me/a7kYf
Here is an article I wrote about job hunting in Japan. It is about ten years out of date, so the numbers are probably wrong, but it might be helpful.

Rubyist

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2015, 10:38:11 PM »
How did you get started in ESL? Did you get your training online? I would like to get started in this, even as just a side job.

In order to get a job, you need a Bachelor's degree and either teaching experience or a certificate in TESOL.

I got a CELTA, which if the most prestigious entry-level certificate. I did a four-week intensive program. They also have a part-time equivalent that takes longer. Over the course of the program you get about 6 hours of observed teaching practice. I don't think the CELTA is offered online, although other certificates are. I believe the CELTA will give you a better chance of getting hired without any experience in comparison to other certificates.

After getting my CELTA I got my first job at a language school in NYC, first as a sub, then I got my own class. After four years I can say that I really enjoy teaching itself and feel proud of myself for my ability to help students learn. As a job it has its downsides, though; the biggest one being that my pay hasn't increased substantially since I started working.

Rubyist

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2015, 10:51:39 PM »
If you have other questions, just shoot.

Thanks for sharing--your info is very helpful to me.

I'm trying to decide whether getting a MA in TESOL would be a good move financially. From your description, it sounds like it could allow me to earn a lot more than I am now, provided I can actually find a job after graduation. Based on your experience, do you think grad school would be a good investment?

MEER

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2015, 01:49:23 AM »
I've been teaching ESL for over 20 years in the U.S., Japan, and the Gulf. I started at a language school and then taught immigrants. Since I got my Master's degree, I've been working in universities, teaching both ESL and composition. I've done some administrative work as well. In the Gulf I've chosen to work in places that have paid less than other institutions (still more than I'd get back home) but have been much better jobs. I have loved every one of my jobs, but I've also been selective. Other bonuses: great vacation time and if you live overseas, free accommodation and utilities.

Penelope Vandergast

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2015, 08:12:50 PM »
I think you're already figuring out that teaching ESL is not a long-term career plan in the U.S. unless you teach children in the public school system.

I'm just going to rant here a minute for anyone reading this who might be thinking "Hey, ESL teaching sounds like a fun job!" When teaching adults in the U.S., almost all jobs are part-time, with no or very few benefits. The pay is about $12-$20/hour, whether or not you have a master's degree. Classes go for a few months and stop. You will not get paid during these breaks. It is unlikely that you will get sick time or paid time off. You might even be paid as an independent contractor, meaning that you won't even have taxes paid by your employer.

Most jobs are at for-profit schools (that charge international students a hefty fee for classes, of which the instructor sees little). Many do not pay for prep time, only teaching time.

You will get paid the same whether you are fresh out of school or have been a teacher for 20 years. Wages have not risen in years. Nonprofits, where low-wage immigrants students take classes for free or low cost, are nicer places to work, but pay the same or less as the for-profits.

You will be lumping together multiple PT jobs, in different parts of town, to make a paltry annual salary. You will have very little say in when and where you teach, or how you teach in many cases. The OP mentioned the erratic schedule. One school will have classes, say, from 10 am to 1 pm, 3 to 5 days a week, and another will have them from 9 to 12, making it impossible to work at both places. Or you will be working from say 9-12 and then from 4 to 9pm on Mon-Thurs, and then 12-4 on Saturday and Sunday -- not ideal for most people.

You will NOT be working 8 hour days from 9-5, 40 hours a week. You might be lucky to get 20 or 25 hours. And that is all classroom teaching, which is extremely energy-intensive -- I am not sure anyone could take active classroom teaching for 40 hours a week anyway. Did I mention that you won't get paid for prep time, or if you do it will be for maybe 1 or 2 hours a week?

TESOL certification usually costs a couple of thousand dollars, or more. It will take you months of PT work at $15/hour to get that back.

Adult ESL teaching certainly isn't a career compatible with supporting a family, and is barely adequate to support yourself. Again, overseas this may be different, but in the U.S. -- forget it. I consider adult ESL teaching to be rather a scam, on many levels, and a situation akin to adjunct English teaching in colleges. The students pay a fortune, the teachers make next to nothing, and the "school" (that is, the company) gets all the money.

Back to actually addressing the OP. I don't know enough about differences with a master's degree re getting jobs, but if you can somehow get into non-adjunct college teaching, say at a community college, that might work (though the "real" professor jobs will require a PhD in linguistics or rhetoric or something like that). Getting certified to teach in the public schools might be your best bet, assuming that you like kids -- and you don't need a master's for that.

« Last Edit: December 14, 2015, 08:20:45 PM by Penelope Vandergast »

FLBiker

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2016, 01:47:33 PM »
I think you're already figuring out that teaching ESL is not a long-term career plan in the U.S. unless you teach children in the public school system.

I'm just going to rant here a minute for anyone reading this who might be thinking "Hey, ESL teaching sounds like a fun job!" When teaching adults in the U.S., almost all jobs are part-time, with no or very few benefits. The pay is about $12-$20/hour, whether or not you have a master's degree.

This has not been my experience.  If you have an MA, there are absolutely opportunities in the US.  At my university (for example) we have >20 full-time faculty members w/ benefits all with MA degrees.  And this isn't counting administrators.  We pay $40-$50 per teaching hour (18 hours per week).  I'm sure it varies geographically, but there are definitely full-time w/ benefit jobs available to MA degree holders in the US.  When I moved back, I was offered 3 full-time jobs at US universities (one in Texas, one in Arkansas and one in FL).  Admittedly, though, the pay at two of them wasn't great.

US universities are going crazy now trying to recruit international students.  We've been hiring like mad as we've grown from 300-1200 ESL students over the last 5 years.

lbmustache

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2016, 02:29:23 PM »
I think you're already figuring out that teaching ESL is not a long-term career plan in the U.S. unless you teach children in the public school system.

I'm just going to rant here a minute for anyone reading this who might be thinking "Hey, ESL teaching sounds like a fun job!" When teaching adults in the U.S., almost all jobs are part-time, with no or very few benefits. The pay is about $12-$20/hour, whether or not you have a master's degree. Classes go for a few months and stop. You will not get paid during these breaks. It is unlikely that you will get sick time or paid time off. You might even be paid as an independent contractor, meaning that you won't even have taxes paid by your employer.

Most jobs are at for-profit schools (that charge international students a hefty fee for classes, of which the instructor sees little). Many do not pay for prep time, only teaching time.

You will get paid the same whether you are fresh out of school or have been a teacher for 20 years. Wages have not risen in years. Nonprofits, where low-wage immigrants students take classes for free or low cost, are nicer places to work, but pay the same or less as the for-profits.

You will be lumping together multiple PT jobs, in different parts of town, to make a paltry annual salary. You will have very little say in when and where you teach, or how you teach in many cases. The OP mentioned the erratic schedule. One school will have classes, say, from 10 am to 1 pm, 3 to 5 days a week, and another will have them from 9 to 12, making it impossible to work at both places. Or you will be working from say 9-12 and then from 4 to 9pm on Mon-Thurs, and then 12-4 on Saturday and Sunday -- not ideal for most people.

You will NOT be working 8 hour days from 9-5, 40 hours a week. You might be lucky to get 20 or 25 hours. And that is all classroom teaching, which is extremely energy-intensive -- I am not sure anyone could take active classroom teaching for 40 hours a week anyway. Did I mention that you won't get paid for prep time, or if you do it will be for maybe 1 or 2 hours a week?

TESOL certification usually costs a couple of thousand dollars, or more. It will take you months of PT work at $15/hour to get that back.

Adult ESL teaching certainly isn't a career compatible with supporting a family, and is barely adequate to support yourself. Again, overseas this may be different, but in the U.S. -- forget it. I consider adult ESL teaching to be rather a scam, on many levels, and a situation akin to adjunct English teaching in colleges. The students pay a fortune, the teachers make next to nothing, and the "school" (that is, the company) gets all the money.

Back to actually addressing the OP. I don't know enough about differences with a master's degree re getting jobs, but if you can somehow get into non-adjunct college teaching, say at a community college, that might work (though the "real" professor jobs will require a PhD in linguistics or rhetoric or something like that). Getting certified to teach in the public schools might be your best bet, assuming that you like kids -- and you don't need a master's for that.

Going to echo FLBiker a bit and counter some of your claims.

I adjunct at city colleges.

Yes, pretty much all the jobs are part time (at least in my discipline). You do not really get any benefits: some sick time is really all you can hope for. I am not an independent contractor and cannot claim mileage, etc. I pay regular taxes.

At the college level (master's degree is the min requirement to teach), you should NOT be getting paid $12-$20/hr unless you live in the middle of nowhere, Montana. I average about $60/hr in Southern California.

You do not get paid for prep time. This encompasses everything from putting together lectures, to grading, to answering emails.

Your pay does increase. (Again, speaking as someone not in middle of nowhere, Montana.) Unions approve raises regularly (I've already had two) and college should have a "level" program where your pay increases the longer you teach at a specific school.

Yes, you will have to commute between schools and to a certain degree, take what classes are offered. Schools usually cap at 9 units (approx 3 classes, assuming 3 units each) because they don't want to offer benefits. Schools will ask what schedule works for you and are relatively accommodating - I will say that I teach in a field that has a lot of classes offered.

For example, last semester I had an awful schedule of 7am classes and 6pm classes, with a large gap in between. I willingly took that schedule which was my fault. This coming semester - every day except Wednesday (6:30pm) and Friday (2:40pm) - I am done by 10:30am or 12:30pm. It's pretty sweet when the schedule works out in your favor.

Classroom teaching is intensive but you get used to it. It's better than sitting in a cubicle; I have done both. I teach 7 classes for about 25 hours a week... and I earn a little under $4000/mo after taxes. The pay is spread out over 4-5 months depending on the school so you do need to budget for any month(s) you wouldn't be teaching. I just took 6 weeks off for winter break (chose not to teach winter classes) and still had money coming in from the schools (5 month pay). I teach over the summer so it's not like I have zero income over those months.

I would say this type of teaching is ideal for someone who values a freedom over money, OR someone who is looking for part-time work (e.g. a parent, as a side hustle, whatever).

Midcenturymater

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2016, 08:10:13 PM »
 I did it in Hong Kong 20 years ago. It was amazing money at the time.....anything from $30 to $ 70 an hour and I worked every hour I could. If you become independent which I did very fast when I realised the agencies putting me on jobs were taking a 70 % cut if my hourly rate. I only wish I had stuck it out for longer. Only putting in 12 months at that max rate.... mostly $35 an hour. It put me through college with no debt when I returned to the UK and I still have 8 k from it in some crap find I put it in 18 years ago. That money is still not worth what I put in back then. I need to get educated about where to put money for next time I have any spare

If you are unattached I would get out to Asia. British council pays best rate and private work. As I Saud my mistake was to pack it in thinking I should be doing a meaningful career at 23 rather than just stockpiling money
 Gosh how naive I was))
I liked teaching the Chinese. But I did feel burnt out with all the travel involved in a 35 hour teaching load. The US I can't comment on apart from if you can get some masters the community colleges in California pay 50 to 70 an hour for non credit esl classes but you just get a few hours rather than full time. Worth looking into as it is a growth area here for obvious reasins

zephyr911

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2016, 07:32:29 AM »
DW is Argentinean, came to US and got a double masters in Spanish and TESOL. She TA'd while getting her degree, and taught both Spanish and TESOL at CCs and a local uni, but ended up getting her first FT offer in medical interpreting and bagged the educational angle indefinitely.

Not sure how representative her experience is, because we're in a smaller city (250K) with only a couple institutions that'd ever have the program to begin with, but she definitely found it easier to get work as a terp, and is happier with it.

**edit** She started at $25/hr for irregular contract gigs and went FT @ $19/hr, but this is a fairly LCOL area so that's roughly median individual income.

FLBiker

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2016, 09:10:40 AM »
If you are unattached I would get out to Asia.

Agreed.  I loved living in Taiwan, and I've heard good things about Korea.  Japan is great, but the COL can be quite high.

zephyr911

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2016, 12:09:21 PM »
Just the other day I was trying to sell DW on the two of us doing that together in Japan after we FIRE. Cool way to blow a year and not pull anything from the Stash.

FLBiker

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2016, 12:37:51 PM »
Just the other day I was trying to sell DW on the two of us doing that together in Japan after we FIRE. Cool way to blow a year and not pull anything from the Stash.

That's our plan.  And, really, since we'd be breaking even (at least) during the years of teaching overseas, we could probably start doing it now.  But we just had a baby, so we're probably going to wait a few years.  We'll see how this election turns out, though...

zephyr911

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2016, 01:13:10 PM »
That's our plan.  And, really, since we'd be breaking even (at least) during the years of teaching overseas, we could probably start doing it now.  But we just had a baby, so we're probably going to wait a few years.  We'll see how this election turns out, though...
Threatening to move overseas over an election outcome... I salute you, my fellow Caucasian American. We're doing good things here.

FLBiker

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2016, 01:28:47 PM »
That's our plan.  And, really, since we'd be breaking even (at least) during the years of teaching overseas, we could probably start doing it now.  But we just had a baby, so we're probably going to wait a few years.  We'll see how this election turns out, though...
Threatening to move overseas over an election outcome... I salute you, my fellow Caucasian American. We're doing good things here.

It's hard to read tone through monitors, but I assume you're being sarcastic.  I'm game to explain my position, but I'm not sure what you're implying.  That it's petty to move for an election?  That it's an empty threat?  That a real American wouldn't leave?  That only white people have this privilege?

zephyr911

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2016, 01:31:26 PM »
It's hard to read tone through monitors, but I assume you're being sarcastic.  I'm game to explain my position, but I'm not sure what you're implying.  That it's petty to move for an election?  That it's an empty threat?  That a real American wouldn't leave?  That only white people have this privilege?
Totally sarcastic.

http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/02/24/75-threatening-to-move-to-canada/

I was actually kind of curious which outcome would make you more likely to fly the coop, but something said to avoid a serious tangent.

FLBiker

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2016, 01:43:19 PM »
It's hard to read tone through monitors, but I assume you're being sarcastic.  I'm game to explain my position, but I'm not sure what you're implying.  That it's petty to move for an election?  That it's an empty threat?  That a real American wouldn't leave?  That only white people have this privilege?
Totally sarcastic.

http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/02/24/75-threatening-to-move-to-canada/

I was actually kind of curious which outcome would make you more likely to fly the coop, but something said to avoid a serious tangent.

Got it.  That blog is funny, btw.  I agree that it's an overused empty threat, but I don't mean it figuratively.  I left in my 20s because I didn't like the increasing corporate power / work-life balance / interventionist foreign policy.  I came back after 6 years (for school, then got a job, got married) I'm feeling that itch again.  Probably wouldn't be Canada, though -- DW and I are both ESL teachers, and I hear they speak English up there already. :)

bobechs

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2016, 06:19:38 PM »
I hear they speak English up there already. :)

I don't know where you heard that.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Canada

The more operative question would be: how many that don't, want to.

That's why they don't need you.  Or the main reason, anyway.

zephyr911

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #26 on: February 01, 2016, 03:41:50 PM »
I hear they speak English up there already. :)

I don't know where you heard that.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Canada

The more operative question would be: how many that don't, want to.

That's why they don't need you.  Or the main reason, anyway.
I just want my poutine avec frommage, and some tabernac.

MVal

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #27 on: February 03, 2016, 07:23:34 AM »
I think you're already figuring out that teaching ESL is not a long-term career plan in the U.S. unless you teach children in the public school system.

I'm just going to rant here a minute for anyone reading this who might be thinking "Hey, ESL teaching sounds like a fun job!" When teaching adults in the U.S., almost all jobs are part-time, with no or very few benefits. The pay is about $12-$20/hour, whether or not you have a master's degree. Classes go for a few months and stop. You will not get paid during these breaks. It is unlikely that you will get sick time or paid time off. You might even be paid as an independent contractor, meaning that you won't even have taxes paid by your employer.

Most jobs are at for-profit schools (that charge international students a hefty fee for classes, of which the instructor sees little). Many do not pay for prep time, only teaching time.

You will get paid the same whether you are fresh out of school or have been a teacher for 20 years. Wages have not risen in years. Nonprofits, where low-wage immigrants students take classes for free or low cost, are nicer places to work, but pay the same or less as the for-profits.

You will be lumping together multiple PT jobs, in different parts of town, to make a paltry annual salary. You will have very little say in when and where you teach, or how you teach in many cases. The OP mentioned the erratic schedule. One school will have classes, say, from 10 am to 1 pm, 3 to 5 days a week, and another will have them from 9 to 12, making it impossible to work at both places. Or you will be working from say 9-12 and then from 4 to 9pm on Mon-Thurs, and then 12-4 on Saturday and Sunday -- not ideal for most people.

You will NOT be working 8 hour days from 9-5, 40 hours a week. You might be lucky to get 20 or 25 hours. And that is all classroom teaching, which is extremely energy-intensive -- I am not sure anyone could take active classroom teaching for 40 hours a week anyway. Did I mention that you won't get paid for prep time, or if you do it will be for maybe 1 or 2 hours a week?

TESOL certification usually costs a couple of thousand dollars, or more. It will take you months of PT work at $15/hour to get that back.

Adult ESL teaching certainly isn't a career compatible with supporting a family, and is barely adequate to support yourself. Again, overseas this may be different, but in the U.S. -- forget it. I consider adult ESL teaching to be rather a scam, on many levels, and a situation akin to adjunct English teaching in colleges. The students pay a fortune, the teachers make next to nothing, and the "school" (that is, the company) gets all the money.

Back to actually addressing the OP. I don't know enough about differences with a master's degree re getting jobs, but if you can somehow get into non-adjunct college teaching, say at a community college, that might work (though the "real" professor jobs will require a PhD in linguistics or rhetoric or something like that). Getting certified to teach in the public schools might be your best bet, assuming that you like kids -- and you don't need a master's for that.

Going to echo FLBiker a bit and counter some of your claims.

I adjunct at city colleges.

Yes, pretty much all the jobs are part time (at least in my discipline). You do not really get any benefits: some sick time is really all you can hope for. I am not an independent contractor and cannot claim mileage, etc. I pay regular taxes.

At the college level (master's degree is the min requirement to teach), you should NOT be getting paid $12-$20/hr unless you live in the middle of nowhere, Montana. I average about $60/hr in Southern California.

You do not get paid for prep time. This encompasses everything from putting together lectures, to grading, to answering emails.

Your pay does increase. (Again, speaking as someone not in middle of nowhere, Montana.) Unions approve raises regularly (I've already had two) and college should have a "level" program where your pay increases the longer you teach at a specific school.

Yes, you will have to commute between schools and to a certain degree, take what classes are offered. Schools usually cap at 9 units (approx 3 classes, assuming 3 units each) because they don't want to offer benefits. Schools will ask what schedule works for you and are relatively accommodating - I will say that I teach in a field that has a lot of classes offered.

For example, last semester I had an awful schedule of 7am classes and 6pm classes, with a large gap in between. I willingly took that schedule which was my fault. This coming semester - every day except Wednesday (6:30pm) and Friday (2:40pm) - I am done by 10:30am or 12:30pm. It's pretty sweet when the schedule works out in your favor.

Classroom teaching is intensive but you get used to it. It's better than sitting in a cubicle; I have done both. I teach 7 classes for about 25 hours a week... and I earn a little under $4000/mo after taxes. The pay is spread out over 4-5 months depending on the school so you do need to budget for any month(s) you wouldn't be teaching. I just took 6 weeks off for winter break (chose not to teach winter classes) and still had money coming in from the schools (5 month pay). I teach over the summer so it's not like I have zero income over those months.

I would say this type of teaching is ideal for someone who values a freedom over money, OR someone who is looking for part-time work (e.g. a parent, as a side hustle, whatever).

Very interesting. So what is your masters in, TESOL? Do you know where would be the best places to obtain a masters degree like that? Just any garden variety university or online school? I would like to someday continue my education, but the cost is rather prohibitive. I do have interest in TESOL, but I should probably try to do it part time as a side gig first, I suppose.

lbmustache

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Re: Careers in TESOL
« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2016, 10:09:39 AM »
I think you're already figuring out that teaching ESL is not a long-term career plan in the U.S. unless you teach children in the public school system.

I'm just going to rant here a minute for anyone reading this who might be thinking "Hey, ESL teaching sounds like a fun job!" When teaching adults in the U.S., almost all jobs are part-time, with no or very few benefits. The pay is about $12-$20/hour, whether or not you have a master's degree. Classes go for a few months and stop. You will not get paid during these breaks. It is unlikely that you will get sick time or paid time off. You might even be paid as an independent contractor, meaning that you won't even have taxes paid by your employer.

Most jobs are at for-profit schools (that charge international students a hefty fee for classes, of which the instructor sees little). Many do not pay for prep time, only teaching time.

You will get paid the same whether you are fresh out of school or have been a teacher for 20 years. Wages have not risen in years. Nonprofits, where low-wage immigrants students take classes for free or low cost, are nicer places to work, but pay the same or less as the for-profits.

You will be lumping together multiple PT jobs, in different parts of town, to make a paltry annual salary. You will have very little say in when and where you teach, or how you teach in many cases. The OP mentioned the erratic schedule. One school will have classes, say, from 10 am to 1 pm, 3 to 5 days a week, and another will have them from 9 to 12, making it impossible to work at both places. Or you will be working from say 9-12 and then from 4 to 9pm on Mon-Thurs, and then 12-4 on Saturday and Sunday -- not ideal for most people.

You will NOT be working 8 hour days from 9-5, 40 hours a week. You might be lucky to get 20 or 25 hours. And that is all classroom teaching, which is extremely energy-intensive -- I am not sure anyone could take active classroom teaching for 40 hours a week anyway. Did I mention that you won't get paid for prep time, or if you do it will be for maybe 1 or 2 hours a week?

TESOL certification usually costs a couple of thousand dollars, or more. It will take you months of PT work at $15/hour to get that back.

Adult ESL teaching certainly isn't a career compatible with supporting a family, and is barely adequate to support yourself. Again, overseas this may be different, but in the U.S. -- forget it. I consider adult ESL teaching to be rather a scam, on many levels, and a situation akin to adjunct English teaching in colleges. The students pay a fortune, the teachers make next to nothing, and the "school" (that is, the company) gets all the money.

Back to actually addressing the OP. I don't know enough about differences with a master's degree re getting jobs, but if you can somehow get into non-adjunct college teaching, say at a community college, that might work (though the "real" professor jobs will require a PhD in linguistics or rhetoric or something like that). Getting certified to teach in the public schools might be your best bet, assuming that you like kids -- and you don't need a master's for that.

Going to echo FLBiker a bit and counter some of your claims.

I adjunct at city colleges.

Yes, pretty much all the jobs are part time (at least in my discipline). You do not really get any benefits: some sick time is really all you can hope for. I am not an independent contractor and cannot claim mileage, etc. I pay regular taxes.

At the college level (master's degree is the min requirement to teach), you should NOT be getting paid $12-$20/hr unless you live in the middle of nowhere, Montana. I average about $60/hr in Southern California.

You do not get paid for prep time. This encompasses everything from putting together lectures, to grading, to answering emails.

Your pay does increase. (Again, speaking as someone not in middle of nowhere, Montana.) Unions approve raises regularly (I've already had two) and college should have a "level" program where your pay increases the longer you teach at a specific school.

Yes, you will have to commute between schools and to a certain degree, take what classes are offered. Schools usually cap at 9 units (approx 3 classes, assuming 3 units each) because they don't want to offer benefits. Schools will ask what schedule works for you and are relatively accommodating - I will say that I teach in a field that has a lot of classes offered.

For example, last semester I had an awful schedule of 7am classes and 6pm classes, with a large gap in between. I willingly took that schedule which was my fault. This coming semester - every day except Wednesday (6:30pm) and Friday (2:40pm) - I am done by 10:30am or 12:30pm. It's pretty sweet when the schedule works out in your favor.

Classroom teaching is intensive but you get used to it. It's better than sitting in a cubicle; I have done both. I teach 7 classes for about 25 hours a week... and I earn a little under $4000/mo after taxes. The pay is spread out over 4-5 months depending on the school so you do need to budget for any month(s) you wouldn't be teaching. I just took 6 weeks off for winter break (chose not to teach winter classes) and still had money coming in from the schools (5 month pay). I teach over the summer so it's not like I have zero income over those months.

I would say this type of teaching is ideal for someone who values a freedom over money, OR someone who is looking for part-time work (e.g. a parent, as a side hustle, whatever).

Very interesting. So what is your masters in, TESOL? Do you know where would be the best places to obtain a masters degree like that? Just any garden variety university or online school? I would like to someday continue my education, but the cost is rather prohibitive. I do have interest in TESOL, but I should probably try to do it part time as a side gig first, I suppose.

Sorry I should have been more clear! I know a lot of about adjuncting at colleges but I do not have a degree or certif in TESOL. I actually have a Masters in Communication (this is not mass media comm, it's more theoretical/research-based, kind of like philosophy + sociology + psychology all mushed together). To teach TESOL at the college level I believe you would have to have some sort of Humanities masters deg + TESOL certificate or a TESOL masters deg.

I personally would NOT recommend going into debt for a Master's degree to teach part-time. It is just not that lucrative unless you have some other source of income. FWIW my M.A. program cost about $30k all in (including books etc.) and I make about $50k a year and I probably have a total of 3 months off during the year since I teach for part of summer (about 6 weeks in the winter, 6-8 weeks in summer).

From teaching at colleges, the field seems pretty competitive so I would think going to a school with a recognized name would be better. Teaching jobs are a lot easier when you have a network built up (I got almost all my jobs through word of mouth and people knowing successful people from the school I went to). If you have any other questions feel free to PM me!