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Discussion in 'Career clinic' started by leabeegeebee, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. leabeegeebee

    leabeegeebee New commenter

    Dear TheoGriff,
    I'm currently teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and delivering basic teacher training in S.E.Asia. I have been abroad for four years, working with a well-known British cultural organisation, and taught in primary and secondary schools in Spain and Thailand before my current role. This has been interspersed with experience in summer schools with teens from Europe. I have CELTA and DELTA-level qualifications in EFL which places me towards the more experienced part of the industry. I have also participated in conferences and kept up to date with CPD (e.g. SEN) in my field.

    Following the end of my contract here this year, I'm looking to move back long-term to the UK for personal reasons, and I am hoping to find an EAL post within a UK state school (I am flexible on location). I have a PGCE (Citizenship) with an EAL supplementary course, and hold QTS. I have voluntary EAL experience with teenage refugees, and during my ITT training I also taught some EAL on an intervention basis. In my NQT year I was a mainstream English, Classics and PSHCE teacher with 'good' observations (never quite made outstanding, alas!) for KS3, 4 & 5.

    I was wondering: how difficult do you think I might find it to make this transition having been out of the UK education system for four years, given that EAL is not a curriculum subject but that I have remained in same subject field? I have seen that there are various roles available and that I do meet the criteria for most of them and will obviously read up on key sector developments. I am flexible regarding teaching different subjects e.g. PSHCE again if this could enhance my prospects. I am also looking outside mainstream education for TESOL roles, but would prefer state school. Given that I aim to apply for jobs beginning Sept 2016 or Jan 2017, what things could I do now to increase my chances? I know one issue will be regarding interview (https://www.tes.com/news/blog/returning-uk-after-teaching-abroad) but could fly back to attend.
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Well done for finding the relevant article! I'll put it here for anyone else reading this:

    Returning to the UK after teaching abroad

    And I think that you are being a little optimistic in saying

    At whose expense? Could you fly back at your own expense for half a dozen interviews? Would your current employer allow this? Would a school in the UK invite you to interview knowing that you are so far away? It's not like asking someone to pop over on Eurostar from the British School of Brussels . . .

    There are occasional EAL/EASOL opportunities in independent schools where they have a good proportion of foreign students. I'm not just talking about places like St Clare's, Oxford. Which, despite its web address, is a Sixth-Form, not a university college. Don't rule that sector out completely.


    Your other problem, @leabeegeebee , is that there isn't a lot of opportunity for this subject.

    Just do a search on TES . . .

    Get the TES Jobs App

    How to set up a Job Alert

    Here's one in a college . Here the difficulty in this type of college or school is that you will have to convince them that your experience with the sons and daughters of well-to--do families in S.E. Asia is transferable to deprived migrant or refugee students. Just remember that when applying, is what I am saying.

    Your best bet is to read all the adverts for this type of post, note where you meet the criteria by doing a draft E.S., and then apply.

    But be prepared for having to come back here at the end of the school year without a job, and applying then.

    Best wishes

  3. leabeegeebee

    leabeegeebee New commenter

    Thanks for your prompt reply, TheoGriff. Yes, interviews are obviously a logistical problem. I have a 6-week break in April when I could come back to the UK (obviously at my own expense, I can't imagine many employers willing/able to pay flight money) which may help the interview issue, but yes, it may be easier to find something on arrival, as you say.

    I was trying to remain a little anonymous re: my current role but perhaps inadvertently gave the wrong impression: I'm definitely not teaching well-to-do students at the moment (and not in the past either, as my company was contracted in a normal state school in Thailand), but am working in an international education development role currently in a low-income country and have reasonable amounts of experience with refugee youngsters and those struggling under poor human rights conditions.

    Thanks for the TES links, I've noticed a few coming up and have already set up alerts. It does seem to be a growing area compared to when I last was in the UK, but I'm aware it's not a huge area so will also look at colleges etc as you suggest.

    Thanks for the advice and ideas - perhaps not an entirely hopeless situation.
  4. davidbowiefan

    davidbowiefan Established commenter

    The jobs Theo Griff listed involve different types of teaching. The college one is for teaching ESOL. Are you familiar with ESOL exams and the kind of students who take them?

    The private college in Oxford would be looking for someone to support pupils with their IB studies. Do you have experience of the independent sector and/or the IB? Do you have experience of helping pupils to access the curriculum? Your problem in looking for such jobs is that they now seem to be advertised as teaching assistant roles and go to parents who speak community languages. Your problem in looking at the FE sector is that work in this field can be erratic and badly paid. You might have to combine it with other work, such as ESOL examining. It would be more viable to aim for a mainstream subject teaching role in a school where your EFL experience will be of use.

    And I'm afraid your qualifications don't place you towards the more experienced end of the industry. Higher qualifications in this field would include a Masters in Applied Linguistics, TESOL or English Language, an MEd which included Applied Linguistics or a PGCE in TESOL.
    leabeegeebee likes this.
  5. leabeegeebee

    leabeegeebee New commenter

    Thanks for your detailed reply: yes I'm aware that they are different types of teaching. I only have voluntary ESOL experience and no independent sector background. I have some exam experience (KET, PET, CAE, CPE, IELTS) but not ESOL exams, and experience with curriculum access as I taught some specific SEN classes during ITT, and EAL students as I mentioned before, but this is limited.

    Misunderstanding from my part I think: I am 'towards the more experienced end' (not at the top) of *EFL* which prizes the practical aspects of the DELTA (many EFL teachers are unqualified in Asia) over the more theoretical Masters in some roles, and am currently at DELTA+3 which puts me in line for management and training positions. However, I am definitely aware that I am very low down in state school terms and also presumably in TESOL and will be at square one there.

    On the plus side, whilst some of the EAL jobs ask for CELTA, none that I've seen so far have specified a PGCE in TESOL (not all require QTS), nor a Masters even as desirables. The MA is potentially something to look to in the future but I don't want to specialise too soon and already hold an MA in an unrelated subject so would prefer to avoid the added financial burden of another MA at this point.

    Thank you for all your advice, particularly about mixing roles. I doubt I would get a position as a pure mainstream subject teacher given my PGCE specialism and the competition for posts, but worth a look. Perhaps I will rethink and come up with a different plan. Thanks for taking the time to respond.
  6. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    I wish you all the best in your search.

    Come back and start a new question if you need some more pointers.

    Best wishes

  7. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    With your experience, I'm you could even get a job as a mainstream English teacher, and with your ability to offer EFL / EAL (and your DELTA) on top of that, in the right location you could be a very desirable candidate.
  8. davidbowiefan

    davidbowiefan Established commenter

    I'll never understand how you can teach in England without a degree and a PGCE in your subject! But the OP might well be able to get a job teaching English in a school with a high number of EAL or asylum-seeker pupils.

    The problem is that there aren't a lot of these jobs and the posts that do exist are being downgraded to teaching assistants. While there's no reason she couldn't do some of these jobs, they are few and far between. Either that or they're part-time - I know people who work in this sector who have three or four part-time roles. That's why I would suggest focusing on a mainstream post. She can always apply for specialist posts once she has established herself back in the UK.
  9. davidbowiefan

    davidbowiefan Established commenter

    No, these are for EAP. A PGCE plus a CELTA is probably a good starting point for state schools but I know someone who worked at an independent school with a Masters in TESOL and no PGCE.
  10. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Some really informative and helpful posts from @davidbowiefan .

    Thank you!

    Best wishes


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