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I'm looking to move abroad after this academic year...

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by SrJalapeno, Sep 12, 2020.

  1. SrJalapeno

    SrJalapeno New commenter

    Hi all, new to the forums here and looking for some advice on teaching abroad, specifically in South East and East Asia.

    Currently I am an RQT teaching Spanish (KS3+4) and French (KS3) at a large mixed comp. I would like to finish this year, which would give me 2 years qualified teaching experience, and then find a post abroad - I am leaning towards Japan and South Korea, but am open to most of the region if conditions are attractive. My initial thought was to find work at an international school, as an MFL teacher, but I have heard that native speakers and those with years of results data are often snapped up first. I then considered using the English (linguistics) part of my degree and completing an SKE course in English to apply for posts teaching English at an international school. This is something I am perfectly happy to do, but only if there will be sufficient work available for me, which again I am not certain of. I also do not have IB teaching experience, yet.

    Final option is to find work as an English language teacher outside of the British / Int. school curriculum. I have heard that South Korea pays the best and would allow a typical teacher to save £1000 p/m as opposed to £500 p/m in Japan and Thailand, and then less for China, Singapore, HK, etc... I am not hugely fussed about salary, but would not like to drop too much seeing as I am on M2 currently in the UK.

    I have a 2:1 degree in Spanish and Linguistics.
    I have worked as a qualified MFL teacher for 1 year.
    I worked as a teaching assistant for 4 years prior to training to teach.

    What do you guys think?


    Sr. Jalapeño
  2. TeacherMan19

    TeacherMan19 Occasional commenter

    Japan is a very expensive place to live if you live like a native, China is a very cheap place to live like a native. The better the city, the easier it is to live normally means the less the pay is due to them not needing to work so hard to attract talent.
    If you earned the equivalent of what you earn on M2 in England, in China for example, you would be able to save considerably more. You always have the opportunity to do extra tutoring if you want to increase what you earn.

    You need to make a list of things that you want and what you can't live without and decide which country can help you meet all the guidelines.
  3. SrJalapeno

    SrJalapeno New commenter

    Thanks TeacherMan, that's a nice point about tutoring to earn extra, I hadn't considered that. What I am most concerned about however, is the type of teaching I will be able to do once abroad. The 'teach English as a last resort' option is still something I would enjoy, but I would prefer to be able to continue teaching the British curriculum. Do I have good enough credentials to be able to find work in international schools, or is teaching English as a foreign language my best bet?

    It is worth me stating that I (at least now) do intend to return to the UK to teach MFL again at some point.
  4. TeacherMan19

    TeacherMan19 Occasional commenter

    It's difficult to say. The less picky you are about where you go, the more likely you are to get a job. Find a school that teaches the languages you know and you might get hired. I recommend speaking to a recruiter, they'll know a bit more but also they will do a lot of looking and hard work for you. I can recommend one if you wish who was very good to work with. PM me if you wish.
  5. StrangePanda

    StrangePanda Occasional commenter

    If you are interested in Japan, then you could consider something like JET: it's really organised and the programme subsidises accommodation etc and pays for flights at the start and finish of contracts. You might need to start looking into it now, though, because the application process is quite long/thorough.
  6. SrJalapeno

    SrJalapeno New commenter

    Thanks for the suggestion Panda. I was under the impression that JET only enables you to work as a teaching / language assistant and not as the sole class teacher? This would be a step backwards for me, I think.


  7. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    Basically, if you're looking at IB schools, you should find ones which are looking for your skills - there is a requirement to do a second language and that's usually Spanish or French (assuming they are doing English for the language & literature option.)

    Personally, I'd speak to an agency to see if they can help you and keep an eye on TES too, but I would also be prepared to do another year after this one in the UK before moving. There has been COVID fallout already for the 2020/21 year, but I suspect the majority of the pain will actually come for those looking for jobs starting in August 2021 - I don't expect many people to choose to move and it's quite possible that where people do move on, the vacancy will just be left to save a bit of money. Assuming a vaccine at some point next year, and increased testing in countries which are struggling to manage the virus such as the US and the UK, I think jobs will get back to something close to normal for August 2022.
    SrJalapeno likes this.
  8. SrJalapeno

    SrJalapeno New commenter

    Thanks amysdad, I would like to know of any contacts/agencies you might be able to recommend, please.

    Regarding COVID, I had hoped it wouldn't be a problem past this year but perhaps you are right - people may not wish to change jobs during the uncertainty and this will cause fewer opportunities. I suppose I could imagine myself doing 2 more years (AT THE MOST) but really I would like to get moving after this year. Out of curiosity - when are most posts typically filled? Is it before January?

    Let's hope the current low deaths continue through the next couple of months and people will start to have more confidence in resuming their life plans.
  9. yasf

    yasf Established commenter

    as an ex Spanish teacher that now teaches EAL/ESL, that's the route I'd recommend. It's quite different to EFL teaching (or should be). Emphasise the linguistics part of your degree, and refer to yourself as a language teacher instead of a Spanish teacher. Once you get your first job, which will probably be in a dodgy school, enrol onto a proper EAL/ESL teacher training course - Birmingham Uni does a decent online one. It means your second school will likely be much better. Stay overseas and you could soon be earning more than your present headteacher while staying a classroom teacher.

    Finally, I'd push back your plans another year or so. With COVID things have become very unstable, and even if you are offered a position this year there's a possibility that it won't be honoured by the time you actually get to boarding your flight.
  10. SrJalapeno

    SrJalapeno New commenter

    I can't PM because my account appears to be under moderation. Thanks anyway
  11. Jeremyinspain

    Jeremyinspain Occasional commenter

    I taught in Japan for 4 months (1991) while on a round-the-world. It was hand-to-mouth agency stuff, adults, children, factory classes, the lot. But Japan bowled me over. Fantastic country, great people, so friendly, we were there during the cherry blossom (Nagoya). I envy you your horizons. Have fun.
    I've now found another country that's stolen my heart. España!
    ¡Mucha suerte!
  12. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    SrJalapeno - have PM'd you details of agencies I have used in the past (not allowed to discuss them here.)

    Jobs tend to start appearing from any time around now until the end of January, usually, though the start is getting earlier each year. The bulk will appear in November / December, before or aroud the main job fairs in January. On the whole, recruitment is more or less done by Easter, with one or two appearing afterwards (and beware of established schools advertising in June or July for an August start - while it might be to do with expansion, it might also be because they've been unable to fill the jobs or people have pulled out.)
  13. SrJalapeno

    SrJalapeno New commenter

    This is encouraging, thanks for the reply. I am curious to know what sort of experience you have had since switching from MFL to ESL (apologies if the acronyms are wrong, but they're the only ones I understand). Did you find the salary increase immediately? The research I have done (limited, admittedly) seemed to suggest $2500 p/m was to be expected of an ESL teacher in South Korea, now I think that was aimed at non QTS grduates, so I would be keen to know more about salaries and opportunities for me that recognise my QTS and PGCE.

    I will need a TEFL/CELTA I suspect, and then some sort of EAL/ESL teacher training course as well? I appreciate any info on this,

    Kind regards,

  14. SrJalapeno

    SrJalapeno New commenter

    Thanks a million!
  15. shakes1616

    shakes1616 Established commenter

    TEFL or ESL is usually taught at private language schools in Korea. The salary is 2.3M won standard plus free accommodation. Look at eslcafe for posts. EAL in schools is just a hyped up name for ESL teaching to make it sound like a proper subject.
  16. yasf

    yasf Established commenter

    Don't confuse EFL (teaching TEFL in language schools / British council) with EAL/ESL teaching - which is school based and should attract the same salary as any other subject teacher. The UK has largely ignored the needs of immigrants, so the salaries are poor, and the job is often done (badly) by either English lang/lit teachers, TEFL teachers or EAL assistants. This is not the case in other English speaking nations. In the US - for example - Congress passed a law requiring all schools (districts?) to have proper EAL/ESL provision. This means that in the US - along with Australia and Canada, you can be an ESL/EAL teacher with QTS (or equivalent). QTS with an EAL/ESL specialism has all but disappeared from the UK.

    As a non native (I assume) Spanish teacher that only teaches up to KS4, you will struggle teaching in the international sector. The concept of teaching a language that you are not completely fluent in - even in Primary schools - is out of the question, so unless I'm missing something your French won't help you much either. So while your languages won't help you, your understanding of languages and language acquisition might. Hence my advice to go for EAL/ESL. The best way to train up (you could get a CELTA, but it's unlikely to help that much) is to get a job in a school teaching EAL/ESL, and then to do either the course I linked into my last post through Birmingham, or through one of the North American Universities. I did mine over three summers in Mallorca with a college from New Jersey. As for salaries, IB and non British schools tend to pay the best. I'm currently on between £90-100k depending on how Boris' pronouncements affect the exchange rate. Others are on more.

    Anyway - good luck / ¡buena suerta!

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