Monthly Archives: June 2011

TEFL China: Pros and Cons

Teaching in China can be as rewarding as exhausting. Your classroom will have 40-60 students, there are a lot of scams to watch out for, and the culture shock may be severe. However, if you have the right TEFL Certification and you do your homework before traveling, you will be able to easily overcome all the difficulties.

This blog provides more information about teaching English in China

Why is Lesson Planning Important?

The discipline of lesson planning will instill the necessary thought processes for teachers to produce coherent and effective lessons. In particular, a teacher with strong lesson planning skills will be able to understand and answer the following questions:

a. How is a specific unit of learning best divided into lessons?
b. What are the objectives of each lesson?
c. What teaching and learning activities are most effective for achieving the objectives?
d. What materials are needed to carry out the activities and achieve the objectives?
e. When should an activity be carried out and for how long?

So why a lesson plan then?

Organizing your ideas, knowing the steps to follow in a lesson, having a clear objective of what you want your students to learn in the lesson, are elements that will make your class successful.

When you do not plan your lessons, you may have the following problems:

• Students get easily distracted
• You do not achieve your objectives
• Behavior problems
• Your lessons are not connected
• Frustration for both the teacher and the students

When you plan your lesson:

• Objectives are generally achieved
• The material you used for a lesson can be used in subsequent lessons
• It can help you reflect on your teaching methods

Learn how to create professional lesson plans online. Take an internationally recognized TESOL/TEFL course!

TEFL Australia

Meghan tells us about her TEFL experience in Australia

“My days consisted of sleeping in till 10 am-ish, a leisurely jog along the beach to begin my day, followed by 1-2 hours of class prepping. I’d then eat lunch, take in a bit of sun on our terrace and then head to the 3pm ferry to make it to the city in time for my class at 4. Class would go from 4 to 6 with a 30 minute dinner break, and then continue until 8:30pm. I’d arrive home in time for late dinner with friends, or drinks out on the town, etc. Many of my colleagues would complain about beginning their work days as others were finishing theirs, however for me, this was truly the most perfect schedule! To this day, I miss it dearly. ”

Read More: Meghan’s blog articles

TEFL Thailand: Avoiding Shady Employers

I don’t want to alarm you but there are some shady players in the language school game so some things to watch for are:

1) Teacher autonomy. Do you have to leave your passport with your boss? Does your boss require a key to your room, because the last teacher lost theirs? That’s weird. For me it was a nightmare not to have a space my boss couldn’t reach me at.

2) Pay day. I think you should be flexible in starting a new job and things might not be what you expect, but in the end if there’s a problem on pay day, if some account got linked to some other account or if pay day is going to be delayed this month, or if pay is calculated on some weird system then well that is just not good. A school is only going to be as good as its teachers, so if you’re not treated well then it’s a clue that the level of the school is low. That’s when it’ll pay off to have done some research.

3) TESOL Certification – Does the school hire unqualified teachers? If so, it is a good sign of the poor working conditions you will encounter at that institution.

TEFL South Korea: Hospitality Goes a Long Way

Earn $2,100 per month + visa + accommodation + BONUSES + orientation services

I arrived in Seoul around midnight on a Friday, jet-lagged and sleep-deprived with two bags of what I deemed my most important possessions at the time. I was met at the airport by a member of the staff from the school I had signed a contract with, but had never spoken to. He seemed pleased to meet me though nervous, and only much later did I realize that the source of his anxiety was having to use English conversation in a “casual” way. He drove me through the city to the apartment I would be living in for the next 2 years: a towering concrete building among several identical towering concrete buildings. He dropped me off, bowed, and said “Ok, see you tomorrow morning, the bus will pick you up here for work at 8AM!” I was too tired to puzzle over tomorrow morning being a Saturday and 8AM being only a few hours away. I rode the elevator to the 12th floor, entered my tiny sparse apartment, and looked out my new window at a sea of neon lights. I suddenly felt sure I had made the right decision. This would be an adventure.

Minimum Requirements:
Bachelor’s degree.
100-hour TESOL certificate.
No teaching experience required.

TESL Canada

If you want to teach in Canada, you need to take a teacher training program that is recognized by TESL Canada . You can take the course on-site or online as long as it meets TESL Canada’s high standards of teacher training education and is an approved/recognized program.

Canada has one of the largest ESL industries in the world. In the late 1990’s, many private ESL schools were established to serve international students who come to Canada to study English for a few months. Teachers’ salaries are very competitive, ranging from $16 to $24 an hour. Most teaching positions are located in the private ESL industry from Toronto and Vancouver.

TEFL Japan: Taking the First Step

Salaries are very competitive, ranging from $2,000 to $2,500 a month and many schools pay for accommodation and once the 1-year contract has been completed they may also offer bonuses such as reimbursed airfare or an extra month of pay. Jobs can be found in both the public and the private sector. The better paid jobs are in private English schools in Tokyo, but competition for these jobs is also tougher.

Minimum requirements:
Bachelor’s degree
100-hour TESOL/TEFL certificate
Native English Speaker

The eikaiwa or conversational schools are a popular choice for many good reasons. They usually have recruitment offices set up in many cities across America and do a good job in helping their employees with all the paperwork that comes with getting their visa. However, with the recent fall-out of two big conversational schools in Japan (Nova and GEOS), it is good to double check the company you are applying for. With private companies, classes will range from baby classes all the way to adults students. My recommendations in terms of conversational schools would be Gaba, and AEON. Both have a recruitment page on their website and are fairly stable companies that are still booming in Japan. Private companies such as the ones I mentioned are very familiar with hiring teachers from their home country and/or city and are usually very helpful during the whole transition stage of moving.

A different route to becoming part of the working class in Japan is the route of the assistant language teacher or ALT. Instead of working in a private company like the ones I mentioned above, an ALT is hired by a dispatch company. The dispatch company has a contract with schools in a certain area and will send you to help the Japanese English teachers to teach with them in a public school environment. The most popular dispatch company is the widely-known JET program. The JET program is a very popular one though and while the interview process is a bit more difficult than that of a private company, the teaching style and environment of the job is very different as it provides a more real experience of school life in Japan. Aside from JET, Interac is also a very well-known dispatch company that hires teacher from overseas. Becoming an ALT is a little bit harder as they usually take priority to people who have had teaching experience or have some sort of Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL etc.) certificate from their own country. Luckily, starting this year, elementary school will also be getting an ALT of their own (new program in the educational system) and the hiring processes has become a bit more relaxed with its’ requirements in order to kick-start the program.

For those who are interested in other smaller companies, I would recommend gaijinpot.com as an excellent source of what companies are hiring in Japan. It’s the monster.ca of Japan.