Tag Archives: international

Getting qualified to teach abroad- is it worth it?

Teaching English Abroad- Getting qualified

In the few months I’ve been working on the Careers Service Welcome Desk I’ve come across many students asking about teaching English abroad. It’s lead me to reflect on my experience – 3 years teaching English in Cambodia, which I would describe as one of the most interesting and fulfilling experiences of my life.

‘So, what are you going to do now?’

When I graduated in Sociology I was faced with the dreaded question ‘So what are you going to do now?’ I had entertained the idea of doing a PGCE, but didn’t feel ready to commit to a career in teaching. After travelling in Southeast Asia and meeting a lot of English teachers I decided that teaching English seemed the most realistic job option for me if I wanted to work abroad. Whilst travelling I met people from a broad range of educational backgrounds; some had PGCEs, others had done online TEFL courses, and some had no qualifications at all. None of them seemed to have difficulty finding teaching work, however, a recurring theme in my conversations was that the more qualified teachers worked in better schools, had greater job security, and higher pay.

 Reality Check

I returned to England with one goal – to get back to the sun, smiles, and cheap beer of South-East Asia as soon as possible! I planned to do a 100-hour online teaching course for around £250, alongside working full-time as a waitress. As I was living with my parents at the time (thanks Mum and Dad!) I worked out I could be on a plane to Bangkok to start my new life within 6 months! However, when I relayed my plan (with much zest) to my dad, he advised that I invest the time and money and gain a qualification that would be recognized by accredited teaching organisations both abroad and the UK. Gaining a recognised qualification could be beneficial in developing a teaching career in the future. My Dad was an ESL lecturer at University of Bristol so I realised that his comments were informed, and subsequently took his advice by investing in a more in-depth training course which resulted in a recognised qualification – the Trinity Cert TESOL.

Back to school

The Trinity Cert TESOL is a 5-week intensive teacher training course comprising modules in Teaching Skills, Language Awareness, Learning an Unknown Language and Reflecting on the Experience, and a Material Assessment. I observed English lessons taught by both experienced TESOL teachers and my peers, and had weekly teaching observations in which I planned and taught English lessons to International students wanting supplementary lunchtime sessions alongside English courses. These sessions were assessed, and I was given feedback and ways to improve after each session. For me this was the most valuable part of the course as it gave me an idea of how much work needed to be put into planning a lesson, and the importance of building rapport with the students. I would have not have gained this insight from doing the 100-hour online course!

The Trinity Cert TESOL

Doing the 5-week Trinity Cert TESOL course was incredibly challenging. I got up at 5.30am to finish lesson plans, studied after school to meet assessment deadlines, and dreamt about grammar and phonology at night! But the hard work paid off, and after 5 weeks I was a qualified TESOL teacher and, as a result, when I went to Cambodia a couple of months later I was able apply for jobs in the well-established international schools that paid better than the local public ones. I got a job at the Australian Centre for Education who trained me to deliver lessons preparing students for IELTS. This is The International English Language Testing System which measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as a language of communication. Having this experience enhanced my CV and helped me secure future jobs. Working at The Australian Centre for Education was a very valuable experience. I built a portfolio of teaching resources, got feedback and advice from experienced   colleagues, and taught students of different ages and abilities.

Was it worth it?

Having a TESOL qualification enabled me to get a better teaching job,but doing the qualification gave me the skills I needed to each, and in both senses, it was definitely worth it. Also, although I have decided not to pursue a career in teaching at this stage in my life the transferable skills I developed in doing the qualification.

Working as a teacher, and living abroad have all greatly enhanced my employability and my self-development so it was worth it in that sense too. I would therefore recommend that anyone considering teaching English abroad to do the Trinity cert TESOL or its CELTA equivalent. Information the CELTA course can be found on the University of Bristol CELFS website.

 

 

 

Want to work in the UK after your degree but can’t get a visa – have you tried Tier 5?

Applying for jobs in the UK after graduating is a popular choice, but only a few students are successful in getting a job offer from an employer that can sponsor them for a Tier 2 visa. This blog post talks about an opportunity you might have missed, called the Tier 5 visa.

As a non-EU international student, working in the UK can be very valuable in terms of your career prospects back home. In 2012/13 I studied a masters course at the University of Bristol and really enjoyed it. However when I arrived back home, I realised that getting a good degree isn’t enough to get a dream job. Employers are looking for transferrable skills and knowledge and also whether you have experience of putting those skills into practice. For this reason, work experience in the UK is highly valued.

So if working in the UK is so valuable and so many people want to do it, what’s stopping them? The most common answer is “I can’t get a visa”.

As you probably know, non-EU international students need a visa to work in the UK. If you have been offered a skilled job in the UK, you can apply for a Tier 2 visa. However, it’s hard to get an offer for a skilled job in the UK. The job market is very competitive, and includes plenty of hard-working UK and EU graduates who don’t need a visa. The job has to have a high salary and the employer also has to be willing and able to sponsor your visa application.

But this isn’t the end of the road for non-EU international students – there are other ways for you to work in the UK, and using a Tier 5 visa scheme could be right for you.

So what is a Tier 5 visa?

On February 10th I attended a talk held by the University of Bristol Careers Service Centre that included some good information on the subject, which I’ll share with you here.

There are a number of categories of Tier 5 visa, but the most relevant one for non-EU international students is the “Tier 5 (Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange)” visa. There are many different Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) schemes available, which allow non-EU international students to apply for internships in the UK. Their aim is to share knowledge and allow the interns to experience the social and cultural life of the UK.

You can find the official UK government website showing details of the visa here:

http://tinyurl.com/ktn4ybu

The Tier 5 visa is different to the Tier 2 visa in several ways and there are a number of criteria, so I’ve tried to summarise the most important ones below.

  • Under a Tier 5 visa, you will require an overarching body, such as AIESEC or the British Council to sponsor your visa. The employer doesn’t sponsor you directly.
  • The maximum term of placement for the internship is usually 12 months at a time, but some do stretch to 24 months.
  • The person doing the internship must have completed their last studies no more than 3 years ago.
  • The internship should be full time (35 – 48 hours per week) and the conditions of employment should be in line with the National Minimum Wage Act if outside of London or £15,000 per year if based in London.

Are you interested? Well, there are a number of organisations that provide Tier 5 GAE schemes, and you can find a full list by pasting the following link into your browser window.

http://tinyurl.com/k3cs2g5 

Overall, the Tier 5 scheme can be a useful option for non-EU international students who are keen to work in the UK for a while before going back home.

If you’re interested in hearing this talk for yourself it will be taking place again at 5pm on 9th June 2015 at the Careers Service. However please don’t forget that all immigration enquiries should go to the International Advice and Support Team at the International Office.

So the above is what I have learnt from the event. Some other attendees commented, “Very informative, clear and concise” and “Very good, should have a few more of these to reach more international students.” I hope it’s useful for you too.

–Xiujuan Wang