Originally Posted by lauralee28
Anyone I know who teaches TEFL does not have a degree in it as you say, I didn't even know you could obtain a degree in TEFL?!
You'd be surprised how many people now have degrees in TESOL/TEFL. I have a Master's in TEFL and English Studies, been teaching English as a foreign language full time for the last 5 years and intend to make it a life-long career.
That said, anyone who is serious about working in TEFL long term and has done proper research in the job market will know that this is if not impossible then incredibly difficult to do in Ireland
. It's an English speaking country, so the demand for TEFL classes is relatively low during the academic year. It spikes during the summer what with all sorts of summer camps and all, but that's just 3 months out of 12 when you can count on decent hours and wages.
3 years ago the situation was different - people from Central and Eastern Europe were coming in droves to Ireland, enrolling their children in Irish schools - this created the post of a Language Support teacher paid according to VEC or Teaching Council rates and formally on a par with 'regular' teachers. Now that the Irish economy is decilining and the Polish one is growing strong, non Irish national students are coming back home and LS teachers' hours are severly cut, so ESL teachers have to look to language schools for employment.
As for the idea that teaching ESL is a Mickey Mouse job - I truly resent that. I am not saying that it is more difficult or even as difficult as teaching History/Irish/Home Ec/whatever in a public school. It is just different. But equally as demanding. With many specilaised courses you have no curriculum with clear guidelines to follow - you have to think it all up from scratch, you actually have to WRITE the curriculum, adapt textbooks, prepare your own materials etc. A LOT of time goes into planning, try teaching a group of beginners with no knowledge of English whatsoever some 'abstract' vocabulary (friendship, knowledge etc) through the medium of English only. Trust me, you'll spend a good while figuring out how best to explain that.
There's a good deal of paperwork included as well, especially with students preparing for Cambridge exams and those with visas depending on their language course
And if you think it's not a responsible job, think again. You're teaching somebody who has emigrated to Ireland becasue they or their parents couldn't find a job in their own country - their further education, their livelihood, their ability to integrate into the society and to make social bonds all depend on their proficiency in the English language. In other words, on the subject you're teaching. It's not all about teaching spoiled rich kids whose parents' fancy was to send them on a language course to Ireland.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about the wages, hell, I think 15-20 euro per hour is way better than the dole as long as I do have a job.
But I take exception to people thinking that just because I'm in TEFL I'm any less of a teacher.
Coming back to the prestige and qualifications for a second. I'm currently working in Poland - one of the biggest European recipients of Native Speaking ELT teachers. My school is the second biggest language school in the country, so by no means an obscure employer. So far all teachers with ACELS applying for a job with us have been rejected in favour of CELTA or MA qualified ones. All teachers have degrees, most of us a Master's, and those whose degrees are not in TEFL have a CELTA and considerable teaching experience behind the belt. The whole 'qualifications in 6 weeks, no specialised degree' thing is just an Irish/British thing. And perfectly understandable seeing as in English-speaking countries TEFL has always been meant as a predominatly part-time/temporary thing