I just wanted to share some thoughts and why I love and continue to teach overseas.
Here is a little about me: I am an Ontario certified teacher and everyday I give the TDSB the one finger salute. I have also wanted to be a teacher since I was 15 years old. I became certified to teach way back in 2005. Since, I have gotten few days of supply work, one LTO and I was placed in schools that were BEYOND horrible. According to the higher beings at the TDSB, I should be grateful to get what I got because (and this is unfortunately true) there were at least 50 people behind me who were more than eager to take my place there.
I was miserable and had had enough! I took Jim's course and was then off to the world class city of Shanghai and I my passion and love of teaching was once again reignited!
I have posted before and the joys and amazing experiences that this course has brought me. I post this because I still get the monthly magazine from the OCT (because I am still a member) and March's magazine had a very interesting article at the very front. It was an article titled " An ode to the passion to teach and drive to find work". It discussed two teachers treacherous journey to find permanent work. Both have been certified for more than 4 years and have had to take on other jobs to make ends meet. The article also discussed how calls for supply work have been getting fewer and fewer. What I found most distressing was the article was championing them for their perserverance! How sad is that two wonderful teachers are wasting their time hoping and waiting by the phone when their skills could be used and would be MUCH more appreciated elsewhere. I know their suffering all to well and feel for them, BUT there is a solution.
Teaching overseas has soooo many benefits that are both financial and personal. I cannot recommend this enough. Don't waste your time and potential chasing the proverbial "carrot", make your dreams come true and realize that there is much more beyond the Toronto horizon.
To everyone: this course will open doors for you that you never knew existed and will help you find the courage inside to live your life to your fullest potential!
mille grazie Jim!
i second that...and you don't have to be board certified teacher in many countries...the need is just too great.
Cambodia is an interesting place; still recovering from it's recent traumatic history and it's hard to tell how things will turn out in the future but most of the developing countries here seem to be rushing towards becoming imitations of Hong Kong and Singapore. I suggest you read up on some of the general developments in Asia and some of the more specific Cambodian events -the wars, genocide, etc., if you haven't already done so.
Most of the population is under the age of 30 so the cities are quite a vibrant places, as is much of this part of the world. The countryside is another story however. People there still have little access to things like clean water and adequate food so it's still very 3rd world conditions in many places.
Angkor Wat is a major tourist draw from all over the world so that's where most people go and what most of the blogs talk about. I've read a few blogs from teachers but a lot are horror stories. There are plenty of those from everywhere; China, Japan, Korea, etc.
Most parents want their kids to learn English (and Chinese) so there is a real demand for Native English Speakers.
I don't know how strong an accent you might have or what kind but the standard Canadian/U.S. accent is most easily understood here and it's the way people want to learn to speak. Most Cambodians tell me it easier for them to follow CNN than BBC or Australian television.
There are teachers here from Australia, Africa, England, and lots of European countries so obviously the accents don't stop them from getting work and students tend to imitate what they see on tv and in movies anyway.
Schools also ask for university degrees, teaching experience and Tesol certificates when they advertise. Then they settle for what they can get.
This is my third winter in Phnom Penh and since the first of January I've been getting paid to come into a school that is supposed to be opening in a couple of weeks. The opening date has just been push to March 15 and I won't be surprised if it gets delayed again. This is not a typical case though.
There are four other English speaking teachers here as well so the school is spending thousands of dollars each month to keep us hanging around. I'm Canadian, there's a New Zealander, an American, a Brit, and an Australian whose accent is so strong that we all have moments where we have to consider what he's saying. He'll be the math teacher, or maths as three of them call it.
Most schools are run as private businesses here so getting paid is one of the big problems and some of the horror stories often centre around that reality. Westerners are always concerned about contracts too. Visas are more important most places. If you don't have the proper visa in China or Vietnam for example you can be deported -that's probably a worst-case scenario.
There is a state run school system -in Khmer, the Cambodian language but foreigners teach in the privately run 'universities' -many are diploma mills, or language (usually for adults) schools, or K-12 and up. These K-12 schools are desperate for teachers. Anyone from the west with Early Childhood Education Certificates would have no problem finding work.
As far as pay goes the average wage for the locals is $50-100 per month. Even for policeman and government workers. As a result everyone has a second or third job or runs a business on the side. English teachers usually get about $10 per hour and up. Some schools, esp. language schools, limit the hours to part time at best. I think this is due to high turn over. The schools don't want to have to depend on hard to replace teachers who frequently move on.
Fortunately, the cost of living is ridiculously low. Most foreigners can scrape by on $500 per month or less even though you'll likely pay more for everything. If you have a full time job at a K-12 school for example, and a bit of discipline you can end up with quite a good bank balance in a short time.
There's tons more but I'm signing off for now. Get back to me if you have more specific questions. They are still looking for teachers at my school and would like to have women for some of the younger grades. Wm
thank you for a lot of information you have provided. I feel confident now to really push myself and finish my Tesol course. Your words were so much inspiring and Im sure for many its going to be words of comfort and assurance that teaching abroad can really be an amazing, great, and awesome experience.