EFL Teaching Restrictions Revealed
Miami Beach, United States
TEFL, teaching English as a foreign language, is just one of a dozen acronyms pertaining to English language education.
I'd read up on TEFL in South Korea back in 2006 after meeting some travelers in Argentina who'd periodically return to the country to replenish their travel funds. Aside from their contact information and mental idea planting, a link to Dave's ESL Café (a rather impressive resource) was one of the lasting items still retained from our conversations together.
Today I was again delving into some preliminary research on the subject, and think that I think I've just encountered a serious hiccup with my plans.
Tatiana has taught English professionally (in the classroom) for nearly a decade. She's got herself a CELTA certification, and a two types associate degrees.
Unfortunately, this isn't enough for South Korea, who not only requires a passport from Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa to obtain the proper employment visa, but a diploma from a four-year bachelor's program at recognized university in an English-speaking country.
Note: A more robust listing of the governmental hoops that need to be jumped through can be found here and here. Certified copies of police and medical reports are just among some of the conditions now in play, as well as notarization services that must be conducted at a South Korea embassy or consulate.
South Korea has a great demand for native English speakers willing to teach. It is common for institutions to provide round-trip airfare for a one-year contract and a rent-free apartment. It should be noted that since March 15th 2008 rules for visas have changed. Prospective teachers are now required to undergo a medical, provide a criminal background check, provide an original degree certificate and sealed transcripts. On arriving in Korea teachers will have to undergo a further medical check before they receive their ARC card.
I suppose I always imagined that Tatiana's experience and certification would make her more marketable as a teacher compared to me, regardless of my graduate degree and English as my first language. Sadly, this appears to be incorrect. Although not having a teaching certification limits some job prospects for me, not a having an undergraduate degree seems to close the door on opportunities on a global level for Tatiana—not just in South Korea, where you can really bank some money on a modest budget.
This leaves us in a rather awkward situation, and certainly changes our long-term plans a bit. Depending on how our financial situation unfolds, there's a possibility that Tatiana (and Aidric) might have leave my side. Neither Tatiana nor I wish this, and jointly working in South Korea was only an idea, but I suppose we'll just have to see how far we can stretch our cash reserves and what we're each comfortable doing to resupply them when the time comes.