June 13, 2008

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.

Comments:

The United States

Des

June 16th, 2008

We South Koreans have high standards! =)

China

Zictor

April 1st, 2009

Not so much.

I heard this story twice: first time from a Korean classmate who was studying Chines with me in Beijing and second time while backpacking through China, from a British English teacher in Korea. Here it goes:

Korea used to be like China, any white moron with a highschool degree could get a job teaching English.

At some point in 2004 or 2005, a video came up on the internet. In said video, you can see a group of white guys (English teachers) with a bunch of Korean girls. They are basically hanging out in someone's appartment. The girls are drinking, smoking and cursing (so are the guys, for that matter). I believe there was some making out too. At a certain point of the video, one of the white morons releases the following pearl: "That's the only thing Korea is good for, good money and easy women".

The video outraged the Koreans, who on top of very conservative are very nationalistic too. So they decided to kick out all the bums and try to increase a little more the requirements to be an English teacher.

For the situation in China, go to this link: http://www.lostlaowai.com/teaching-in-china-overview

Ryan gives a pretty good idea of the lay of the land.

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