Wednesday 31 October 2012

Cool Link: Preschool Express

Continuing on with the preschool theme that we've had for a while, we've got Preschool Express. I really like this site because of its colours and the fact that it's well organised.

On the left they have stations, such as party, toddler, games, food, numbers, music, stories, and a whole lot more. In the middle is the What's New Section. Right now it's what's new for fall. Then on the right you have more info about the what's new section, such as books picks for fall, fall patterns, and plan ahead calendars. If you're teaching kids or young learners, you're going to love this site!

Got an idea for a cool link?
Email me with your cool link, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.


Tuesday 30 October 2012

Quick Tip: Have Fillers Ready for Your Classes

Fillers are what every experienced teacher has up their sleeves. Just like you should use warmers in the beginning of your lessons and coolers at the end, you should have a couple fillers in mind in case you end early.

If you've taken a TEFL course, your course instructors told you about fillers. You never can tell if you'll have enough material for your class and fillers are used in case you finish early.

Games and other fun activities are often used. Fillers should be short, easy, and fun activities that can be done at the end of class if you have a little time left over. Developing Teachers has a whole bunch of ideas, so be sure to check them out!

Got an idea for a quick tip?
Email me with your quick tip, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.


Sunday 28 October 2012

Hot Topic: Getting Free Language Lessons

Sometimes the school where you're working will offer you free language lessons. This often happens in Asia, particularly in China. They advertise free housing, flights and occasionally free lunches and Chinese classes. While it sounds nice, there's often a catch.

In my experience, the free Chinese classes are often given by another teacher. Usually a young, new teacher with no experience teaching Chinese whatsoever. Another problem is that the teacher may not speak much English. So little English along with little Chinese as a foreign language experience often leaves both you and the teacher frustrated. In addition, the lessons are often cancelled due to the other teacher being "busy".

I've had free Chinese classes in two of the schools where I worked. The first was very difficult, the teacher was the school secretary, had no idea how to teach Chinese and had no English. There were 3 of us in the class. Class was often cancelled. The second was better. The teacher was a young English teacher. She had no Chinese teaching experience, but was very patient and I was the only one in the class. It's often the luck of the draw.

What do you think?
Have you ever been given free language classes? How did they work out for you?

Got an idea for a hot topic?
Email me with your hot topic, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.


Thursday 25 October 2012

Job Site: TEFL Jobs

EDIT: This website hasn't been working lately. Hopefully it'll be fixed soon.

TEFL Jobs compiles all the TEFL jobs on the web into one convenient search engine. Simply enter the city or country where you want to work and you'll get results.

Granted, some of those results might be years old, but you'll get results nonetheless. I find it pretty useful and suggest you check it out.

Got an idea for a job site?
Email me with your job site, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.


Wednesday 24 October 2012

Cool Link: Preschool Education

Teach preschoolers? Then take a look at Preschool Education. They've got info such as ABCs, arts and crafts, circle time, drama, games, math, music, recipes, science, snacks, themes, and more.

It's pretty well organised and updated often. Their material works well with PCs as well as Macs so you won't have any compatibility issues. They have 3 sister sites as well that are worth looking at: Ask the Preschool Teacher, Preschool Coloring Book, and Preschool Printables.

Got an idea for a cool link?
Email me with your cool link, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.


Tuesday 23 October 2012

Quick Tip: Have Students Grade Themselves

More often than not even though teachers are trying to create student centred classrooms, they often fail when it comes to assessment. The teacher is seen as having all the answers and the final word over grades. Try switching things up in your classroom.

Students can evaluate themselves as well as their peers
You can start small, for example, with a quiz. You could have the answers on the board or on a Power Point and have them check their own work. They just have to see if the answer is correct or not. Later on you could move to more open ended questions. You'll find that this is very rewarding for both the students and the teacher. The students are given more responsibility and the teacher has less grading to do.

Got an idea for a quick tip?
Email me with your quick tip, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.


Monday 22 October 2012

Cool Link: Edu Place

Mainly used to supplement Houghton Mifflin Harcourt materials, there are other resources on Edu Place that might interest you. It targets preschool to Grade 6. If you're teaching in a Spanish speaking country, you might want to check out their Bilingual Resources.

They also have interesting things such as graphic organisers, spelling lists, current events, monthly themes, outline maps and a whole lot more. In addition to resources for teachers, they also have things for student and families. So if you teach children or young learners, check out their site.

Got an idea for a cool link?
Email me with your cool link, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.


Sunday 21 October 2012

Hot Topic: Dating Your Students

Every once in a while you run across a couple that met in the classroom: one was the teacher and the other was the student. While dating or marrying your student isn't illegal, you should be careful if you're going to go down this road.

I wouldn't advocate dating your students while you're their teacher. There's too many problems that could arise because of this, such as grades. If you want to date ex-students, that's an entirely different matter. It could be an issue if they're still students at your school and studying with another teacher. If you decide to date ex-students, just be careful about what might happen.

What do you think?
Have you ever dated a student or an ex-student? Did you run into any problems?

Got an idea for a hot topic?
Email me with your hot topic, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.


Wednesday 17 October 2012

Cool Link: Preschool by Stormie

Although it's mainly created in order to sell material, there are still free resources available on Preschool by Stormie.

There is information about teaching prep and a potpourri of ideas. Things such as behavious management, bulletin boards, schedules, health and safety, parent / teacher conferences and staff relationships are just a few of the ideas covered in the teaching prep section. The potpourri of ideas includes topics such as birthdays, technology in the classroom, art, fine motor skills, math, science, music and more.

Got an idea for a cool link?
Email me with your cool link, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.


Tuesday 16 October 2012

Quick Tip: Have Students Create Assessments

With the push towards more student centred classrooms comes the push towards student created assessment. While some teachers think that students will give themselves straight As, this couldn't be further from the truth. Of course you will have some students like that, but many of them will be tougher on themselves and their fellow students than you will be.

The next time a paper or project has to be graded, try creating a rubric as a class. It's a good way to get input from students and see what they think is important. You can help them out if necessary. When time comes for grading, have them grade their own work or another student's. It allows students to become more autonomous and take more responsibility for their learning.

Got an idea for a quick tip?
Email me with your quick tip, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.


Sunday 14 October 2012

Hot Topic: Opening Your Own School

After working in a country for a certain number of years, many teachers dream of opening their own school as a way of moving up the TEFL ladder. Perhaps they have gotten married to a local or simply like living there. Opening your own English school isn't as easy as it may seem.

You have to deal with local laws, rent, write a curriculum, hire teachers, deal with parents, and promote your programmes. Some people may get rich. However, most people may make more than the average teacher, but the headaches, stress, and long hours might not be worth it.

If you're looking at opening your own school, be sure to do your research. Also be aware that the first couple of years in business are tough. And don't forget: never compete on price. You'll never win if you do that!

What do you think?
Have you considered opening your own school? Are there lots of schools owned by foreigners where you live?

Got an idea for a hot topic?
Email me with your hot topic, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.


Saturday 13 October 2012

You Can Now Do the Delta Online

Not to be confused with the Distance Delta which is run through IH and has a 2 week orientation session or a 6 week session depending on whether you choose the Integrated or Blended one, the Online Delta is through Bell and seems you can do it completely online.

Not too much info on the site, but it looks like online education is finally getting accepted. First the Distance Delta, then the Online CELTA (which is really blended, not completely online) and now the Online Delta.

Just doing the modules isn't enough. You'll have to take the exams in June or December and pass all 3 in order to get the Delta.

The 3 Modules
Mod 1: Language and theory. You have to pass a written exam which is composed of two papers, each lasts 1.5 hours. It's externally assessed. It's cheaper to do Module 1 with the Distance Delta.

Mod 2: Practical teaching as well as reading and research. This is the tough, expensive one. You'll have to nominate a local tutor to assess 4 of your classes during the course and then pay for the Cambridge assessor for the teaching exam, which might include their flight, local food and transport. There's more info on the Distance Delta site. It's cheaper to do Module Two with the Online Delta.

Mod 3: Choose a specialism such as Young Learners, Business English, English for Academic Purposes, ESOL with Literacy Needs and Exam teaching with guided reading for 3 further Delta specialisms: Teaching One-to-one, Teaching Monolingual classes and Teaching Multilingual classes, ELT Management with specialisms in Academic Management, Human Resources Management, Customer Service or Marketing. You're assessed on a 4000-4500 essay. It's cheaper to do Module Two with the Online Delta.

What Bell Says
I emailed Bell with a couple of questions. You can find my questions and their answers below.

1. Regarding module 1, I just wanted to double check on the price, the distance Delta is £400 and the online Delta is listed at £756. Does this include the exam fee or any other additional material that the distance Delta doesn't?   
We offer Module One as an online course with no face-to-face content. This is referred to either “distance” or “online” Delta. Our M1 course at £756 (2012 rate) includes intensive personalised tutor support to ensure that participants have the best possible chances of passing the exam. Many other course providers who offer M1 courses for less only offer generic advice rather than personalised tutor feedback. For 2013 we also plan to offer a version of the course at around £500 which will offer more generic exam tips and feedback to help participants prepare for the exam. Our course fees do not include Cambridge ESOL exam fees.
2. For module 2, I'd have to nominate a RDT, what are the requirements for the RDT?
You should nominate somebody as an RDT who has got teacher training experience. I’ve attached the RDT job description for your information.

3. I understand that for module 2 there is a teaching assessment, who would do that? There is a BC near me, would someone there be able to assess me or would I have to pay for someone to fly over from Europe?
The external assessor has to be done by a Cambridge ESOL approved Delta assessor. On the current list provided by ESOL one assessor is listed for South Korea, so it shouldn’t be necessary to fly somebody in from another country, provided the assessor in Seoul is available. This might require some flexibility regarding dates/times of the assessment and unfortunately we cannot give any guarantee that a local assessor can be found for you, although of course we will do the best we can to arrange this. Please be aware that you will be responsible for bearing any travel/accommodation costs for the assessor.

What People Are Saying
You can see the discussion on Dave's here. Below you can find what some posters have said about it.

Denim-Maniac states that "25% fail rate of module 1 in 2010 - Thats according to a Delta report dated June 2010. Cambridge states that you should have a minimum of three years teaching experience.

Debatable. With over 15 years experience at the time I took the course, I was learning things I had never heard of. I think it is not so much the time you have been teaching, but more how much knowledge you have of i.e. discourse analysis, pragmatics, CLIL, intrinsic motivation, summative assessment etc. If you know little to none of this, you will have to cram-read it all during the course, and you will have to summarise all that crammed-in knowledge into well written, well-informed sentences, answers etc. on the exam.

Therefore three years is probably o.k., as long as you are ready and able to speed read and absorb things you have never encountered before. So I personally would recommend a minimum of five years experience and recommend you take the course after having read at least one book on varied linguistic related topics and teaching methodology."

Teacher in Rome says, "I did the precursor of the DELTA with no teaching experience to speak of, and without a CELTA. I passed with Distinction, first time, but, and it's a huge but, I had lots of luck on my side: I could study full-time for 9 months. I didn't have to worry about paying rent, or having to attend job interviews. I came straight from uni and had reasonably good study skills. I could absorb large amounts of info. I was young, with plenty more brain cells than I have now. And it was mostly face-to-face, meaning I had the support of  an excellent tutor and all my classmates.

When I failed my first assignment, my tutor went through it with me, line by line, and gave me more reading to do, tips to pass assignments, and so on. Each assignment we did, in fact, we had extensive feedback and were shown how to write the "perfect" answer for that type of question.

Encouragement was a huge part, too. The first TP I ever did in front of the class was a complete disaster. When asked for feedback, my classmates said, "well you've got a lovely manner". So the content was crap, but at least I had a good starting block. The techniques are things I can work on.

Knowing I had at least some of the raw materials gave me hope. - I did nothing else but read, research, TP. No social life to speak of  and no "distractions" - my examiner took a like to one of my examined lessons and gave me a distinction. Very fortunately for me, as he's a lexical expert and my overall aim was vocabulary acquisition.

I knew there was nothing else / better that I could do right at that moment, and I had a lot riding on it. Failing was not an option. I had no other safety net - no parental nest to return to, benefits that were going to run out after those nine months, no savings, and friends that were as poor as me."

To do the distance / online DELTA I think you need a lot more than just x years' experience. Support, encouragement, access to a specialist library, and a very good reason for wanting it are all important.

Sashadroogie reminds people that, "Support, in the form of a quality school which has well-organised classes, is essential. Especially for the observed lessons, naturally. But also for providing an environment where a Delta trainee can get help when they struggle. Help from people more qualified than they are, and who possibly did the Delta themselves."


Friday 12 October 2012

Review of Greenback Tax Services

Updated 21 June 2015

About My Tax Situation
I'd like to think that I know a decent amount about expat taxes. At least my tax situation. I wrote a tax guide for overseas Americans and am often emailed to answer questions about taxes as well as getting PMs from users on Dave's Korean board. With that being said last year I decided to treat myself. Most teachers have straightforward tax situations. They simply file the 2555EZ along with the 1040 long form and maybe the FBAR (now FinCen Report 114). My situation was a bit more complicated so I decided to get an accountant.

I'd spent years looking for tax accountants. Type in expat tax accountants and you'll find plenty who will charge you expat fees. As a TEFL teacher, I couldn't afford to pay $1000 and up for my taxes to be done. I found one for teachers, but their waiting list is years long and I still haven't gotten on it.

I had income from three different continents: one from my job, one from self employment income that I earned online, and one from rental income. I had also closed my paltry retirement accounts in order to pay for school, and had a baby. I'd had enough with spending hours and hours researching new tax laws, like the lovely FBAR one. To make things harder, I never learnt any of this in school. To me it would be like turning 16 and being handed a driver's license with no practice, theory, or experience driving and then being fined for breaking the rules. That's a bit like taxes in the US. You're never told about them in school, but when you start earning money you'd better file and file correctly or you could be fined or thrown in jail. Lovely.

About Greenback Tax Services
I heard about Greenback Tax Services through a friend here in Korea who I gave advice to about getting an F visa in Korea without getting married to a Korean. He has a business here in Korea and raved about them, so I decided to check them out. They were started by a couple who had lived all over and couldn't find good, affordable expat tax accountants. They are both accountants and now make their living from their business they started and blog about their lives abroad. I got in touch with them at the end of 2011 and they sent me lots of paperwork to be filled out and I was on my way. You can find out about expats who use Greenback at their Expat Opinion Survey. Below you can find my review of their services. I was not paid or compensated in any way for this review. I gave them a score between 0-5, with 5 being the highest. I used Greenback Tax Services for my 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 tax returns.

Speed: 4
Since I had emailed them at the end of the year, I didn't have all the docs I needed to submit since those often come out in February. I filled in as much as I could and told them that I would send them the docs once I got them.

Communication: 4
I emailed them and was put in touch with Kevin who was my personal accountant. Kevin answered emails very quickly, often within the same day I sent them. I'm a bit over-anxious and would press send too soon and realise that I found out the answer to my question and would email Kevin again. Despite this, Kevin never complained and always answered my questions.

Price: 5
$349 (now $374 in 2013) for my federal taxes which were 18 pages long, used a couple forms I had never heard of because I had never had rental income before. It was a flat fee which is great, because there are so many places that charge you by the form. Many of the forms are included in their flat fee, however, if you need additional forms, here is their price list. Ok, I know that back home you can probably get taxes done for about $50, but I went to two tax accountants in the US when I first started living abroad and was told that I didn't even have to file. Incidentally I didn't listen to them, you have to file. Even if you die, someone has to file on your behalf. You may not have to pay, but you still have to file. Period.

Quality: 5
I found out about a little known loophole that allows me to claim Head of Household status that you can see on the IRS website. Kevin was also able to e-file on my behalf, something that I was never able to do on my own since I was living abroad and the IRS wouldn't allow me to e-file. If you're going to be audited, they will also help you, I'm not sure if they charge extra for this or not. And they also offer a refer-a-friend programme: A $25 Amazon gift certificate or $50 off your next return.

Professionalism: 5
They always treated me well and with respect. They were very cordial. 

Overall Review: 4.6
I'd use them again in a heartbeat. I recommended them on Dave's as well as Raoul's China Saloon. I'm glad I found a good, affordable expat tax service and would recommend them to others. My only complaint, if you could call it that, is that they don't seem to offer lower fees for returning customers or for customers who recommend them to a friend. Maybe they could do that :)

EDIT: They have started offering an early bird special and a discount for returning customers. I got both when I filed in 2014.


Thursday 11 October 2012

Job Site: TEFL dot com

One of the oldest sites in teaching English is TEFL dot com. They've got job offers from around the world as well as other resources to help you get a job. Some of the neat resources they have is a city cost guide, your online resume, information on starting out as a TEFL teacher, teacher training, and more.

Got an idea for a job site?
Email me with your job site, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.


Wednesday 10 October 2012

Cool Link: PreKinders

If you teach young learners, then take a look at PreKinders. It's full of resources for Pre-K teachers.They have material for themes, math, literacy, science, art, fine motor skills, music, worksheets, technology, assessment, cooking, activity centres, teaching tips, Christian resources, and miscellaneous tips for the classroom.

It's got everything you need all in one place. It's easy to navigate and has a simple theme. There aren't flashy adverts either, just good resources. It's no wonder they've won awards for their site.

Got an idea for a cool link?
Email me with your cool link, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.


Tuesday 9 October 2012

Quick Tip: Say Thank You at Work

All to often it's us versus them and this can create lots of problems in the work place. Your boss is often stuck in the middle having to deal with angry parents, complaining students, and upset teachers.

Even though you may not agree on everything, you should realise that your boss has a lot to deal with. Why not try saying thank you to your boss for all their hard work and effort? I guarantee it'll bring a smile to their face and make their day. An added plus? You'll be on their good side.

Got an idea for a quick tip?
Email me with your quick tip, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.


Monday 8 October 2012

Cool Link: Discovery Education

Discovery Education has resources for administrators, teachers, parents and students. Students can get help with their homework or check out some of their neat programmes they have such as Young Scientist Challenge or Explore the Blue.

They also have some great resources for teachers. Whether you teach young learners or high schoolers, there's something useful that you could use in your class. They've got resources for science, math, social studies and English. They also have lesson plans, worksheets, tips for teen drivers, brain boosters, and a whole lot more. So whether you're looking for material to use in class or resources to help your students study at home, be sure to check out Discovery Education.

Got an idea for a cool link?
Email me with your cool link, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.


Sunday 7 October 2012

Hot Topic: Tattoos and Piercings at Work

Work casual usually refers to clothes but some people are taking it a step further and showing their tattoos or piercings off at work. I've worked with people who have tattoos in visible places, such as their arms, and at the beginning have covered their tattoos with long sleeves or sweatbands. Some of them continue to cover them while others opt to start uncovering them.

In some cultures such as Asia tattoos can have negative conotations, such as being in a gang, mafia, or killing people. Some swimming pools, saunas, and gyms don't let people in who have tattoos. Things are changing though and it's no longer as taboo as it was to have tattoos.

Piercings are a bit easier as you can take them out or put in piercings that are less visible, such as studs or retainers. Some piercings, such as ear piercings or nose piercings might not cause any problems, while others, such as lip, eyebrow, or tongue piercings might.

In addition, some employers may pass you over for promotions due to your tattoos or piercings. While it's not fair it does happen. 

It's up to you what you decide to do with your tattoos and piercings while you're at work. Some work places are more open to them than others. If you're contemplating getting a tattoo, remember that they are pretty much permanent (laser tattoo removal is possible but painful and expensive) so keep that in mind. After all what looks neat now might not look so good when you're 60 or 70. 

What do you think?
Do you keep your tattoos covered and take your piercings out at work? Have they been as issue?

Got an idea for a hot topic?
Email me with your hot topic, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.


Saturday 6 October 2012

Poll Results September 2012: What's your current salary?

September's poll was "What's your current salary?" Here are the results.
  • less than $500: 25% with 2 votes
  • $501-$1000: 0% with 0 votes
  • $1001-$1500: 12% with 1 vote
  • $1501-$2000: 25% with 2 votes
  • $2001-$2500: 12% with 1 vote 
  • $2501-$3000: 12% with 1 vote 
  • $3001-$3500: 12% with 1 vote 
  • $3501-$4000: 0% with 0 votes
  • $4001-$4500: 0% with 0 votes
  • $4501-$5000: 0% with 0 votes
  • $5000 and up: 0% with 0 votes
Try checking out these articles if you're looking to boost your salary.


Friday 5 October 2012

Cool Link: Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Site

If you're looking for literature to use in the classroom, then take a look at Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Site.

From Pre-K to 9th grade, there's heaps of material and information for you to use. From book reviews to activities to newsletters and resources, there's so much for your students.

This is a collection of reviews of great books for kids, ideas of ways to use them in the classroom and collections of books and activities about particular subjects, curriculum areas, themes and professional topics.

Got an idea for a cool link?
Email me with your cool link, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.


Thursday 4 October 2012

Job Site: Teach Abroad

Part of the GoAbroad dot com website, Teach Abroad has jobs around the world. You can choose a country, region, hot jobs, or popular cities and countries.While it's great that they have all these search options the bad news is that not all of these options have jobs available.

Some of them such as Andorra or American Samoa just have information about the country or adverts for TEFL certification programmes. However, despite that, it's still a good job search site that you should check out if you're looking for TEFL or TESL jobs.

Got an idea for a job site?
Email me with your job site, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.


Wednesday 3 October 2012

Cool Link: The Perpetual Preschool

With over 12,000 free ideas for parents and teachers of young learners, you're sure to find something useful at The Perpetual Preschool. Preschools often use themes and here you can find daily themes as well as holiday themes. There are also some great activity centre ideas and games as well.

Got an idea for a cool link?
Email me with your cool link, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.


Tuesday 2 October 2012

Quick Tip: Watch Other Teachers Teach

Some employers make teacher observations a part of their professional development. As such they might observe you and give you feedback on your classes. While this is good it's also nice for you to be able to observe other teachers.

Some places use microteaching, which was started by Harvard University. This is good since you can observed and be observed by your peers. If you don't use microteaching where you work you might want to suggest using it. If that's not possible, try to at least observe your fellow teachers once in a while. It'll help give you some new teaching ideas and allow you to give contructive criticism to your peers. 

Got an idea for a quick tip?
Email me with your quick tip, name, and website (if you have one) and I'll post it ASAP.


Monday 1 October 2012

Teaching with a Criminal Record

Updated 28 March 2017

Note: I have never been detained, arrested, or charged with anything; I don't have a criminal record. After over a decade of teaching I have run across people who have records and have managed to get visas. I am not a lawyer nor do I work in immigration. Please do your own research and contact people as necessary. Here's all I know.

Some countries require you to have a clean criminal background check (CBC) before being able to teach. Others will forgive petty crimes, like under-aged drinking. This article gives information about those with petty crimes. If you have major crimes, such as child molestation, rape, murder, armed robbery, you can forget about teaching, at home or abroad.

People Who Have Gotten Visas Criminal Record
These people are friends or friends of friends who have successfully gotten a visa even though they've had a criminal record.
  • American, assaulted a federal officer got a Korean visa: He was arrested for assaulting a federal officer 20 years ago during a protest. According to him the officer pulled him away and he stepped on his foot. This showed up on his FBI record. He hadn't had any problems since then and was actually studying to become a pastor. When he handed over his FBI check to the Korean immigration officer, he barely looked at it and simply renewed his visa. My friend asked the immigration officer about it and he laughed saying that many middle aged male Koreans have been arrested due to all the protests in Korea during the 80s.
  • British, arrested for drunk driving got a Korean visa: He simply wrote a letter saying that he wouldn't get a Korean driver's license and promised not to drive in Korea.
  • American, possession of alcohol as a minor and a DUI as an adult, got a Korean visa: She apologised and said she learnt her lesson and that she wouldn't be re-offending.
  • American, arrested for possession of marijuana got a Korean visa: He was arrested nearly 10 years ago and was able to get a Korean visa.
Here's more info about Korea. Some countries may have you list any felonies you have committed on the visa application form. Still others may have you sign a document stating that you have a clean background with no criminal record.

Some may require you to get your CBC legalised at the embassy or consulate, and other require you to get it apostillised. Apostillisation is cheap, fast, and easy in the US. It should cost you less than twenty dollars and can be done by mail. Here's a list of the Secretary of State offices. In England, it's rather expensive, about a hundred pounds or so and you may have to run around finding a lawyer. Either way, plan ahead as things may go wrong.

Steps to Take if You Have a Criminal Record
1. Misdemeanors that happened over 7 years ago may not show up. It varies by state, but 7 years seems to be the most common. Some states only report recent convictions and some keep everything on record permanently. The best way to find out is to ask a friend in law enforcement to run your name. If you get fingerprinted and it's been less than 7 years it will add another 7 years to whatever time is left.

2. See if you can get the record expunged. You will have to show that you're not guilty. If you committed a misdemeanor before you became a legal adult you might also be able to get it expunged. Some countries automatically delete misdemeanors for minors.
  • In Australia, they have the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. This means that if you were convicted of an offense (but given less than 30 months in prison) then after 10 years it would not show up on your criminal record for overseas purposes as long as you have not been convicted again within that 10 year period.
  • In the US your juvenile record (crimes that occurred when you were under the age of 18) will not show up on your record. Exceptions would be felonies: such as rape, murder, etc.
3. If the crime was a misdemeanor (such as DUI / DWI, shoplifting, underage drinking or possession of a small amount of illegal substances) it might not matter at all. You may still be able to get a job and a visa. You should check with the embassy of the country that you want to teach in.
  • If you broke the law a long time ago and have been a law abiding citizen since, you may not have a problem. Remember that if you have to declare on an immigration form or a visa application about your criminal past you should delicately broach the subject to your prospective employer or recruiter. There have been cases of teachers getting work permits despite having DUIs.
4. If you can't get your record expunged then you can still teach abroad. Here are some countries that will and will not accept those with petty criminal backgrounds or that do not require a criminal background check to teach. This is not a complete list and is based on info from teachers who have taught in these countries. In conclusion, try to erase your criminal record if possible. If not, then ask the embassy if it would matter and be up front with your prospective employer.

5. Felonies may be an issue, depending on what it was and when it happened. In the first example above, I do know an American who had a felony on his FBI check and still was able to get a Korean visa. Granted, it was over 20 years ago and it was due to a protest, but he still got the visa.

Where you can go
Here's some info about where you may be able to teach. Keep in mind that rules change all the time and it depends on the immigration office you get.

You CANNOT teach here

  • Czech Republic
  • Poland 
  • Saudi (If you're on a work visa (though some people have just had the police sign the Saudi form for a local police check) 
  • Turkey

You MAY be able to teach here

  • Korea (You might have to write a letter of apology)
  • Central and Eastern Europe
  • Middle East (Some countries require a criminal background check)
  • International schools
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

You CAN teach here

  • China
  • EU (Though if you have an EU passport you shouldn't be asked for a CBC)
  • Indonesia
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latin America
  • Mexico
  • Peru
  • Russia
  • Spain
  • Saudi (If you're on a business visa)
  • Spain
  • UK
  • Ukraine


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