Thursday, 30 January 2014

Hot Topic: Reliability and Validity in the Classroom

Reliability and validity are used in a variety of situations in the classroom:
Reliability
Something is reliable when you do the same procedure again and get the same score. So if you give a student a speaking test and they get a 80% and then you give the same student the same test a week later and the student gets a 70%, something is not reliable. Perhaps the test was flawed, or the student had a bad day, or you were stricter than usual. The goal is to get the same, or nearly the same result, no matter how many times the test is performed and no matter who gives the test. Here is some more info about reliability.

Validity
Something is valid if it measures what it's supposed to measure. Now let's take that same speaking test. If you give that test and use it to score a student on their writing, it's not valid. Here's some more info about validity.

Reliability and Validity
These do not go hand-in-hand. Just because something is reliable does not mean it's valid and vice versa.

From fortbendrc.com
3 Ideas to Help
  1. One thing that I do, that may draw criticism from others, is that I don't learn by students' names. By doing this I can ensure not to show favouritism and to be objective when grading.
  2. Rubrics can also be useful when you're grading subjective items, such as paragraphs or essays.
  3. Proofreading and asking for imput is very important. We may not want someone else looking over our work. Maybe we think that we don't need any input or we don't want to bother someone, however, it is essential that you have at least one person check what you've done. Looking over a test you've created, how you're grading students, or what they think about the feedback you've given students is one great way to keep you on your toes and help you with your professional development.

TEFL Tips recommends:

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The Best TEFL Jobs with Worldwide Employers

Here's the information for the best employers that offer jobs in more than one location for The Best TEFL Jobs in the World. If you know of any other good ones, please let me know by emailing me at naturegirl321@yahoo.com
  • Bell English: but not Bell English in Poland
  • British Council: You often have to work long hours and teach kids, but they have good benefits. 
  • Corporate: Teach English to corporate clinics. They're often highly motivated and the pay is outstanding. 
  • English First: Similar to Wall Street Institute, no one is on the fence about EF. If you've got a couple years experience, you can apply for a DOS (Director of Study) job.
  • Gulf Oil and Gas: Mainly for the Middle East 
  • International House: though I've been told the one in Poland isn't that good. Good professional developlment opportunities as well.  
  • IELTS examiner for writing or speaking: There are lots of jobs for China on Dave's ESL Cafe. They will not get you a visa and examining usually happens on the weekends. For other countries, try contacting the centres listed on the IELTS website. Persistence pays off. Edit: It seems the British Council will be phasing out part-time weekend examining.
  • SEAMEO (Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation): they have good teacher training opportunities.
  • Technical Writers: Teaching writing to highly paid writers in the field of technical communications. These are usually very advanced English speakers and writers who nevertheless need training to write at a U.S. or U.K. standard of quality. Such writers typically live in India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
  • Wall Street Institute: You'll either love 'em or hate 'em, but they do pay pretty well.

TEFL Tips recommends:

Friday, 24 January 2014

3 Great Ideas for Teaching Advanced EFL Students

Teaching extremely advanced students can be a blessing and a curse. Maybe they've worked, studied, or lived abroad. Or attended international schools. Either way, they're pretty much fluent in English, yet you're still supposed to teach them.

They seem to understand everything and some of them act like they have nothing else to learn. At the same time, you can really get into the nitty gritty of the language by teaching them slang, idioms, and such things that are difficult to teach less advanced students.

Keep Track of Progress
With advanced students it's hard to see that they're making progress. Have them keep a journal or a list of goals that they want to accomplish by the end of class. If they want to use a certain idiom, they should jot down when they use it.

Write essays
While technology has helped people greatly, it has also taken the focus off writing. Being able to write essays will help put you ahead of the game. Here are some great essay guides.

Formal vs informal English
Usually one will come easier to them than the other. If they can easily use informal English, challenge them to take it up a step and be more formal and vice versa.

TEFL Tips recommends:

Monday, 20 January 2014

The Best TEFL Jobs Online

Updated 15 November 2015

Here's the information for the best online jobs in The Best TEFL Jobs in the World. I only have two employers for online jobs. If you know of any other good ones, please let me know by emailing me at naturegirl321@yahoo.com

You could also cut out the middle man and venture out on your own. Finding your own students and working for yourself has lots of benefits. Check out how to teach English online and make money for info on how to get students, sample lesson plans, and more.

  1. IELTS Podcast: Contact ben@ieltspodcast.com You must be an ex-IELTS Examiner, ex-British Council worker with a DELTA. Minimum of one hour a day, 5 days a week. You'll be correcting essays and responding to emails. Pay is about $30 an hour. In your cover letter please state previous IELTS experience and what IELTS stands for.
  2. Open English: They've been featured on CNN Espanol and have about $60million of funding 50,000+ students, and 500+ teachers. Starting salary is around $9 an hour, but you're able to get raises pretty quickly. They've been recommended by BadBeagleBad and Phil_K from ELT World 
  3. Online TOEFL Writing for Peruvian students: They need people to help prep students for TOEFL and Cambridge exams. You need to teach students, encourage discussion, as well as read a couple of ELT articles a month. They pay $15-25 an hour. To apply, please send us your CV to jackievillaf@hotmail.com
  4. Storivers: They need teachers for English, Chinese, and Japanese. You'll get paid 15,000-18,000 KRW for every 30 minute class. You must have a BA, be a native speaker, have a computer with webcam and fast internet, and be legal to work in Korea. Contact them at manage@storivers.com

TEFL Tips recommends:

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Reflective, Expository, and Narrative Essays

From http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Writing.svg
In the last post I mentioned that there are many different types of essays that teachers may ask students to write and discussed the first three type of essay mentioned below. In this post we're going to look at the last three types.
  • Compare and contrast
  • Descriptive
  • Persuasive
  • Reflective 
  • Expository
  • Narrative
Reflective Essays
One of the most popular tasks used in colleges and universities is reflective essay writing, where students are required to recollect and analyze a given event and then write about its impact on their personality. This allows students to use their previous knowledge and combine it with what they have learned in class. Reflective essays are on the opposite spectrum of expository essays.

While reflective essays often talk about past events and how they've impacted you, they also discuss future plans and goals. Make sure you have clear transitions between the past, present, and future. Since reflective essays are centered around your life, it's acceptable to use personal pronouns.

*Tip* Jot down a brief outline before writing your essay to help you organise the events that happened. Using time order makes it easier to follow. Transition words, such as "first, second, next" are very useful when trying to organise reflective essays.

Expository Essays
Expository writing requires that whatever claim is made in your essay, it should be backed up with facts. As matter of fact, expository essays comprise other essay types too, including compare and contrast essays, cause and effect essay, and so on. Since expository essays are an umbrella term for a variety of essays, most college students will come across these at some point during their college career.

As mentioned above, expository essays are on the opposite spectrum of reflective essays. Expository essays involved just the facts. As such you should avoid using personal pronouns and use the third person. Be direct and get to the point while presenting the facts in a logical manner.

*Tip* Be sure to cite your sources correctly. Different professors require different ways of giving credit for what you've read. APA and MLA are popular amongst colleges. These change often so be sure to read up on the latest guidelines before you hand your essay in. Double check your facts when you're writing a reflective essay. It's easy for fact and fiction to become blurred.

Narrative Essays
These types of essays tell a story. While often personal it can also be something that happened to someone else. Narrative essays allow for a lot more freedom that other types of essays, however, there are still some things that you should keep in mind. You should organise how you want your essay to be written. Many people use chronological order when writing narrative essays, but this isn't required.

In addition, you should add variety to your sentence structure. Although personal pronouns are permitted, you shouldn't start every sentence with one. Using compound, complex, and simple sentences will also help add variety. Don't forget to involve the five senses in your narrative essay as well.

*Tip* Remember that narrative essays are still essays and as such there should be a reason for writing. Make sure you have a point that is being made or a lesson that is being learnt. Don't just leave the reader hanging; they do need to have a clear beginning, middle, and end.

TEFL Tips recommends:

Compare & Contrast, Descriptive, and Persuasive Essays

Image source
Updated 20 January 2017

Writing essays are very popular assignments for university students. There are many different types of essays that teachers may ask students to write. Below you will find six common types of essays. In this post we're going to look at the first three types of essays and in the next post we'll look at the last three.
  • Compare and contrast
  • Descriptive
  • Persuasive
  • Reflective 
  • Expository
  • Narrative
Compare and Contrast Essays
One of the essay types that will help you hone your analytical, observational and critical thinking skills is called a compare and contrast essay. You can find a lot of free compare and contrast essay samples on AcademicHelp.net! This type of essay shows similarities and differences between the subjects. You usually choose one side and explain why one of the ideas is better than the other.

There are two types of ways to write compare and contrast essays: subject and point by point. When you use the first way you compare and contrast each subject by itself. For example, if you're comparing apples and oranges, you'd first discuss apples and then oranges. Don't forget to discuss both subjects in the introduction and conclusion.

Remember to have balanced arguments. Even though you might clearly favor one of the subjects, you still have to present the other subject fairly. Many people have issues with this and it's helpful to ask other people for their opinions if you get stuck.

*Tip* It's useful to use a Venn Diagram when writing compare and contrast essays. By doing this you can easily see what the similarities and differences are between the two items. It will also show you if you have enough items to write an essay. If it's very difficult to find similarities or differences, you should consider choosing another topic. 

Descriptive Essays  
Another way to train your observation skills is to write descriptive essays. They teach you to notice small details and use 100% of your writing potential. A descriptive essay is similar to painting a picture with words. You should try to use a variety of different senses so that your reader can get a complete feel of what's happening. Try brainstorming and thinking of words for each of the five senses. When you finish you can pick and choose what you want to use in your essay. Although it's tempting to use a number of different sense words in a sentence, be careful not to go overboard as this can sound awkward.

Using adjectives and adverbs are also a great way to make your descriptive essay more interesting. You can find a variety of different words using a thesaurus. Try not to use the same words over and over again. Many people like using "very" and "extremely". Thinking outside the box will help your essay sound better.

*Tip* When writing descriptive essays is to have someone read your essay out loud to you while you close your eyes and listen. By doing this you will completely focus on what you've written. In addition, you will by able to see if your essay truly uses enough descriptive words.

Persuasive Essays 
Also known as argumentative essays, these essays are used to prove you're correct. In order to do this you will have to do research and cite your sources. Make sure you choose a topic that is worth arguing about. When in doubt, ask your teacher if your topic is ok. Some teachers will not allow you to have simple topics, such as school uniforms, nor will they allow you to discuss heavy topics, such as abortion.

When choosing a topic you must be sure that you have solid evidence to back your idea up. It helps to write a list stating what how you can support your main idea. If you find it difficult to find support for your idea you should change it. The evidence that you use to back your idea up should be taken from good sources. Nowadays it's very easy to find information about just about anything online, however, the source may not be reputable. Sites like the BBC and CNN are much better than personal blogs.

*Tip* While it's very tempting to hint that the opposite viewpoint is wrong you want to avoid doing this when writing persuasive essays. Instead you want to prove that you are correct using previous research that has done. It is ok to show that the other point of view does not have enough evidence or that their theories have been proven to be false, but it is not ok to point your finger and say that they're wrong.

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Friday, 17 January 2014

10 Tips for Teaching ESL / EFL to Adults

Teaching adults can be difficult due to their busy lifestyles and reasons for learning English. Here are 10 tips to help you out in your adult English classes.

1. Set goals. Adults, and especially business people, are usually very goal orientated. They know what they want to do this year and often have a five year plan. Use this to your advantage in the classroom and have students set both short and long term goals focusing on their English language learning.

2. Give homework. Adults are busy. They have to deal with work and family and now English, however, you still should give your students homework. Why? It's simple, most people won't review what was done in class unless they have a reason, so give homework. Keep homework short, simple, and relevant. 10 to 30 minutes is all it should take to finish an assignment.

3. Have fun. After working all day or having to get up early for an English class, students want to have fun. Now don't think that by having fun students can't learn. Quite the contrary, students who have fun will be more motivated to learn. Make sure you met your objectives when you have fun in class and both you and your students will enjoy class more. Look into using different learning styles in class.

4. Ask for feedback. It can be hard to ask your students to be candid about your teaching, but it'll help. By asking your students about your classes you can ensure that you're tailoring your lessons to their needs. In addition, they will be more likely to learn if you're teaching something that's useful to them .

5. Make it relevant. Many adults are taking English for a specific reason. Some may want to go to your classes, others are forced to by their superiors. Find out why they are attending your class and what they expect after the class is done. Maybe they want to pass an international exam or be able to give presentations in English. Focus your class on their needs.

6. Focus on technology. Answering emails, talking on the phone, or giving business presentations is one reason why adults take English classes. You might want to look at emails your students have written or have to write. You can also give them hypothetical situations and have them answer an email, role play a telephone conversation, or give a short presentation in class.

7. Give them feedback. Just like you should ask your students for feedback, you should give them feedback. If possible, you could give feedback at the end of each class. If that's not possible, try to give thorough feedback after they hand in assignments, quizzes, tests, or exams.

8. Assess your students. Short quizzes and tests are particularly useful for letting both you and your students know what they've understood and what they have to work on more.

9. Keep a portfolio. By showing your students how their English was at the beginning of class and what it's like a couple months later will help keep your students motivated.

10. Prep for the future. Often your students will have a specific project that they have to complete. Try to work on that in class and help them out as necessary.

Here are some more ideas and lesson plans for teaching adults. 

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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Hot Topic: Schools Need to be More Transparent about the Renewal Process

From homebuilders.com
I recently wrote about what schools require in order to renew your contract. As you can see by the topics I discussed, a lot of it has to do with whether the school likes you or not. That's really hardly fair. Being a good teacher doesn't mean that the school has to like you. Heck, being a good teacher doesn't mean that you have to have fun in class or that your students have to like you either.

Being a good teacher is simply being a good teacher.

If admin is going to put you through a process in order to renew you (or promote you), they need to be more transparent about it. Too often the admin will evaluate you without explaining how they arrived at that number.

Could you imagine if you did that to students? Simply gave them a grade without explaining why? There'd be mass chaos  The same applies to the admin when the grade their teachers.

Though you'll find that the admin won't like this idea very much at all. The reason behind this is that if they have to tell you how you got the grade you'd soon find out that getting renewed is just like getting high student evals: it's a popularity contest.

TEFL Tips recommends:

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Why I Chose Money for The Best TEFL Jobs

Money isn't the end all to job satisfaction. Many people would list self confidence, a challenging attitude, variety, self awareness, knowing your options, a balanced lifestyle, and a purpose. While it's also true that there's more to life than money, most of us are concerned about money.

The employers on the Best TEFL Jobs in the World List were chosen because of salary and benefits. Some people might not have to worry about money for a bit and a few lucky people might not have to worry about money at all, but for most of us, it's a concern. Even if you don't have to worry about money, it's nice to be paid a good salary and not work for a pittance. Contrary to fact it is possible to decent money teaching English. It's also a good thing to have more than one source of income whether online or off line.

All the employers listed are reputable and legit. That is to say, they will get you a proper working visa, pay you on time and what you've been promised, they won't farm you out to other schools, they won't fire you unjustly, and they keep their promises. If you know of any employer listed that is not reputable or legit, please let me know (naturegirl321@yahoo.com) and I will remove them from the list.

Here are some other things people consider besides money when looking for a great job.
Many schools seem to want to give teachers as little as possible and wonder why teachers don't want to put a lot of effort into their jobs. They should look to Google. Consistently rated as the best place to work, Google knows that its employees are worth their weight in gold. Here are some benefits that top companies around the world often give their employees. You can find more info in how schools can motivate teachers.
    Career
    • Academic freedom
    • Challenging work
    • Possibility for advancement
    • Prestigious school
    • Stability
    • Variety
    • Well-developed curriculum and materials
    Outside of Work 
    • Access to a shopping centre, gym, library, meeting rooms, etc.
    • Car and petrol allowance
    • Chance to learn the language  
    • Club membership
    • Dental insurance
    • Flights home for you and your family once a year
    • Free or subsidized childcare
    • Free or heavily discounted international schooling for up to 2 (sometimes 3) children
    • Furnished housing (or a housing and furniture allowance)
    • Good expat community
    • Livable city
    • Long vacations 
    • Medical/health insurance
    • Shipping/baggage allowance
    • Storage allowance
    • Utilities allowance
    • Work-life balance
    Schedule

    • How many days a week you teach
    • Few meetings
    • Few office hours / desk warming hours
    • Little paperwork
    • Number of teaching hours
    • Possibility for overtime
    • Possibility for outside work
    Staff

    • Helpful faculty and staff
    • Honest management
    • Ethical conduct
    • Fair treatment / no favouritism 
    • Getting paid on time
    • Keeping promises
    • No micromanagement
    • Transparent evaluations


    Students
    • Small classes
    • Student motivation
    • Student age
    Workplace
    • Classes are not cancelled often or if they are, enough notice is given
    • Computer (hard to believe that in this day and age some places don't give you a computer).
    • Contract completion bonus
    • Contract re-signing bonus
    • Copyright laws are respected
    • Great retirement package 
    • High (tax-free if possible) salary
    • Free gourmet meals
    • Free gourmet coffee, teas, juices, etc
    • Free snacks (Google states that employees should be within 150 feet of food)
    • Language classes  
    • On the job training
    • Sports facilities: pool, bowling alley, table tennis, screen golf
    • Stock options
    • Teaching facilities 
    • Your own office  
    • Teaching interesting classes  
    • Visa support
    • Yearly bonus
      Some people will say that TEFL jobs are going down the tubes. It's true that in general salaries haven't gone up (the 250,000 that you'll get in Japan or the 2.2 mil that you'll get in Korea now is about the same as what you'd get before) much the past 10-15 years even though prices have gone up. However, there are still well-paying jobs with great benefits out there. While they traditionally are in Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Qatar, Saudi, and UAE you can find good paying jobs in many countries around the world. Check out the Best TEFL Jobs in the World and be sure to read why I decided to make this list.

      TEFL Tips recommends:

      Sunday, 12 January 2014

      What Makes a TEFL Job Good?

      While many teachers believe that there are three main things (money, prestige, and lifestyle) that make a TEFL job good, there three topics can be broken down into many smaller topics. It should come to no surprise that the list here is the same as the one at how schools can motivate teachers. Many schools seem to want to give teachers as little as possible and wonder why teachers don't want to put a lot of effort into their jobs. They should look to Google. Consistently rated as the best place to work, Google knows that its employees are worth their weight in gold. Here are some benefits that top companies around the world often give their employees


      Career (Money, Prestige, Lifestyle)
      • Academic freedom
      • Challenging work
      • Possibility for advancement
      • Prestigious school
      • Stability
      • Variety
      • Well-developed curriculum and materials
      Outside of Work (Money, Prestige, Lifestyle)
      • Access to a shopping centre, gym, library, meeting rooms, etc.
      • Car and petrol allowance
      • Chance to learn the language  
      • Club membership
      • Dental insurance
      • Flights home for you and your family once a year
      • Free or subsidized childcare
      • Free or heavily discounted international schooling for up to 2 (sometimes 3) children
      • Furnished housing (or a housing and furniture allowance)
      • Good expat community
      • Livable city
      • Long vacations 
      • Medical/health insurance
      • Shipping/baggage allowance
      • Storage allowance
      • Utilities allowance
      • Work-life balance
      Schedule (Lifestyle)

      • How many days a week you teach
      • Few meetings
      • Few office hours / desk warming hours
      • Little paperwork
      • Number of teaching hours
      • Possibility for overtime
      • Possibility for outside work
      Staff (Money, Prestige, Lifestyle)

      • Helpful faculty and staff
      • Honest management
      • Ethical conduct
      • Fair treatment / no favouritism 
      • Getting paid on time
      • Keeping promises
      • No micromanagement
      • Transparent evaluations


      Students (Lifestyle)
      • Small classes
      • Student motivation
      • Student age
      Workplace (Money, Prestige, Lifestyle)
      • Classes are not cancelled often or if they are, enough notice is given
      • Computer (hard to believe that in this day and age some places don't give you a computer).
      • Contract completion bonus
      • Contract re-signing bonus
      • Copyright laws are respected
      • Great retirement package 
      • High (tax-free if possible) salary
      • Free gourmet meals
      • Free gourmet coffee, teas, juices, etc
      • Free snacks (Google states that employees should be within 150 feet of food)
      • Language classes  
      • On the job training
      • Sports facilities: pool, bowling alley, table tennis, screen golf
      • Stock options
      • Teaching facilities 
      • Your own office  
      • Teaching interesting classes  
      • Visa support
      • Yearly bonus

      TEFL Tips recommends:

      Saturday, 11 January 2014

      Hot Topic: The Problem With Students Evals

      From stuyspectator.com
      Updated 2 February 2015

      Many schools use students evals as part of their renewal process for teachers. On one hand I think that student evaluations can help teachers. However, on the other hand, it's becoming a popularity contest which portrays students as customers who are always right. I'm not going to re-hash what I wrote about before, but here are some questions that arise:
      • What makes students experts on what a good teacher does or doesn't do? 
      • It's a question of ethics and a shifting of power. Now students hold the power in their hands. Teachers are resorting to pizza parties and giving out grades like candy. 
      • How many students have actually studied teaching methodology that would make them qualified to judge a teacher?  
      • What about validity and reliability?
      I've seen teachers get zeros for speaking English in class. Native English teachers who don't even speak another language. And they get zeros. This means one of two things:
      1. Students can't recognise what English sounds like.
      2. Students are using the evaluations as a way to get revenge.
      Either way, we're in trouble.

      Teachers are middlemen who are judged by the admin as well as the students. Fair game that the students evaluate them back, however, it should be viewed as what it is: students' opinions, which may be correct or incorrect. 

      Now I would love to see the day when admin gets evaluated by teachers. I've heard of schools that get rid of the lowest scoring teachers, but have never ever heard of a school which welcomes teachers to critique the admin. Which is a crying shame when you see how many schools are managed. My opinion is that they're scared of what teachers might say. After all, they are supposed to be the experts and as such do everything perfectly.

      There are many, many ways that schools can motivate teachers. Negatively motivating them by threatening their jobs due to student evaluations should not be one of them. We all know that just because a teacher gets high evaluations doesn't necessarily mean they're a good teacher. Here are some tips I've heard over the years on how to get high student evaluations. Vanderbilt also has some good info about student evals. NPR has an interesting article called, Student Course Evaluations Get An 'F'.

      Take a look at the journal Quality Assurance in Education. A recent article entitled, Return to academic standards: a critique of student evaluations of teacher effectiveness proves just that: high student evaluations are no judge of how effective a teacher is nor at how well students will learn.

      So take that!

      Admin uses them because they're an easy way to put a score on a teacher and get rid of unpopular teachers. ESLCafeLatte expresses his opinion about student evaluation and says "Students should have a voice in instructor retention if there are egregious issues, but not simply to rid themselves of a difficult, challenging, demanding instructor, one who requires students to do the work. When the profit motive trumps academic standards, something is truly wrong." Students are becoming customers and able to hold their teachers'/professors' careers in their hands.

      Note: just because a teacher is unpopular does not mean they're a bad teacher. On the contrary, some teachers are unpopular due to their high standards. Truth be told, if you needed surgery, would you rather be operated on by . . .
      1. The one student who passed a class with a teacher that was given low evals for being strict?
      2. Or be operated on by a student who took a class with a teacher that passed everyone?
      The funny part? I bet the teacher that passed everyone got higher evaluations that the teacher that failed all but one student. Students are getting higher grades than ever before, but don't be fooled into thinking that they're actually learning more.

      I know I'm preaching to the choir here and there's probably nothing I can do about it, but hopefully more teachers will move up within the ranks and become admin themselves and be able to make some necessary changes.

      TEFL Tips recommends:

      Friday, 10 January 2014

      The Best TEFL Jobs in the World

      Why I Made This List
      Over the years I've copied and pasted good TEFL job adverts. My definition of good is that they provide a higher than normal salary, good perks and benefits, and a nice working environment. Many people think that the only good TEFL jobs can be found in the Middle East or Korea. However, I've found good TEFL jobs all over the world.

      I made this list because I like to organise information and help people. Here's the complete list of the best TEFL jobs in the world. By putting it on my blog I'm able to keep all the information in one place, make it easy for people to access, and I can update it easily. I'm hoping other people will tell me about more jobs so I can add them. If you'd like to add an employer please email me at naturegirl321@yahoo.com

      The Best TEFL Jobs in the World Helps . . . .
      • Employers: First, good employers will be recognised and be put on this list and more teachers will find out about them. Secondly, if teachers know that the employers are good people to work for, then the employers can afford to be choosy and demand their teachers have more experience and qualifications.
      • Recruiters: Recruiters don't have a very good rep. By publishing this list, recruiters can contact these employers and help teachers get good jobs. By doing so, they won't be viewed so negatively.
      • Students: As more teachers find this list, competition is going to go up. this means that employers can pick the very best teachers to teach their students. 
      • Teachers: Happy teachers are often good teachers and no one wants to work long and hard overseas for less than they'd make at McDonald's back home. Even McDonald's provides basic benefits that many TEFL employers don't. Unfortunately, many people would have you believe that TEFL doesn't pay and provides no benefits. The more teachers that find out about good jobs, the better. They can get a good TEFL job that they deserve.
      • TEFL Certification Courses: Most TEFL courses provide guaranteed job placement, but it is usually just a list of links where you can find jobs. Now TEFL courses can point their students to this list. 
      • The TEFL Industry: Teaching English isn't what it used to be where backpacker teachers could get a job. More places are requiring degrees as well as TEFL certs. Using these good schools as an example should cause other schools to realise that they have to follow suit and offer a good salary and benefits package if they want to get and retain quality teachers.


      The Best TEFL Jobs in the World
      The Best TEFL Jobs in the World page and you can also read Why I Chose Money for the Best TEFL Jobs.

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      Thursday, 9 January 2014

      What To Do When Your Boss Won’t Renew You

      From best-career-match.com
      It’s hard to find out that you’re not going to get renewed. I always tell people to look for a job when their contract is up, even if they’re sure they’ll get renewed. Until they sign their new contract, they shouldn’t count on anything.

      If your boss won’t renew you and legally they should, like in the case of maternity leave, then you have two options: fight it or accept it. If you fight it, you may get renewed or paid a settlement, but you also may . . .
      • End up paying a lot in legal fees 
      • Be working in a very uncomfortable environment where you’re not wanted 
      • Be treated badly 
      • Not get renewed next year 
      • Get blacklisted or labeled as a difficult teacher 
      • Not be able to teach extra classes, such as overtime or those during breaks 
      • Lose the legal battle 

      Obviously only you can weigh the pros and cons of fighting your boss in order to get renewed. The bottom line is that many TEFL teachers have no job security. Looking for jobs when your contract is up is useful.
      • It allows you to keep your CV up-to-date 
      • It lets you practice writing cover letters 
      • You get interview and demo lesson experience 
      • You can network with other teachers 

      If your boss doesn’t renew you, it’s not the end of the world. There are probably better jobs out there and it’s not fun working somewhere you’re not wanted. There are lots of good jobs out there. Chances are your new job will be better than your current one.

      TEFL Tips recommends:

      Tuesday, 7 January 2014

      How to Create a Personal Learning Network

      Updated 22 September 2016

      It's hard to escape networking these days with the internet. PLN or personal learning networks have become popular among educators. They are basically people that you exchange information with and this usually takes place online. By using VLE or virtual learning environments, it's pretty easy to exchange ideas.

      There are a handful of good guides about how to build a personal learning network. You do have to be careful though. More and more companies are basing hiring decisions upon what they find on prospective employees social media networks.

      PLNs allow you to work on your professional development, find resources, learn new ideas, network, keep up-to-date about the latest news in your field, among other things. TEFL teachers have really taken to PLN.

      Blog Carnival: You can just read it or write your own post and have it be included in the carnival. Unfortunately both of these blog carnivals have now closed. If you know of any please let me know. Here's the ELT Blog Carnival, the upcoming topics, and the sign-up sheet (The ELT Blog Carnival closed down in fall 2014). Reach to Teach also has a blog carnival they just started (They closed in spring 2015).

      Blogs: Start following a couple of blogs and commenting on them. You'll get to know the blog writers and other readers that way. If you don't have a blog, consider starting one. Edu Blogs is probably the largest blogging community of educators out there.

      Facebook: Join groups or networks and actively participate in them.

      Linkedin: Complete your profile and start connecting with people. You might want to consider becoming a LION (LinkedIn Open Networker) and accepting any and all invitations that aren't spam. Joining groups and participating in conversations can help.

      MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses): Some publishing companies have free webinars that you can attend as long as you sign up, such as  Academic Earth, Class-Central, Coursera, EdX, Lynda, Skill Crush, U of People, Udemy, and Udacity.

      Nings: EFL Classroom 2.0 and the Educator's PLN are good places to start.

      Podcasts: The itunes store has good podcasts, some of them are even free.

      RSS: Allows you to follow blogs easily.

      Social Bookmarking: You can see what other people are reading online and also share your bookmark list.

      Skype: You can talk to people around the world.

      TED: Lots of great presentations by famous people.

      Twitter: Short and sweet, you can share ideas anytime, anywhere. Check out #ELTChat. It started in 2010 and every Wednesday they talk about a certain topic. They don't have chats during July or August. Here's a list of the summaries of past topics.

      Web 2.0: This is basically a combination of many of the ideas here, social networking, blogs, wikis, videos, etc, all in one place.

      Wikis: More and more groups are creating wikis in order to gather information in one place.

      Youtube: You can subscribe to channels, watch the latest presentations, and comment on them.  

      Over to you

      TEFL Tips recommends:

      Poll Results December 2013: Is your quality of life better at home or abroad?

      December's poll was "Is your quality of life better at home or abroad?" Here are the results.
        From rmsbunderblog.wordpress.com
      • At home: 14.29% with 1 vote
      • Abroad: 71.43% with 5 votes
      • The same: 14.29% with 1 vote
      I guess it should come to no surprise that people reading a TEFL blog enjoy living abroad! Be sure to vote in this month's poll: "What's most important when accepting a job?"

      TEFL Tips recommends:

      Wednesday, 1 January 2014

      Teaching in the Middle East

      Teachers usually go to the Middle East due to the salary and benefits. They often leave because they can't handle living there or because they've saved a lot of money. While many teachers have lasted decades in the Middle East (such as johnslat and VS on Dave's ESL Cafe), many teachers also leave quickly because of the living and working conditions. Know what you're getting into before you go by reading some guides about living and working in the Middle East. You might also want to take a look at Teaching at International Schools and Teaching Exchanges and Fellowships.

      Salaries and Benefits
      Salaries can range from $30 to $96K USD and up per year plus great benefits. Generally speaking men can make more than women since they can work for the military. Here are some typical perks and benefits you can get by teaching in the Middle East. Due to the fact that Saudi offers such great benefits, teachers are usually able to save a large portion of their salary without much sacrifice. If you budget, you can save more. Some have saved upwards of 75%.
      • Furnished housing (or a housing and furniture allowance)
      • Computer
      • Access to a shopping centre, gym, library, meeting rooms, etc.
      • Utilities allowance
      • Car and petrol allowance
      • Flights home for you and your family once a year
      • Medical / health insurance
      • Dental insurance
      • Free or heavily discounted international schooling for up to 2 (sometimes 3) children
      • Shipping / baggage allowance
      • Storage allowance
      • Yearly bonus
      • Contract completion bonus
      • Contract re-signing bonus
      • Club membership
      • A tax free salary, usually starting at 3000 to 5000 usd a month
      • Some teachers even have free meals, though this is rare. It's more common in Africa.
      Getting a Job in the Middle East
      To get these cushy jobs, you'll need a couple years teaching experience as well as a masters. University teaching experience and experience teaching Middle East students is preferred. ESL Cafe has been a long time favourite to search for job adverts. Gulf Talent is specifically for the Middle East and the GCC countries. You can find more websites at the Job Sites article.

      Where to Go
      The UAE, specifically Abu Dhabi and Dubai are popular among foreigners.  Oman is popular due to the freedom that foreigners have. If you go there, make sure you get your stop-over at a hotel. You can find more info at Dave's ESL Cafe. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are at the top as far as money's concerned, but freedom can be severely restricted.


      Who You'll Teach
      You'll often end up teaching at the university level, so an MA and university teaching experience is often required. If you're a qualified teacher, you could also work at international schools.


      What to Expect
      Life in the Middle East may not be as foreign friendly as other countries. Some limitations that you might encounter are: needing special permission to leave the country, alcohol limitations, and little interaction with the locals. However, you can save a lot and travel later on. In Saudi, you if you're a man, you will only teach male students. If you're a woman, you will only teach female students. In addition, in Saudi, women can't drive and have to wear burkas in public (but on the compound can often wear normal street clothes.)

      Some countries, such as the UAE and Oman are more open to foreigners and teachers often choose to start there before moving on to other Middle Eastern countries.

      The Middle East is largely Muslim, so you will have to obey Islamic codes of conducts even if you're not Muslim. Ramadan comes with even more rules to follow. Alcohol rules vary according to country, but often foreigners are able to get special alcohol permits.

      There are SO many interesting things to learn about the Middle East. Try checking out a culture book or a book on how to do business in the Middle East before coming over.


      Ready to Go?
      Job listings can be found at Job Sites. Lots of paperwork is needed, so be sure to apply ahead of time. Recruiting often begins at least a semestre ahead of time, some people have even reported visas taking up to a year, but that's not common. You can find more information about teaching in the Middle East in this article here. Dave's ESL Cafe also has lots of information on the forum.

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