Some clips of Flight of the Conchords. "Business Time" and "Jenny" are partcularly great. Two very talented and funny Kiwis!

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Brits and TEFL jobs in Europe.

I don't actually agree at all with the following anonymous posting that was made on the "nominate a school for blacklisting" section. But, as you all know, your beloved sleuth is a fair minded and honourable chap and as such has decided to allow you all to mull over this posting. At least it makes a change from the barrage of spin arriving from TEFL International.

"Does anyone believe that a E.U. sponsored monopoly is begınnıng to take hold on the ESL industry? More and more jobs are statıng, ''British speaker wanted,'' or ''Only E.U. citizens may apply''. I personally believe all schools should have a corporate policy against non-dıscrimination based on natıonality for ESL and should pressure centers to accept natıve speakers from non-E.U. countrıes. For example, what give British citizens a majority hold over a country such as Romania. My family left Romania in 1947 because of the Communists, and I am told that because I am not an E.U. citizen I cannot apply. Personally, despıte beıng a certified instructor, I am consıstently turned down for jobs because the Eastern European centers are unwılling to sponsor a vısa or they say that the requırements are ımpossıble to meet for US citizens. The other common response is ''part-time'' or ''freelance'' which is easily translatable as - no visa support, no health insurance, no housing, no teacher permit, thus no legality. These gray areas of national law can easily cause an inexperienced teacher to be deported or detained. I have personally witnessed this situation take place on more than one occasion. A manager can act as though these really arent a concern, but they should be of grave concern to any illegal worker in any industry. What any company is doing with this type of structure is not attract professional teachers, but persons who may be in the country under special circumstances, i.e. married to a resident, university student, etc. I don't believe this situation adds value to the corporation, instead it detracts from what is important - retaining qualified and interested individuals. One of the reasons why ESL seems to attract the ''backpackers''. Why should British citizens be the only nationality sanctioned to teach English in the E.U.?"


M. le Prof d'Anglais said...

It all depends whether the OP believes that EU citizens should be allowed to work in the USA without restrictions too.

The trouble is that few employers are willing to go through the hassle and paperwork necessary to employ a US citizen. But the same can be said of US employers, as a British friend of mine has found to his cost. Blame the system, not the schools.

Anonymous said...

When I ask my any of my E.U. friends what I must do as a U.S. citizen to get a work visa the answer is always the same - 'you must find yourself a beautiful EU girl and get married.'

Anonymous said...

Prof. let's focus on the ESL industry first, then we can discuss the apples and oranges of other industries. It is undeniable that the ESL industry is distinctly British, i.e. universities in the UK setting the standards for certification such as CELTA, DELTA, etc. We are all aware, forgive me for saying it in public, that most TEFL certs are lacking. A reputable school wants a CELTA these days. First, let me speak as an American, a. we dont teach English like this in the states (especially grammar); b. try to find an ESL school in the U.S. (yes, they do exist but if you are lucky to find one they are usually volunteer); and c. there are few to none certification courses in the U.S. that carry the reputation of a CELTA certification. So me universities are starting to pick them up, but they are part of the regular cirriculum and last for two years. Second, a. yes, my country is recipricopal for jobs but they are usually restricted to 1-2 years in areas such as teaching French, Spanish, etc.; b. this is true for Americans as well, we cannot find satisfying jobs in our own country for the most part that satify our need for travel, culture and adventure, hence we choose ESL for that reason - to avoid corporate cubical hell and looking for a new job every 3 years. Thus, so that I am not misunderstood, as an American I have had the experience of being rejected for jobs solely on the basis of my nationality. If an E.U. citizen wants a job teaching French, Spanish, Russian, etc. in the U.S. I would fully support that. I can't see why anyone would need ESL teachers in the states except for small segments of the population that are either immigrating or couldnt afford the cost outside of a regular education. I would be interested to hear if S. Africans, Australians, New Zealanders, and Canadians face similar denials from the U.S. and E.U. My point is that most ESL instructors working in the E.U. come from England and Ireland because they are Schengen native speakers. This gives them free access to all E.U. integrating countries and includes former states of Russia and the Middle East. Most jobs I see now coming from Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, etc. all ask for British citizens and CELTA certifications. How about someone start and NGO that exchanges E.U. and U.S. citizens for ESL jobs? You see I am not a Internet complainer, I have come here seeking real dialogue between us so that we can both have mutually satisfying careers.

Anonymous said...

BTW, most Americans with a certification will teach on average 1 to 3 years overseas before returning home to seek more meaningful employment. My question would be, 'What is the average life of an ESL teacher in the E.U.?'

Inspector Mchammered of the Lard said...

Why "beautiful" EU girl. Who are you Brad Pitt?

Anonymous said... a matter of fact, no I am not, I am better looking than Brad Pitt and I don't have a skanky wife!

Anonymous said...

In response to anonymous, comment 3. You are aware that there are thousands of Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish teachers teaching English in the EU are you not? If you were referring to the UK as 'England', be careful. We are all part of the UK and are UK citizens and some of us take offense to the 'England' tag often being used half happidly. Mind you, there are some of us that also take great offense to being from the UK in the first place!!!

Inspector Mchammered of the Lard said...

This is what The Daily Telegraph had to say in April, as it seems the charms of the UK are waning.
Britain is experiencing the greatest exodus of its own nationals in recent history while immigration is at unprecedented levels, new figures show.

Last year, 207,000 British citizens - one every three minutes - left the country while 510,000 foreigners arrived to stay for a year or more.

The majority of people leaving the UK go to New Zealand, France, Spain or Australia

The British made up more than half of the 400,000 moving abroad - yet only 14 per cent of immigrants were UK nationals coming home.

The figures do not include hundreds of thousands of east Europeans who have come to work in Britain in the past two years.

This is because most are coming for less than 12 months and do not show up on the statistics.

The figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest that only one sixth of the immigrants in 2006 were from the states that joined the EU in 2004.

The biggest influx was from the New Commonwealth - India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka - with more than 200,000.

Since Labour came to power in 1997, 1.8m British people have left but only 979,000 have returned, Over the same period, 3.9m foreign nationals have come to Britain while 1.6m have left.

Anonymous said...

There ıs nothıng I hate more than people who take offense where non was ıntended and ıgnore the basıs of the post to draw attentıon away from the topıc. The topıc ıs ESL, stay on track!

Inspector Mchammered of the Lard said...

And I for one am totally fed up with the number of anonymous postings. Why can't you at least use an alias. Is The Inspector the only one around brave enough to shine a beacon of light into the moral and ethical cesspit that increasingly embraces the world of TEFL, by using his proper name and even owning up to the fact he lives in Pamplona. Tut tut. What a load of bull!

Anonymous said...

...then you should remove the anonymous option most honorable inspector. we come here to be heard because ESL censorship reigns... and because once on google always on google...

Inspector Mchammered of the Lard said...

You're quite right. Google have changed things. One used to be able to invent an alias. Now they force you to register. Anonymity therefore rules for all non-bloggers. Thanks for the posting I wasn't aware that it was either "register - and suffer the consequences" or remain anonymous.
I am now enlightened. Perhaps posters can use an alias in the actual posts so that it's possible to discern betwen Mr Anonymous 1 and Mr Anonymous 2. Or you could always change your name officially to Alan Nonymous or even Anne Nonymous then even the Inspector couldn't moan.

The TEFL Tradesman said...

QUESTION: "Why should British citizens be the only nationality sanctioned to teach English in the E.U.?"

Why? Because we invented the language, that's why!

Anyway, would you want to be taught French by a Belgian? German by an Austrian?

Stands to reason, dunnit, mate! Who wants to be taught English by a Yank or an Ozzie? They are responsible for some of the worst manglings imaginable of God's own tongue.

As for the Irish - we don't mind them doing their bit, as they are probably the only foreigh nation to have actually enhanced the English language over the years.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is why ESL students really love U.S. (good pun) more than you Brits wıth your ınferiority complexes - which İ think is the real reason you invented ESL certificatıons. I wouldnt want to be taught by your Queen's Englısh, speakıng as though a turd was under your nose, no wonder your empire collapsed. Per our most honorable Inspector, I sign my name in my blood - İ am Tiocfaidh ár lá.

Anonymous said...

There are plenty of TEFL schools in the States, including branches of most of the big chains that are also in the UK, e.g. EF, Shane Global Villages, OISE. Even when it is a British owned school with a shortage of suitable teachers, it is almost impossible for them to employ someone with a British passport for a teaching job in the US.

Anonymous said...

As far as I can see the most reasonable answer to the OP was the one that made the comment about UK (and other) citizens trying to work in the U.S.
Maybe the OP wants to have a special relationship, or special rules for US citizens and allow them to do whatever they want whenever they want, but the EU is a grouping of European countries which have agreed to provide freedom of work, movement, education etc for citizens of those member countries.
A system of reciprocity is necessary - we'll let you do it our place, if you'll let us do it in your place.

"Creuse a trou"

Anonymous said...

The point is that the British are attempting to lock-down ESL by creating expensive and time-consuming certifications beyond the regular education system. Anyone that has ever gone through the American education system can attest that we simply do not teach English the same way as the British do, i.e who learn by formal rules. If the British attempt to conform English to British-only speaking, i.e. see all of the school names and job apps with 'British' on it, then the CELTA/DELTA becomes nothing more than a tool of overt discrimination and elitism, e.g. what about a person who holds a graduate degree in ESL or English but is denied for a recent graduate or backpacker with a bachelors degree (in some strange non-related discipline) and a CELTA? I for one am tired of being declined for jobs when I obviously have more teaching experience, a better track record, and a better education than most ESL teachers. It doesnt matter if you have a PhD in English, many schools will tell these PhDs you need a CELTA. The barrier to universal understanding is this narrow thinking that creates invisible borders, so and I am calling the CELTA pot black. -Tiocfaidh ár lá

Anonymous said...

Don't believe that British elitism and discrimination exist in ESL? Here is a website actually libeling U.S. certificates from:

US College and University ESL Programs
The majority of US colleges and universities offer some kind of ESL certification program. If you are considering such a course keep in mind its drawbacks:

The majority of US colleges and universities offer some kind of ESL certification program. If you are considering such a course keep in mind its drawbacks:

1. The focus of these courses is primarily on immigrants and their needs in a new country. This means that the structure and content of these courses is oriented toward integration of new immigrants in the North American culture. The materials designed for immigrants (e.g. how to use US public transportation, Laundromats, money, etc.) can be offensive to EFL students who are not interested in immigration; they take English classes to improve their lives at home.

2. These courses do not provide adequate hands-on training leaving you with little practical skills.

3. Because of the different target market and lack of practical training most reputable overseas employers do not recognize these certificates.

What crap! -Tiocfaidh ár lá

M. le Prof d'Anglais said...

Absolute bollocks Mr Anonymous:

1) Anyone can do an "expensive and time-consuming (1 month is time consuming?) certification, not just Brits or Irish. It's not a conspiracy to keep the Yanks out; there are approved CELTA centres in Colorado, Hawaii, New York, San Diego, San Francisco and Texas.

2) As I, and others, have pointed out, the problem for US citizens in the EU is employment law i.e. exactly the same problem faced by Brits who wish to work in the USA, a point you persist in ignoring. The EFL/ESL industry is not exempt from such laws.

3) So what if English is taught differently in the US? We're talking about teaching English as a Foreign/Second Language, not teaching English to native speakers. The skills profile is totally different. If you had read US English ESL coursebooks such as North Star, you would know that the way of teaching EFL/ESL to non native speakers is, in fact, very similar on both sides of the Atlantic.

4) If you run a language school, you'll know that just because someone has a PhD, it does not follow that they know how to teach a group of students. If they have a CELTA, you can be sure they'll have a minimum of classroom management skills. Having the knowledge and knowing how to impart it are two very different things.

We only have your word for it that you are better qualified and experienced than a backpacker (even though, by your own admission, many of your compatriots, see ESL as the route from "cubicle hell" to "adventure", which is hardly the mark of a serious, committed teacher), but given you don't seem to know the difference between EFL/ESL and English Language taught to native speakers, or even bother to paragraph your posts to make them readable, you'll understand why I, for one, am sceptical.

M. le Prof d'Anglais said...

Mr Anonymous: Copying and pasting something you found on the Internet and following it up with "what crap!" does not constitute an argument. YOu might like to point out WHY these courses are just as valid as a CELTA, especially if it's true that they don't provide much hands-on training. But, in any case, the fact that the courses you refer to are not recognised by many employers does NOT constitute discrimination against US citizens. Here's why:

Employers typically recognise the CELTA, which, as you point out, is a British based qualification. However, people in the US can take this recognised course in the US by going to one of the recognised centres I mentioned previously. OK so they have to pay, but guess what? So do the Brits and Irish! So the conditions are exactly the same. Do get a recognised qualification, EU and US citzens need to do exactly the same thing,.

By the same token, if a Brit were to do one of these US ESL courses, it wouldn't help them in Europe. Maybe those courses should be recognised, but either way, it's the course that's discriminated against, not the nationality of the certificate holder.

In short, the Brits are not "locking down" ESL. Cambridge ESOL have set up a structure of qualifucations, recognised by employers and open to US and EU citizens alike.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with, "Exactly the same problem faced by Brits who wish to work in the USA." How many nations are there in Europe who's official language is English? You are hypocrites, i.e. you dont want the Euro, the Constitution or the Union, you only want ESL? What sore losers. C'mon are you a nation or a state? You are skeptical because the Brit line creates suspicion about anyone who gets in your way, while you attempt to rebuild your lost empire! What right do you have to Romania if you are against integration? Colonialism is dead, and there will be no ESL CELTA colonialism eıther!

Anonymous said...

Comment on - "You can be sure they'll have a minimum of classroom management skills."

Maybe, but they will have no life or professional experience, that's the problem with you Brits - you think teaching English is only about being the grammar bobby i.e. the difference is between encouraging healthy citizens and creating subjects to your crown. The students want the former, you want them to bow to the grammar queen. - Tiocfaidh ár lá

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Dr. Livingston, Sir Richard Burton and all the other subjects were far from committed to their discipline and they abhorred the adventure. You've lost your soul if you went to a foreign country only to teach grammar. You Brits are uptight, or are you just sore losers?

Liberty or Death

Anonymous said...

Check this photo out and ask yourselves:

1. How old is that teacher?
2. Is she the same age as her students in the photo?
3. Would she have less or more professional and life experience than her students?
4. How much you want to bet she has a CELTA?
5. What are these students not getting from this sweet looking CELTA certified teacher? Let's keep it clean, OK?

If I walked into a classroom after dropping thousands of dollars and saw she was my teacher, I would either 1.) Demand a new experienced teacher; or 2.) Demand my money back. Did I mention she has a CELTA? Yippee!

Anonymous said...

Why do most Saudi schools only advertise for CELTA or British Speakers Only?

M. le Prof d'Anglais said...

"If I walked into a classroom after dropping thousands of dollars and saw she was my teacher, I would either 1.) Demand a new experienced teacher; or 2.) Demand my money back. Did I mention she has a CELTA? Yippee!"

You could say something similar about anyone fresh out of uni; doctors, lawyers etc. You've never been in one of her classes so stop judging by appearances. She may be a better teacher than some poor drunken hairy wreck who's spent the last ten years teaching Headway for poverty wages.

But since the photo you cite is from a school based in the Bronx,the chance that she's an English rose with a CELTA is pretty low unless she's married to a Yank.

M. le Prof d'Anglais said...

Since "Tiocfaidh ár lá" isn't interested in engaging with any of the arguments and instead prefers to resort to "You Brits you're so arrogant" crap I think it's safe to ignore anything else he has to say.

M. le Prof d'Anglais said...

"Why do most Saudi schools only advertise for CELTA or British Speakers Only?"

Why don't you email them and find out?

Anonymous said...

Ignore me? Who died and made you Queen? Our day will come.
“I didn't know he was dead; I thought he was British.” -Woody Allen

Anonymous said...

Prof. stop looking at her breasts and look at her age. Obvously Prof. is quite smitten.

Anonymous said...

The arrogance and elitist attitudes displayed by the EU people posting comments here are appalling.

- New Anonymous

Anonymous said...

I wish I was still doing this.

From Ashley.

Anonymous said...

For a start, what's with all the UK bashing? Colonialism? If you study that period of history you'll find that the rest of Europe was doing it too, which is still not a good excuse. Anyway, I thought this was a forum for professional adults.
I am fully aware that the English can be wankers, I am English, but it doesn't matter where you're from if you're an idiot you're an idiot regardless of nationality, so please don't tar us all with the same brush. American's are renowned for being stupid but I know that not all of them actually are. Most of my American friends are very intelligent.

It is unfortunate that it is not as easy to find as an American teacher in Europe but it is still possiblem especially if you're qualified and experienced.
Because England is part of the EU, visas are not required, schools will more than likely take the easy option. More so, as it is part Europe, most countries will want to learn UK English.

This may be unfair but, I am currently a teacher in Asia and the dicrimination is towards UK English.

Everybody wants to learn American English. When I arrived I was asked if I could teach with an American accent. It is more difficult to find work as an UK member and some job postings I read only wanted an American or Canadian natives.
This is because America and Canada have a better relationship with Asia and the UK is part of Europe and a lot of us do want to be part of Europe. I personally would join the Euro tomorrow but I'm not the PM.

The TEFL qualifications, CELTA and TrinityCertTefl are a good idea. I have the later one and it taught me a lot of practical classroom skills, not just grammar. You learn everything you need from classroom management to lesson planning.

Grammar is important as I found with teaching in Prague that a lot of questions about grammar will be asked, so it's useful to know.
when you first start learning a language grammar is often the first thing you look at. Korean and Japanese grammar are the complete opposite to English and by knowing that you can help to correct alot of students learning barriers.

My American friend teaching with me here (qualifications aren't needed in Asia) had no teaching experience and no qualifications, found himself overwhelmed at first until another qualified colleague and I trained him.

The courses cost roughly £1000, it shows that you are dedicated to being a teacher and not just a backpacker (I have seen a lot of them in Asia) as well as genuinely preparing you for the classroom.
For whatever reason CELTA and Trinity are the most recognised two and they come from England. But it's not because we want a monopoly of TEFL it's because these two happened to become the most trusted by International Employers.
America definitely holds the monopoly on courses and texts in Asia. You're just focusing to much on the continent we are part of and not the whole world picture.

Tom - Not anonymous just didn't want to sign up.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I rest my case. It's no wonder ESL has such a bad reputation. I started this thread to discuss real issues and instead I have found the real mind of the ESL teacher, i.e. disorganized thinking; doesn't even know theır trade; crude to foreigners; lacking professional judgment; and most importantly the inability to stay on topic due to their lack of maturity. ESL is the first wave of democracy at ıts worse - a cachophony of selfish voices wıth no allegiance to helping people or solving problems. ESL is the problem chıldren of the future, they couldnt make ıt at home, they wont make ıt abroad. This is the true result of this thinking - 3 months abroad and then do a runner to escape their commitments. Really people, grow up! All of the schools I have ıntervıewed wıth ın the last month have requested FBI fıngerprınts for the fırst tıme and ıt ıs a result of thınkıng just lıke exhıbıted here. With respect to the honorable professor, thanks for the opportunıty to flush the UK quaıl out of theır dull ordınary lıves to have what turned out to be more of an experıment than a true conversatıon.

Anonymous said...

Oh boo hoo. Yet another annoying American whining that they can't dominate every part of the globe. Stay home hunny cos ya make a better host than guest.