Thursday, January 31, 2008

English Teacher Murdered in Ghana

A High School English teacher in the Dzodze Township of the Volta Region in the Republic of Ghana was found comatose in his apartment on January 19th under suspicious circumstances. The Daily Guide reported the teacher was found in a pool of blood on his apartment floor and was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at hospital. Many in the township, including police, suspect foul play, but no suspects have been named and no arrests have yet been made. The police have not commented on whether they suspect students or teachers at the school.

The West African country’s official language is English. The Volta Region of Ghana lies Southeast, bordering Togo and is comprised of 15 districts, the capital of which is named Ho.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

New English Tests for Korean Children

The Korean public education system is renowned for placing special importance on English proficiency tests. And it seems the government of incoming President Lee plans to follow in that tradition. This week, the President Transitional Committee announced plans to reform the English proficiency tests for all levels of education to take effect between 2012 and 2014. Some grades will see more lenient tests, like Middle schoolers, who will only be expected to take a listening and reading exam and forego the intense pressure of a major written exam. This format closely resembles a TOEFL style test. University entrance exams will also being revised along the same lines as the TOEFL, although a writen component will remain for these tests.
For further information please read:

By Korea Jim

English Immersion in Korea Quashed

Here today, gone tomorrow. Incoming President Lee Myung-bak's transition team has stopped the current government's proposal of introducing an English Immersion program into the public education system. Only last week the South Korea government announced their plan to implement English immersion in all middle and high schools by 2010. The announcement was met by an uproar from teachers, parents and students.

For further details refer to:

by Jim Korea

Monday, January 28, 2008

E2 Denied: Korea's Universities, Government Not On Par

It's a tough lesson to learn, but if you're going to teach in Korea, read the fine print. Korea's E2 visa regulations have been transient as of late, but one stipulation that has not changed is the fact you must have a degree from an accredited university from Canada, America, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa. A British student studying at the Hangkuk University of Foreign Studies, a prestiguous University in Seoul, recently discovered this hard truth when he applied for an E2 teaching visa just ahead of finishing his English Education degree. Mark Thomas, the British student, recevied the news he had been denied an E2 visa just after Christmas 2007 by the Seoul Immigration Bureau. The Bureau cited that because Thomas had not graduated from a University in a native-English speaking country, he did not meet the requirements of the E2 visa.

This incident speaks volumes to the dicord between official goverment departments. Korea remains a country where there is an obvious lack of commitment on the part of the government to the quality of its public education system, if a Korean univeristy will train a foreign teacher and then refuse to hire them as one. Although Thomas was eventually denied an E2 visa by the Seoul Immigration Bureau, the Seoul Board of Education had given him a green light on receiving a visa prior to the Bureau's decision. The Board of Education should have been aware of the law before misleading Thomas. Nevertheless, it is still the responsibility of the student or teacher to be aware of all laws before embarking on such an undertaking.

By Spencer McCall

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Taiwan's first English Village

Following the idea of the English Villages in South Korea, Taoyuan county, Taiwan has finally opened one of its own. The non-profit 'Car King Education Foundation' and the local county authority spent over one million dollars last year to open an immersion program featuring hotel, bank, airplane, drug store, convenience store, science class, coffee shop, cooking and dance studio theme rooms. Twelve students will participate in each theme room with a volunteer English teacher with approximately 120 students per day. Happy English Village has had excellent reviews by both students and parents alike. Taiwanese students will now have a greater opportunity to study English immersion.

For more information,

By Jim Korea

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Korea to Drastically Change English Education By 2010

South Korea, home of thousands of private English academies, will soon introduce a public English emersion program. Regular classes will be conducted in English.

“A pilot English immersion program will be introduced at some elite private and public high schools starting this year”
An educational team stated.

This program will then be gradually expanded to all Korean public schools. Korea already has over 2000 foreign English teachers working across the peninsula in the public school system and earlier planed on having every public school hire foreign English instructors. This program will extend not only to the elite wealthy class citizens of the country but extend to even the less fortunate living in rural areas.

By Korea Jim

Friday, January 25, 2008

India, the future of ESL Education

New Delhi, India, home of over 14 official languages (30% Hindi, the national language), has always valued English as the “national, political, and commercial communication” language of the country. And it has just agreed to further its progress in education development and especially English education. Both Britain and India have come to terms to expand the system for mutual benefit, meaning both Britain and India will grow from the outcome of this new deal.

In a report recently published by, the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown has apparently, "extended his country's support for the Indian government's 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12) that aims to expand higher education sectors by setting up eight new Indian Institutes of Technology, seven new Indian Institutes of Managements, five Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research and 30 new central universities.”

The report also spoke of Brown's anncounment, before he embarked on his trip to India and China of a plan "to teach English to two billion people around the globe by 2020. This initiative would be kicked by recruiting 'master trainers' in India to develop 750,000 English teachers within five years.”

This deal will likely ensure the growth of the ESL market in India for the near future. However, the majority of teachers will be recruited from England seeing that the majority of education facilities will have been provided by the British government. With the expansion of English language eduction in countries like India and countries such as China and Korea opening up their markets to non-native speakers, ESL as it presently exists is set for a significant change. More and more Asians are seeking cheaper English education, both in their own countries and outside as well. If someone wants to study abroad, they will soon have the choice to do it at a cheaper cost in places such as the Philippines, already a popular spot, and now India, where English is already fluently spoken. For many it will make more monetary sense than travelling to an expensive Western country.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Canadian ESL Teacher Dead in Taiwan

Chiayi City, Southern Taiwan, Matt Stever, 27 from Quinte, Ontario, Canada, died Tuesday, Jan 22 after spending over a week in hospital. Matt sustained life-threatening injuries on January 14th and remained on life support until the 22nd. Matt collided head-on with another motorbike, killing a local teenager and leaving another in critical condition. Details of the accident have not yet been released. Matt Stever passed away shortly after his family had arrived to visit him in the hospital. Further details can be seen on:

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

E2 is Prejudiced: Foreign Envoys Criticize

The Korea Times recently reported an outcry by foreign ambassadors that Korea’s E2 teaching visa discriminated against other English speaking countries. The term “native” speaker was the word of contention that caused ambassadors from Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, and even India to request changes be made to the visa regulation which would allow teachers from non-native countries, but with a high proficiency in English language, to seek employment in Korea’s strong ESL market. For further details go to:

Korea only accepts foreign English teachers from Canada, America, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The large majority of these teachers also happen to be Caucasian, although this is a prejudice that exists only in hiring practices and not as a stipulation in the Visa itself. In an independent report published online last year, Caucasians has a higher success rate of employment that any other racial group.
In many ways, this policy is discriminatory since the E2 Visa is based upon nationality rather than a teaching qualification, unlike most other Asian countries that offer teaching visas.

The new visa regulations that came into effect on December 15th have discouraged many potential teachers from applying because of the long process involved in getting a criminal background check and paper work processed. The new regulations have also discouraged many experienced teachers from reapplying to Korean schools, choosing to find employment elsewhere. This has begun putting pressure on many private institutions, as well as public schools to continue guaranteeing the prestigious presence of a native speaker in their classrooms. In the Korea Times article of January 20th, 2008, the envoys were reported as suggesting the “ ‘narrow-minded’ visa policy prevents Koreans from developing English proficiency in a more efficient and cheaper way.”

Although no official announcement has been made in response to the ambassadors requests for a change in the policy, if one is made it could not only benefit the Asian teachers, but the Korean school system as well. The suggestion that hiring other non-native English proficient teachers would be a cheaper and more effective way to develop English language ability would definitely help many of Korea’s private language academies which are financially stretched offering foreigners generous salaries in order to entice them to suffer the long, arduous task of applying to the new E2.

By Spencer McCall

Kenya Anyone?

Hey ESL teachers, vacation is coming soon and it’s time to choose a vacation destination. Some of you might have only a week or two for vacation, while others may have over a month. Perhaps some people will even be completing their contracts. Before you book your flight, have you ever thought of volunteering during your break? If you’re an English teacher and experienced traveler, you might consider a different sort of vacation this year. Alison Lowndes, the founder and trustee of AVIF, is inviting teachers to volunteer for summer school in Kenya.

Following is a brief ad for AVIF:

AVIF is an innovative online charity, with a promise to Invest in our Volunteers. We assist with sustainable development via online & onsite volunteering in rural Kenya, East Africa. Being virtual means negligible administration costs for worldwide impact. We believe in efficiency, honesty and transparency. AVIF doesn’t do bureaucracy or charge fees. If you have the commitment to travel to Kenya, we’ll take care of you & provide access to extensive details. We encourage you to do further Internet research to ensure you are fully informed. Orientation is available in Nairobi & is recommended.

You’ll be fully immersed into rural communities. If you’re looking for a tourist’s view of the country then this is not for you. You may need to wash your hair in a river or cook over open fires. You will be living traditionally, in no less comfort than your hosts who wake at 4/5am to light fires to boil water. The children will surround you with enthusiasm and an eagerness to learn ~ you can repay them by helping to provide a range of simple but effective concepts such as solar cooking & power, disease prevention, empowerment to women. After your visit, we use NABUUR to action specific projects, an entirely online system allowing anyone, anywhere to simply log on to contribute to the project.

At the end of each program we organize an optional group safari from a base camp in Oropile, Maasai Mara. The Maasai people are the perfect example of how to live in symbiosis with nature, not Land Cruisers !

[Itinerary available on the website].

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Am I qualified to teach English?

If you graduated from University with a Bachelor’s degree in Arts and Sciences then the answer to that question is yes, you are qualified, in certain countries. Korea, Japan and even Taiwan in certain cases are countries that are accepting of almost any degree and who pay their teachers a competitive salary. And if you have previous teaching experience then you are also qualified. But this is misleading. Many employers choose to ignore previous teaching experience because of the higher salary it entails. Schools in some countries are specific about the experience you have, i.e. If you have taught in Korea for several years, and wish to move to Taiwan, you are highly unlikely to receive additional pay for a new job because the experience wasn’t in Taiwan.

Just because a school is willing to hire you does not necessarily make you qualified to teach either. This is aggravating if you accept a new job thousands of miles from home and discover only after you arrive you are being paid less and working for a disreputable school because you lacked the proper qualifications. ESL teachers are hired for many reasons (James, article reference to experiments article)

There were many instances in 2007 where, in both in local and foreign online magazines, it was reported that English as a Second Language education was generally poor in quality. The list of complaints stretched anywhere from a lack of experience in the classroom, to the education of the teachers not pertaining to English teaching.

On one website it was reported that in Korea, “Only 3 percent [of current English teachers] have a teaching qualification, while 2 percent have a qualification that relate to the teaching of English in a foreign language setting”

And there have been recent cases of foreign teachers illegally teaching with fake degrees. On another website it was reported “A Canadian English instructor who was arrested for using a forged bachelor's degree to get a visa and a job in Korea has been sentenced to jail.”

But Korea is not the only country currently experiencing negative feedback about the quality and qualifications of its English teachers. The Thai government has had many of the country’s English language and other educational institutions investigated to ensure their teachers are adequately certified. Many EFL teachers in Thailand are now required to take special modules in Education to retain and maintain a legal teaching job.

As mentioned in a previous article in, even Saudi Arabia is now questioning the qualifications of its ESL teachers.

“What is a qualified English teacher?” It’s a very difficult question to answer because the word “qualified” has many definitions. If you have a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature or Education, a TESOL certificate, or even a Masters degree you will be considered a qualified teacher depending upon the country in which you teach. Not all degrees are considered equal.

There are also teachers who have obtained a PhD in TESOL. These teachers should by all accounts be deemed the most qualified to teach English as a Second Language. And although this is true, over qualification actually decreases your chances of finding employment in many sectors of the ESL market. A private study published on the web last year showed that English job seekers who possessed post-graduate education and teaching experience had less opportunity for employment.

In the report, a Bachelor of Education was the degree that showed the greatest potential and success in finding employment. Nonetheless, a degree in English literature had a higher chance of success than a Masters degree in TESOL. Experience was also shown to decrease the amount of job options.

Returning to the original question, are “we” qualified to teach English? One must first look at what are we being hired for. Many experienced and inexperienced teachers alike are now being regarded as unqualified because of their degrees. At the same time legitimately qualified teachers are being overlooked and denied employment because they are overqualified. On occasion they are even discriminated against because of their age, sex, race, etc.

Perhaps it is the responsibility of the educational institutes to properly train teachers. The demand is there for teachers and the teachers are willing to teach. Are the educational institutes ready to accept the responsibility to guide and train its teachers? An international job in high demand should set up programs to deal with its new teachers. I have been an ESL teacher for seven years and have been to many “professional conferences” designed to enhance teaching abilities. However, the majority of these conferences tend to focus less on improving the quality of a teacher’s abilities and more on “cultural adaptation” to the host country.

In a personal opinion, I believe there is no such thing as a REAL qualified ESL teacher. Nothing can prepare someone for the classroom more than experience itself, and if the educational institutes do not appreciate experience, they are always going to have problems with finding a “qualified teacher.”

Korea Jim

Friday, January 18, 2008

ATELFC first ever teachers conference

Teachers in China are welcome to the ATELFC first ever teachers conference. Hundreds of EFL professionals are expected to be gathering in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province South East China at the Fountains International Community Center ( ATELFC is the Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language in China, a group of professional teachers dedicated to improve the quality of English education in China. The workshop intends to focus on issues such as teacher preparation, classroom techniques, learning management, student assessment, culture awareness/shock and other related issues. ATEFLC is searching for Speakers to present at the 2008 regional conference. If you wish to partake in the event or require further information, contact Josie Roberts at by April 5, 2008.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Teaching ESL in Taiwan: A look at the visitor visa

You may have to distort the truth in order to get a job teaching ESL in Taiwan, but don’t worry, your employer will most likely return the favor. In order to get a work permit you will need to get an extendable visitor visa outside of Taiwan. Most teachers do a visa run to Hong Kong while others may get one from their home country or elsewhere. Here is a link to the Taiwan consulate in Hong Kong,, it gives you an idea of what is involved in applying for a visa. The hitch is you can’t tell the authorities that you intend to work in Taiwan, instead you must make up a story about wanting to visit a friend or learn Chinese for two months. This fictionalization of the truth really only becomes a problem if the consulate doesn’t believe your story and issues you a non-extendable visitor visa, which will allow you in the country but prevents you from getting a work permit. One fun way to look at things is that legal teachers in Taiwan began illegally.

Now lets look at just one (and I think one of the more blatant) ways in which some employers can be dishonest. You will hopefully notice that the repercussions can be much more dramatic.

A bill passed for political reasons in 2003 by the Taiwanese government made it illegal for foreigners to teach kindergarten classes ( Not only is it illegal for you to teach kindergarten age students (many jobs on will list “very young age” or “3 to 10 years old” instead of using the word “kindergarten”), but it is also worth noting that it is illegal for foreigners to even teach in a school where there are kindergarten classes being held. It will come as no surprise to teachers who have worked in Taiwan to hear that a number of schools still have foreigners teaching kindergarten classes. These schools will often simply dismiss or play down the legalities of teaching kindergarten if questioned by a possible teaching candidate. It is also not uncommon to hear stories of teachers who were told to practice an escape route in case government officials raided their school. Be assured the raids do happen and the escape routes are used and an unfortunate few do get deported. Why does this practice still continue? The schools with kindergarten offer teachers more hours and sometimes better pay, while the schools themselves generate a wealth of extra income. So maybe you should ask yourself if you would like jumping out windows or hanging off fire escapes before signing that kinder contract.

Both the visitor visa and the kindergarten classes fall into the ESL grey zone. This is not unique to Taiwan, as bending the “rules” for both employee and employer in most Asian countries is nothing new. But never forget that the teacher, and not the school, will pay the higher price...if one should be caught doing something one should not.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Canadian Consulate: Further Information on the E-2 VISA Korea

Recently, in South Korea , there has been much speculation about the changes in the laws regarding E-2 VISA regulations, otherwise known as a "Teacher's VISA". This is the VISA required for teaching English in South Korea.

Upon browsing through the Canadian Consular website at, I believe that I've found information on where to go in South Korea regarding information on the E-2 VISA. I hope that this information will be helpful and useful.

In South Korea , the Immigration Bureau of the ROK Justice Ministry should be contacted for information regarding other types of visas and/or adjustments of visa status. You can learn more from the Immigration Bureau on-line. Their main Seoul office is located at #319-2, Shinjeong 6-dong, Yangcheon-gu, Seoul , telephone 02-2650-6225/6. Take Line 5 of the subway to Omokyo Station, Exit No. 6. The Bureau is about a 10 minute walk once you exit the subway system.

You will find their pamphlet, "The Korean Immigration Service" (their number 11-1270000-000279-1) a useful English-language reference for visa questions. Contact the Immigration Bureau directly or refer to its website

Concerns and complaints should be made to Korean Immigration's "Foreigner's Advice Office", telephone number 02-2650-6341, or to the "Control Office" at 02-2650-6212 in South Korea .

If you have any questions or concerns about the new changes in the E-2 VISA regulations, you can try this website for information.

John "pipes" Lawley

Friday, January 11, 2008

China Cracking Down on Plagiarism

In a country notorious for pirated movies, music and software and where copyright infringement and intellectual property are truly foreign words, the wind of change is coming. In the past, China has rarely, if ever, punished a teacher or professor for plagiarism. But things are changing. Huang Zongying, a former associate professor of English literature and language studies at the Foreign Languages School of Beijing University has been fired. Authorities found that a good portion of his academic work from 1999 to 2003 was laden with plagiarism. This is a rare move by a Chinese University to fire one of its professors. Hopefully it will mark the beginning of a new era for academic writing in China.

For further details see

Turkey: A Teacher’s Right?

In Turkey, students are not allowed to record and distribute video of their teachers, even if they are being beaten and abused by them. One Turkish student learned this the hard way. A ninth grade student was recently expelled from school after he recorded his English teacher in class. The teacher was allegedly beating and swearing at her students. In retaliation the student posted the recording on the Internet. But in the end, the English teacher was found not guilty. As reported in the Turkish Daily News, “The teacher isn't found guilty for bashing and beating the students. However, the students are found guilty when they record the teacher on video to uncover her manners”

Further information can be found at:

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Invest while teaching in 2008

By Jim Korea

Previously we talked about saving money ( However, there are ways to make money while teaching ESL overseas. There are the obvious solutions like asking for a raise, do some overtime, and teaching privates classes. However, these solutions may not be for you. Perhaps you are not in a position to ask for a raise. Your school does not offer overtime, or pays even less than your regular pay. Teaching privates may be illegal in your host country or the school frowns upon it. Instead, we will focus on how to invest your money while teaching.

Previously we talked about exchanging money into other currencies. Not only does this prevent you from spending your money, but if done properly, can make you money as well. For example, if you converted $1000 US into Euro one year ago, you would have received € 769 Euro. Today it would be worth $1132 US. That's 13% growth in one year; no bank offers such an interest rate. The American Dollar did fall this year, but it did not fall by 13%. One thing to consider is in the past currencies have risen and fallen due to large events like the Olympics. China is hosting the summer Olympics this year. Chinese currency COULD rise significantly during the Olympics. You may consider investing a little money into Chinese RMB prior to the summer and then convert it back before the Olympics are over. One thing to keep in mind, banks charge a percentage of the money converted for every transaction. Expect to loose about 2.5% each time you convert. (you can track currency history through the following site:

Perhaps banking is not your thing and you prefer something you can touch. Perhaps you are a gold lover? Gold and silver are climbing on a daily basis. As of today, gold is at $862 US per Oz, up from about $620 US per Oz a year ago. Roughly a 40% increase in one year is better than keeping your money in the bank collecting dust. Gold is easy to carry from one country to another as well. Silver is also expected to climb in price. Unfortunately, silver is quite heavy and not as easy to transfer from country to country. (See conversions here

Okay, so converting money and buying gold is not your thing. But before you start investing in the stock market, there are other ways of making money to consider. You can earn extra money on the Internet. Ever thought about starting a Blog or website? For setting up a Blog check out or, it’s completely free and easy. To make some money you can sign up for And the best part is the minimal investment: zero.

You can also try Recruiting. Some countries pay up to and even over $1000 US per English teacher. Try contacting a recruiter and ask to become a “sub-recruiter” or simply ask if can help them find a teacher. Generally the recruiters will pay you half the rate they charge the school. You find the teacher, and they find the school. You can network with your friends to find new teachers or you can look on the Internet on job data bases.

These are just some ideas for investing or making additional income. If you have any other ideas post a comment after this article. We would love to hear your ideas and feedback.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Commonly used Acronyms for English Teachers

By Jim Korea

First time instructors of English as a Second Language are often bombarded with new, sometimes confusing, abbreviations and acronyms. Although the majority of them are simple enough to dicpher, because they deal directly with the industry it's important to know exactly what they mean. Teachers will often encounter these acronyms when searching for employment as well.

The basic terms that all English teachers should know are as follows:

ESL - English as a Second Language
This is probably the most widely used abbreviation in the teaching industry. Originally this term was applied to the study of English as a Second Language by non-native English speakers in a foreign country. It is now widely used in English language and non-English language countries and can apply to the study as well as to the teaching of the English language.

EFL - English as a Foreign Language
This generally means Teaching English to a non-native English speaker in a non-English country.

ELT - English Language Teaching

ESOL - English for Speakers of Other Languages

TESL - Teaching English as a Second Language
TESL also stands for Test of English as a Second Language, but is not widely used.

TEFL - Teaching English as a Foreign Language
TEFL also stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language and also is not widely used.

TESOL - Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
TESOL also means Test of English for Speakers of Other Languages.
KOTESOL is also commonly used for Korea TESOL.

CALL - Computer Assisted Language Learning

TOEFL - Test of English as a Foreign Language
A commonly used test that many World Universities and businesses have used to test the English level of future prospects. This test was first designed for students applying to American universities.

TOEIC - Test of English for International Communication
Another commonly used aptitude test used primarily for everyday English and business English.

Other Acronyms

JET Program Japan Exchange and Teaching
The program for both teachers and coordinators coming to Japan. Primarily used for teachers in the public school system.

CLAIR Council of Local Authorities for International Relations
This is a term primarily used in Japan.

ALT Assistant Language Teachers
The commonly used term for English Teachers in Japan

EPIC English Program in Korea
The teaching program set up for instructors in Korea.

GEPIC Gyeonggi Province English Program in Korea
Gyeonggi province English Program in Korea (Province around Seoul)

SMOE Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education

ETIS English teachers in Seoul
Commonly used for teachers in Seoul, Korea

FAT Foreign Assistant Teacher
Currently the term used for foreign public school teachers in Korea.

NET Native English Teachers
Another common acronym for an English teacher

If you have any other terms from the country that you are living in please feel free by posting a new comment at the bottom of the page and add your suggestion.

Thanks, ESL Daily Team.

Monday, January 7, 2008

ESL Jobs: When To Go Where? (Part 2)

In Part 1, I provided you with some general timelines of when you should apply for jobs in certain countries in Asia . In Part 2, I am offering some complimentary advice on two more things you should be aware of when searching for a job in Asia . Again, please feel free to comment on anything you read, whether it is to provide further advice based on your experiences or if you have found this article to be of any help to you.

International Schools: These schools can be a good option for qualified teachers or someone with a Bachelor’s of Education. But don’t judge a book by its cover. These schools are sometimes nothing more than glorified private academies. Although International schools pay higher salaries on average than most private academies and boast prestige because of their “international” staff, they also require longer hours and more work that is often times incommensurate with their salaries. International schools can be affiliated with Universities as well as government-run programs, but this is not always the case. Bottom line, do your research and don’t assume from the title of the school that you will be working for a reputable company. In terms of the best times to teach at one of these institutions, their semesters follow the same pattern as most Universities. January and September are the months when most new teachers are hired. That means teachers should apply at least a month before, in December and August.

Countries: Every country in Asia has at least a few International schools. If you are interested in working for them, try directly contacting someone at the school if possible. Don’t rely on what a recruiter has to say.

Calendars: If you were planning on teaching in Asia , it would be wise to consult a lunar calendar as most holidays that affect ESL hiring dates are based upon it. It’s a good idea to always check out a local calendar of the country in which you intend to teach for special events and festivals. All of them are available from government and tourist homepages.

If Asia is not the place for you, please stay in touch in the coming weeks as we will also be covering the best times to teach in Europe and South America .

Sunday, January 6, 2008

ESL Jobs: When to Go Where (Part 1)

By Spencer McCall

Are you looking to start teaching ESL in 2008? Then timing is critical in finding a job that suits you. Before you begin your search on the Internet or over the phone, determine which ages and grades you want to teach. Once you have decided on whom you would like to teach, next choose where you would like to teach. You need to find out as much as possible concerning the school systems in the country of your choice. Almost all countries run their public and private schools on semester systems, but the months and days are usually quite different from North American and European school calendars. Religious holidays in Asia and the Middle East dictate vacations and semester lengths just as much as Easter and Christmas do in the West.

So where does this leave you? Well, in Korea and Japan, where hiring goes on year-round, the new school semester for University and public schools has already begun, which means finding the highest paying job in a reputable school will be very difficult if you’re starting your search today. But not to fear! Asia and many markets around the world have teaching positions available for inexperienced and experienced teachers alike throughout the year. You just can’t be that picky about certain things like city location, apartment size or the extra hundred dollars of salary you want.

So if you’re desperate to start teaching today, or if you’re looking for a position in a few months time, check out the list below for a brief guide to the hottest-times of the year to head to these countries. Remember, private schools hire year-round. But if you want a very good job, then be patient and wait for the right time to visit these countries.

If anyone has any further dates, additions or comments to add please feel free to do so at the end of the article.

When To Go:

January / September: The two biggest international starting months for school semesters. Never forget to watch these months for job offers. Usually the best positions at the most reputable, well-established schools become available for these months. Start looking at least two months earlier for these positions, as they are very competitive. There are also many winter camps in Korea and Japan which provide month-long gigs to teachers looking for extra income.

Countries: Korea , Japan , Hong Kong , China , Taiwan

When Not To Go:

Late-January/February: Only travel to Asia in late-January or February if you already have a signed contract and a visa with a school. The Chinese New Year in 2008 begins on February 8th. The vacation time for this festival stretches from days to weeks depending upon the country and few jobs are available at this time. As well, there is the major Tet festival in Vietnam that coincides with the Chinese New Year in Late January and Early February. In general, it is a poor time to travel Asia looking for ESL work.

Countries: China , Hong Kong , Taiwan , Thailand , Vietnam .

When to Go:

May – August: This is a good time to find teaching positions in private academies. There are summer camps in Korea and part-time work in Japan and Taiwan . Schools often extend teaching hours and add more staff in the summer as full-time teachers and students go on vacation and parents send their children to more academies. If you are hired during the summer for a short contract, available in countries such as Taiwan , Thailand, China and at the present time Korea, there is a good chance you could sign-on for the fall. Also being in the country allows you the opportunity to network and interview with other schools to find a position that suits you.

Countries: China , Thailand , Taiwan , Vietnam , Cambodia , Laos , Korea , Japan

When Not to Go:

March, April/ October-December: These months are usually the off-seasons for most ESL markets. The semesters for Universities, public and private schools are only mid-way through. Generally, only private language academies hire teachers during these months and even then the jobs available will not be the best ones. However, if you are desperate for a job, it is still possible to find teaching positions in a select few countries during these times.

Countries: China, Korea , Taiwan

Part 2

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Saving money

By Korea Jim

Most new ESL teachers are often living abroad for their first time. And for many it is also their first time earning a steady income. If one considers that many ESL teachers around the world earn enough money to be regarded as middle-class in their host countries, it is a wonder why saving money never ceases to be a difficult task for new teachers. It is far too easy to fall into the trap of living paycheck to paycheck. The new teacher must be diligent this does not happen to them or it could ruin their experience. So here are some basic ways to save money while living abroad and teaching. Let us know if this advice is helpful to you by adding a comment at the end of the article.

1. Use public transportation. Taxis are cheap in many foreign countries, but the fares add up over time. Use the bus or other public transportation when possible.

2. Pay your bills first or set money aside for when the bills come.

3. Keep your money in the bank, or perhaps even send money to another bank in either your home country or open a second account in your host country.

4. Convert a percentage of your money into another currency like $US or Euro. This does three very convenient things: First, it adds a measure of security to your money because of the stability of these currencies; second, it can also reduce the physical bulk of currencies that lack large denominations such as $50 or $100 dollar bills. When you're traveling with a lot of money, this can make a big difference; third, it prevents your from spending the money and thus helping you save.

5. Every penny counts, literally. Remember to save your loose change. I've been able to pay for plane tickets to my favorite vacation spots with the change from my jar of coins.

6. Learn how to cook at home and try to eat the local food. Western food is imported and sold at outrageous prices, especially at restaurants. If you're really dying for a steak or an imported beer, go grocery shopping and cook at home. This can save you a lot of money while satisfying your craving.

7. Budget yourself when going out. Leave your cards at home and bring just what you need.

8. Try to save enough money for emergencies. A good rule to live by: always have enough money for an airplane ticket home. Living abroad can be unpredictable and you never know when something will come up where you have to leave your host country. Airplane ticket money provides a measure of personal security as well as peace of mind.

By following these simple rules, your teaching experience will improve and you will have something more to go home to and not just an empty bank account.