What happens after TEFL?
April 21, 2010 8:33 AM Subscribe
Five years out from my BA (in history, el oh el), I haven't been able to get any career traction and I'm looking at teaching English abroad as a way to get away and get a job. But what will happen when I come back and want to get a "real job"? And yes, I know that TEFL is definitely a real job--but will American employers think so?
posted by thebazilist to work & money (15 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Like the multitudes of liberal arts BAs (‘05), I’m floundering in assistantship and teaching English abroad looks like a way out—geographically and professionally—of the cycle of unemployment and underemployment. I know that I won’t be making big bucks, but I like to travel and this seems like a good thing for me right now. I enjoy teaching, I enjoy English, I’m into language-learning and linguistics, etc. But unless I plan to bum around teaching English forever (which I’m not ruling out), at some point I’d like to settle down and get a career going. Career-wise I’m pretty open (since I don’t have any significant industry-specific skills or experience) – I’d enjoy working abroad, or at home, in writing, communications, marketing, international policy, or… there are a lot of things that interest me.
My TEFL plan would be to spend a few-ish years, in a few different places, probably Europe (Western and/or Easter), Central Asia, North Africa. I’d pick up the local languages, which I can do easily, and hopefully make contacts in these places.
So my questions are:
1. How do employers view teaching English abroad? Do they see it as a slackerly waste of time—will I be right back where I started (at the bottom-most rung of whatever career I try to make my way into with a scattergun/brained work history)? Or will I be able to successfully spin some transferrable skills from it?
2. Is it possible to move laterally? For example, I just looked at a job opening for TEFL teachers at a "big" Saudi oil company -- can one get into a field/company through teaching English and then start in another direction?
3. Is teaching English abroad itself a career, meaning could I do this forever, like a nomad? Or have people leveraged their teaching positions into higher positions within education, eg, academic management or something?
4. What are things that I could do during my time abroad that would increase my employability on my return (besides learning the local languages)?