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Old 26th July 2015, 17:52   #1 (permalink)
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Any English teachers out there?

Hi all

I'm about to finish my last year of University, and when I finish I would absolutely love to teach English in Turkey! I have around four months experience of teaching English abroad, and I am passionate about it. I have also been spending full summers in Turkey since I was 9.

If there are any TEFL teachers out there who can give me some advice, I would really appeciate it.

-Is the wage good enough to live on? Or should I ideally have some savings to fall back on?
I can only judge the cost of living from my experiences as a tourist. The current rates seem to be 2000-2500 lira a month, but I don't know how much an apartment and bills will set me back (I am keen to teach in an area with many other expats, most likely close to a resort).

-Does it matter how many hours my TEFL course takes? There is a range of options for hours. The more hours - the more expensive!

-Have you enjoyed your experiences as a teacher? Is there anything you would advise?

Cheers
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Old 26th July 2015, 22:16   #2 (permalink)
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Cool Re: Any English teachers out there?

I taught in Istanbul for seven years. Two years at Robert College and 5 years at Bilgi University. I did not teach English, I taught in English speaking schools in the computer science departments.

Robert College is the elite of secondary schools and you probably have no chance of getting a job there without lengthy experience and credentials but take a look through the page below for K-12 school requirements:

http://webportal.robcol.k12.tr/Employment/Pages/default.aspx

K-12 schools are governed by Milli Eğitim and Universities by YÖK. They have very different requirements. K-12 schools have dress codes to include coat and tie and no beards for men. Universities are very relaxed--usually, I worked in jeans or khakis, no tie, etc.

You will have stiff competition because a lot of Turkish teachers, in the last 5-6 years, have been qualifiying to teach English and schools can get them cheaper than foreigners.

Experience will count for a lot these days, a Master's degree helps, teaching experience in classrooms in your home country, teaching certificate, TOEFL, etc. are minimum qualifications these days.

If you have finished your university and are available immediately, jump on a plane, come here, and start beating the streest. You can knock on doors and also you should look for adverts for foreign teachers online and in any newspaper you can find. If a school has not filled their quota for teachers by July they will start getting desperate and you might get lucky.

Stay away from so-called English language schools, many of them pay low wages, pay no benefits, often do not help you get a work permit and are generally sweat shops.

Good luck
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Last edited by MiddleEarth; 26th July 2015 at 22:18..
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Old 27th July 2015, 10:04   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Any English teachers out there?

Thanks, MiddleEarth.

Unfortunately, I think the sweat shop English language schools may be the only institutions within my reach. After reading your message it seems like I'm in no position to be fussy Thanks for the advice!
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Old 27th July 2015, 15:33   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Any English teachers out there?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hippocampus View Post
Thanks, MiddleEarth.

Unfortunately, I think the sweat shop English language schools may be the only institutions within my reach. After reading your message it seems like I'm in no position to be fussy Thanks for the advice!
I would strongly suggest that you do NOT do that and that you spend some time in the region/city where you plan to work and find a good Turkish friend who can show you around.

Some of these places will work you without a work permit. They MAY get a fine if you are discovered, you will be thrown out of the country. Working illegally has gotten to be a lot tougher than it used to be.

If you find a school that offers you work, ask them to meet other teachers there. Ask the teachers if they were told or asked to go to work before they had work permits and "not to worry" about the bureaucracy. Ask the teachers if the school followed through and got the work permits. Ask them if they get paid on time and regularly. Ask them if the school pays their social security. All of these are requirements by law and the law is starting to be enforced strong than it used to. Also ask them if the school helped teachers find a place to live (possible) or provided lodging (not likely for these places). Do not take anything a recruiter of one of these places tells you at face value. If they are reluctant to introduce you to other teachers and let you talk to them privately, walk away and go elsewhere.

Do not let your enthusiasm for teaching here cloud your good judgement.

I did say that if you could come to Turkey for the next month or so and visit schools, you might find a vacancy or two that need filling and where the interviewer may not be as "selective" as they might have been in January through March when they routinely hire new applicants.

Good luck and be very careful
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Old 27th July 2015, 20:38   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Any English teachers out there?

Thanks again, MiddleEarth

I've actually not finished my final year of university yet (it's a four year MA), so I have almost a year to go searching. I'll make sure to write down all the questions you've given me and to be extra vigilant.

I absolutely will not accept any position without a work permit. I would rather be in the UK and unemployed than take that risk!
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Old 28th July 2015, 08:39   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Hippocampus View Post
Thanks again, MiddleEarth

I've actually not finished my final year of university yet (it's a four year MA), so I have almost a year to go searching. I'll make sure to write down all the questions you've given me and to be extra vigilant.

I absolutely will not accept any position without a work permit. I would rather be in the UK and unemployed than take that risk!
Many Turkish private K-12 schools and maybe some universities hire native English speaking teachers at teacher fairs in the UK and the US. Investigate where these may be held and plan to attend them. They are usually in the first quarter of each year. If a school sends a headmaster or other representative to one of those, you are probably assured they are legitimate.

Also put together a list of Turkish schools in the city or area where you want to teach. Istanbul is the biggest "market" for English teachers of course but I believe Ankara, Izmir and Antalya also have a need.

Put together a dynamite cover letter and your CV and send it out to every schools you can find. They probably get a lot of these so make your opening paragraph catchy enough that the reader will want to look further into your request.

Even if you do not get a reply, get a cheap phone calling account like Diamondcard or Zoom or Skype where you can call the office of every school you wrote. Ask them if they received your message and if they considered your application. If you can get a headmaster or chief instructor on the phone, ask them to look at your application. They may not hire you but you can at least ask them what you would need for an application in the future.

Hope that helps, good luck.
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Old 28th July 2015, 09:35   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Any English teachers out there?

Hippocampus, there are decent language schools out there, you need to find them. Try EF INST for starters. You will want a school with proper educational organisation, especially a good DOS or ADOS who will be able to give you advice and support in your lessons.

Language schools are reasonable places to start in ELT, if it goes well you will be able to move to better places quite soon. Most English teachers I know started off in language schools, experiences can be varied and interesting. Go for it but be careful.

The money offered is barely enough, an accommodation allowance or accommodation itself should be available in some jobs.

İstanbul is the place to work for starters, there are networks for advice, people to share flats with and always plenty of options there. It is very difficult to find decent work in language schools near resorts. Outside istanbul ı would only recommend kids schools as places to work.

You should have some TEFL certification. CELTA is expensive but well worth the investment and will stand you in good stead both as a qualification and help with how to teach. When you are standing in front of classes you need to have some recipes for what to do. CELTA is the best at doing that.

If you are sure you want to come to Turkey try to get on the CELTA at either iti http://iti-istanbul.com/ or British Side http://www.britishside.com/. They will give you contacts for finding a school to work for. There are many decent language schools in istanbul (but there are more bad ones unfortunately), for example British Side, EFINST.

If your degree is in English you will be highly valued in kids' schools.

Good luck.

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Old 30th July 2015, 06:54   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Any English teachers out there?

eldivenci, what do you mean by "kids' schools"?
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Old 30th July 2015, 14:38   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Any English teachers out there?

Schools for kids aged 6-18, kolej (6-14) or lise (14-18.
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Old 31st July 2015, 08:23   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eldivenci View Post
Schools for kids aged 6-18, kolej (6-14) or lise (14-18.
I the States these are called K-12 schools (Kindergarten through senior high school age)

I did not like the formality of these schools, I taught in two different schols and Milli Eğitim regulates that you must wear ties, coats, no beards, no jeans. Whereas university environments I was in had no formal dress code for faculty.

In the university I only had to deai with students. We refused to talk to a parent or other family member unless the student requested a meeting and then ONLY with the student present. All of our students were over 18 and legally adults.

Not so with K-12 kids, parents were supportive of their darling babies to the extreme, parents were paying tuition, often a large amount, and they expected miracles from us and frequently sided with the student against the teacher. Except at Robert College, discipline did not exist in the classroom or elsewhere.

Your experience may be different.
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