Saturday, December 19, 2015

Tales from the TEFLpocolypse

So! How's everybody's TEFLpocolypse going as 2015 draws to a close?

Back in April and May when I failed to get a job in the Emirates,I put in several applications for jobs in the Kingdom -- including my first one, the one I liked (and probably shouldn't have left.) 

I heard a blank terrifying nothing from ALL of them. 

But then in September and October, after I took this job in America, they started getting back to me. 

My first employers said they would be glad to have me back. 

Three months later, I have still not received an official job offer, nor a contract. 

Likewise, another big college in the Kingdom. They said they would move forward with the application, but warned that it was taking up to 18 MONTHS to get all the papers in order these days. 

(With my first two jobs in the Kingdom, it took about 6 or 7 months between interview and arrival.)

But hey, I have a job already, right? I'm even making an annual salary greater than my age. Can't complain too much. 

The way I heard about this American job was from a guy who I worked with at my first Kingdom college job. 

Let me tell you HIS TEFLpocolypse story. 

In 2013, when Big Oil Company was hiring a lot of English teachers, he took a week off to fly to America for an interview with Big Kingdom Oil Company. (That's typical corporate logic, right?) 

They offered him a position -- an official, signed offer -- so he left his job at the college, and went back to America to wait. 

And he waited. Three months passed. 

He got the contract, and signed it and sent it back. (That's about normal, so far.) 

He got his papers together and sent them in to apply for the visa.  

He was told there were some issues, and they couldn't get the visa yet. 

(What exactly these issues were, they didn't say.)

He waited. And he waited. 

Six more months passed. 

Finally he was told, well, too much time has passed, and now Big Oil Company doesn't need any people. 

(As mentioned, they laid off most of the people they hired along with me, this year.) 

Fortunately, he found this job. He's got several children he sends child support to, also, so he's not just your usual lone wandering nomad.

 (He's only 46 though so the issues were not related to his age. Could they have been legal / background issues? Maybe.)

As a Christmas TEFLpocolypse gift, SPEAKING ACTIVITIES THAT DON'T SUCK will be available free on Amazon from December 20 - December 24: 

Get it here FREE ON AMAZON December 20 - 24, also available on Kindle Unlimited.


Ken said...


In the UK it's gotten pretty hairy.

In August (2015 in case somebody in the future reads this) the UK government made some huge cuts.

The UK government made a 100% budget cut to the JCP fund a cut of 50 million. This is where job seekers often non English speakers go to improve their English skills to be able to get work.

As a result many 6th form colleges in the UK have stopped offering ESOL completely even though the government have ordered them to provide it without any funding. 6th form colleges have to cross fund ESOL using the maths funding.

In November all UK education budgets across the board from nursery to secondary school was cut by 2.1%.

Next year we've been told our funding is being cut by 17% from April. The number of classes however will remain the same. Our class sizes have to increase 20% however the number of hours available to teach each level is reduced by 12.5%. 5 years ago we had 240 hours to teach Entry 1+2. With 300 hours to teach Entry 3 and 300 for L1/L2 (for all skills reading,writing,speaking & listening).

It then got cut to 180. It then got cut to 140. It then got cut to 110 hours. Now it's floating around the 60 hour mark. They did however split the skills into three categories speaking/listening, while reading and writing are separate. I now have 60 hours to teach all three exams.

All this has done is made all the teachers strip everything out of their schemes of work except for the absolutely necessary stuff. A lot of teachers are pretty much teaching to the test as we are now required to have 100% pass rates.

There have been smaller numbers of Chinese students wanting EAP at universities now as Chinese universities are reputedly getting better. I only got 3 contracts this year instead of 5.

In response I've moved sideways and I now teach maths at A-level (level 3) and mark a whole load more exams instead to make up the lost pennies.

Ken said...

Oh a side note I forgot to mention...

There are lots and lots of returnees from all over the place. I'm getting a whole load of speculative CVs constantly.

There isn't any pattern to them...

They come from Asia, various sandboxes and or South America.

There is a trend of them being more and more qualified though. People with MAs being laid off. As with the usual lot of people with fake certs.

englishteacherx said...

One thing I didn't mention, in the Southern US there's a trend of TEFL classes being phased out in favor of "bilingual education" which means half the day in English, half the day in the students' native language (largely Spanish of course but there are examples of schools which do it in Arabic, Chinese, etc.)

I wrote my final paper in my first class towards a master's degree on this topic.

Ken said...

The bilingual education happens here too.

Rather than get the minority group (if it's big enough) to be learning English they're now trying to get the English speaking folks to learn other languages in order to help them to integrate. Urdu, Shawahili and Hindi.

So much so that they can be offered a GCSE in them.