just wondering

July 31st, 2007

Would signing up with something like Facebook or Linked-In help me break out of English teaching? Serious question. Anybody familiar with either of those services: your answers are appreciated. Because, you know, I’m getting kinda frustrated with this. English teaching is getting me nowhere and the longer I stay as an English teacher, the harder it will be to break out of this. I don’t want to think it’s already too late.

12 Responses to “just wondering”

  1. John Says:

    It might help. But I’m afraid that the sorry saga of my life suggests that once you start working in a field, it can be hard to break out of it (although little things such as PhDs don’t help in the ordinary world).

    Employers seem to want instant gratification. They seem to favour people who have been in the biz. ahead of those who come in from outside so that they don’t have to allow for time to be spent easing someone in to the job.

    What direction are you thinking of going in?

    I know that what we do is a dead end of sorts because there isn’t that structure which, say, school teachers have. We would tend to go to a country, teach English there, and move on. Travel is kind of like career development, although the job doesn’t necessarily change the job that much. The only real opportunities are to start your own language school or get into the management of one or get into training teachers in TEFL/TESOL.

    You may also find that you need some sort of extra qualification to move on. That’s why I’m doing this course in Zhuhai. It probably won’t teach me anything that I don’t already know, but hopefully it’ll expand my opportunities.

  2. wangbo Says:

    The sorry saga of my life suggests the same. And I’m just as concerned about my lack of other qualifications and experience. And travel is not a career when you have a wife to worry about.

    Directions? How’s about out, first of all, and hopefully up. The way I see things is I’ve built up a fair bit of skills and experience that can and should be put to better use, in particular when it comes to language and communication. Educational management would be a step up. There are other areas I can see myself being useful in.

  3. John Says:

    The problem is that it’s always one thing or the other. I have plenty of experience, but the current absence of a TEFL qualification disbars me from so much. Outside English language teaching, I lack the experience that’s demanded.

    You might be able to get some sort of admin position with an English language teaching company as a start, perhaps. That you can speak Chinese to a reasonable level of proficiency should be to your advantage; you’re an Old China Hand, which should be another advantage.

    You’re right that now you’re married, you can’t just swan off to the next job as part of your career development.

    lzh: No, I don’t mind if you go overseas for a couple of years. [Thinks.] Oh, you are so dead when I get my hands on you.

  4. wangbo Says:

    No, it’s more like: lzh: Sure you can go off overseas leaving me behind. In a body bag. Actually, she’d be quite happy for me to disappear overseas, provided she got to disappear with me and going overseas helped both of us improve our situation.

    So far as I can see, the advantages I do have don’t really count for much. Still, the only thing I can do is try and find some way out of this.

  5. Micah Sittig Says:

    Two things I’ve found to be true for me:

    1) Change of attitude. “There are other areas I can see myself being useful in.” It’s really hard to motivate yourself to find interesting work when you think of yourself as a tool for somebody else to use. Being married to an entrepreneurial-type wife helped me to see this. Find something *you* want to do, and choose the employer as a tool that will help *you* accomplish your career goals.

    2) Networking, as with work, happens in real life (IRL). This is true for the vast majority of people in the world. Online networks are only useful insofar as they help you to find networking opportunities IRL. If you do join, try to set yourself up with groups that meet in Beijing or wherever, even if the group has nothing to do with your work.

  6. wangbo Says:

    Good advice, Micah, thanks. I didn’t mean to make it sound like I saw myself as a tool for others, but perhaps that choice of wording did reveal some underlying problem. As for networking, the real world hasn’t been too useful for me so far. Fact is, I’m not much good at it anyway. But yes, joining Facebook and LinkedIn is me trying to find some other way to make things work better for me. Of course, it has to translate into real world opportunities. I’ll do what I can to make that happen.

    But attitude, man, I gotta work on that.

    Thanks for the great feedback.

  7. Nick Says:

    I think I’m a similar situation with the dead end esl teaching. Being a teacher is not my ideal career but I’m unimaginative and not really qualified for anything else. I also can’t see my Chinese becoming brilliant in the short-term.
    I’ve decided to head back to New Zealand year after next(would prefer next year) and qualify to become a real teacher. Only takes about a year and if you study to be an English teacher there is a $10,000 study grant availiable. The point is you can then rake in the real money at international schools here in China(Or so I’ve heard).
    I also have a Chinese wife in tow and she is concerned about career prospects in New Zealand but she’s agreed to go(at the moment).

  8. wangbo Says:

    Sounds like you’ve got a good plan there Nick. Trouble is we’ve got a five year wait before we can leave. That’s alright, though, it gives us time to figure out how to get overseas (or whereever) and build up some better experience and qualifications.

  9. Nick Says:

    Unless it’s for some personal reason could you tell me why you have a 5 year wait. Does it have something to do with getting passports or immigration? I’m completely ignorant about how Chinese manage to get out of their country.

  10. wangbo Says:

    My wife is on a five year contract which she has only just started. It’s kinda expensive to get out of that contract early. On the plus side, it’s pretty good job security, and it does give us a reasonably fixed time frame to work to.

  11. Lonnie Says:

    The only thing I ever got out of I’m OK You’re OK or Games People Play was the was the line “The only way to stop a game is to stop.”

    Linked in and Facebook are both pretty addictive, but you are till confined to your own networks or relationships aided by friends in other groups…

    To be trite,but true wth another book title: Go do what you love and the money will follow….

  12. wangbo Says:

    Thanks Lonnie, also good advice. Doing what I love is what got me this far. Now the wife and I have to figure out what happens next.