A career plan for teaching abroad?

A lot of people have expressed a degree of skepticism to me about whether TEFL is really viable as a long-term option. Truth be told, I am not entirely sure myself, and it is certain that things will change a lot over the next 10 years. The major thing that concerns me is pension planning, but I do think that’s an obstacle which can be overcome.

This is what I’m hoping to do over the next ten years.

Year 1: British Council assistantship in Germany (confirmed), followed by CELTA/CertTESOL

Year 2: Language school in Russia/CIS

Year 3: China, DELTA

Year 4/5: Arabian gulf (and try to save as much as possible)

Year 6: Primary PGCE in UK

Year 7: Work for an NGO

Year 8, on: International schools

I think this is feasible based on my own research.

As for saving for retirement, I think there are a few options:

  1. Paying directly into an international pension plan (not always affordable on teachers’ salaries).
  2. Take advantage of the LISA scheme announced in the last budget if/when it is taken up by other banks
  3. Buy up assets (an option I would honestly prefer to avoid for political reasons)
  4. Cash savings (but very poor returns especially on current rates)
  5. Settle into a job long term with an employer pension scheme for its expatriate staff

I’d be really interested to hear from people who’ve been through this about how they managed it and what options they worked out. Living abroad is a big step into the unknown, but as always, all you can do is do your research.



Finals diary, part 5: Revision – and drinking

This week has been good. I’ve got into a good routine of getting up at 7-8 and going to the library, working until 6-7 and then going to the pub with friends (since everyone is back now). It has been pretty intense, but I’ve also been very motivated and have got loads done this week.

I also received my exam timetable this weekend (scary), and  got back one of the collections that I did last week (Cicero). I got 65 (a 2.i in the UK system, which is an acceptable mark), which I’m quite happy with, given that I didn’t get as much revision done during the vacation as I’d hoped to due to getting my thesis finished. I am still waiting to get the other one back, in archaeology, which I am a bit more worried about.

I have generally been pretty upbeat this week. It is a sharp change from the lingering depression that has been bothering me for the last few months. Maybe I am finally over my ex. Maybe it is because the end is in sight (less than six weeks to go now). Maybe because the weather is so much better. Maybe it’s because my flatmates are back and I’m no longer alone in the flat. Whatever is the reason, I almost can’t believe how much better I feel and how much more motivated I am. I even decided to pack in the fags again last weekend, and this is my sixth day without one. I was offered one on three occasions by three different people this week (which seems strangely symbolic), but refused. Maybe I will actually succeed this time?

I also found out on Thursday that I have been successful in the assessment stage of the British Council assistant-ship application. If all goes well I will find out where I am going in Germany in the next few weeks. However, it is still not 100%, as they prioritize giving places to students doing language degrees who are doing a year abroad, though in the email they sent me it was said that everyone has been accommodated in the last few years. I am pretty happy about this, and although the uncertainty is frustrating, I’m not too worried about what will happen if it doesn’t work out.

What I hope this blog to be about

I have tried my hand at blogging before, in multiple capacities, and, for one stretch, managed to keep one going for over a year. Over time I’ve come to miss the feeling of having a creative outlet, having a space in which to put down some of my thoughts and to reflect on my own life and my engagement with the world around me. I think this is the major benefit of blogging, and the reason I decided to return to it.

I’m currently in the final year of my degree, a 4-year-turned-5-year course in Classics at the University of Oxford, and as a result of that facing the inevitable decisions about what I am going to do after graduation and where I am going to end up. I have thought about taking on a PGCE, a masters in Ancient history, social work, the civil service, librarianship, and so on and so forth. However, I find myself coming back again and again to the idea of teaching. It is something which occupied most of my volunteerism at Oxford, and also the career which my current work experience most easily leads into. At the minute, I am hoping to pursue a career in teaching English as a foreign language, probably, for starters, somewhere in Europe. To this end I have applied for an assistantship with the British Council in Germany, but, being a graduate and non-language student, I am bottom of the pile. And so, I am thinking seriously about other options.

In the future I hope to use this blog mainly to discuss some of the aspects of the processes for teaching abroad, and aspects of the lifestyle which come with it. For now, I’m hoping to use this as an outlet for reflecting on my last two terms at Oxford and the process of sitting finals. My hope is that this blog can become a useful resource for those who feel drawn to pursuing a similar lifestyle to the one I do.