BUSAN, South Korea – With the recent cuts of teachers by the Seoul Metropolitan Board of Education and in Gyeonggi-do, there will be a plethora of teachers looking for a job this spring, suddenly finding themselves without a place to teach.
With the recent, and future cutbacks which are planning to happen around the peninsula, the competition for jobs is going to be fierce.
As prospects become more bleak, and being in a job market saturated with teachers, anything you can do to make yourself more attractive to employers is a plus. Gone are the days when just setting foot on the peninsula, degree in hand, could guarantee you employment.
Going abroad to get your TESOL can be an expensive prospect, so why not do it here? The locally owned-and-operated TESOL Alliance is the only certified TESOL program in Busan.
TESOL Alliance was formed three-and-a-half years ago by CEO Fabio Suh, who has lived and worked on four continents around the world. Along with Vancouver native Education Director James Lochhead, the two have teamed up to offer Korea’s only TESOL program specifically designed for foreigners, by foreigners.
The 120-hour long course provides teachers with practical insight into the second language classroom as well as English education’s theoretical underpinnings. They are also the exclusive operators of the Asian EFL Journal TESOL certificate in Korea – one of the most respected TESOL certificates in the world.
The course, which is done through e-mail assignments as well as on-site class lectures, has over 1,500 graduates since it was started. Suh explained that most Internet certification programs fail to provide any real methodology and techniques which can be used in an actual classroom setting. Their program is designed with teachers in mind, but that’s not to say everyone will complete the course.
“Actually, the failure rate is about 20%,” according to Suh. “Just signing up doesn’t guarantee a pass. We want our students to become better teachers in the classroom.”
Suh said that having an internationally recognized certificate will help teachers seeking positions both here and abroad. For those teachers with the EPIK program, the financial benefits of completing the course are immediate – usually about $100 a month.
Lochhead, who was taught under Professor Rod Ellis, a leading theorist on second language acquisition, designs activities that are easily adapted to any situation in the classroom.
“We enjoy a student-centered classroom environment, which teaches the fundamentals and practical ideas for the classroom,” Lochhead says.
Other benefits of the program include a website for online resources, a built-in network of teachers to communicate with, classes available in Busan, Daegu and Seoul, special guest lecturers, the chance to have credits transferred towards an M.A. TESOL at select universities around the world, and a great opportunity to experience quality professional development.
“Having a TESOL certificate definitely increases your marketability as a teacher, and taking a TESOL program gives you a chance to meet others and exchange ideas,” says Brad Serl, President of the Busan KOTESOL Chapter.
For those of you who are looking to upgrade your teaching skills, and increase your marketability in the international teaching market, TESOL Alliance is your first place to start.