Teaching ESL is a mixed bag depending on what country you target. In some countries it’s a refined, streamlined endeavor where employers seek qualified and experienced teachers and the government has mandatory guidelines as well. To obtain a work visa in a certain country, a government may actually require a teacher have a TESOL certification and/or a certain amount of experience.
In other countries, this isn’t always the case. In China, it’s a little bit of both it seems.
There were once days in places like Korea and Japan where anyone could roll off a plane and be offered a teaching job on their way to their hotel. Those days are over in some countries, and many others are following suit.
Take for instance some countries in SE Asia. There are few credentials a teacher really needs to have in order to secure a job. At the same time, there are SE Asian countries, like Vietnam, where a teacher must have a TESOL certification or at least a certain number of years teaching to secure a decent job and a work permit.
The “glory days” often refers to the time when it was easy to find a job for anyone who was from an English speaking country, and furthermore, if they looked the part of what that country deemed a native speaker to look like.
In many Asian countries, both East and Southeast, these two worlds still exist. Many times an employer will hire based on country of origin and appearance. However, these days are slowly and surely slipping away.
Along with lackadaisical and careless hiring practices came the backlash of behavior from teachers who were chosen for no other reason other than the fact that they were born (in a certain country). Governments are safeguarding their societies and children from these mishaps and one of the surest ways to do this is to thoroughly vet prospective teachers from the onset. This is a good thing for aspiring teachers, a bad thing for travelers or ex-cons looking for a ticket to sojourn in a certain location anytime they wish.
The glory days that are not over are those of job options. ESL is growing at an incredible rate across the globe and there is no better time than the present to get yourself credentialed and out on the road. If that’s what you desire to do, that is.
Korea, for example, will have teaching jobs farther than my own life will take me. It will likely change, but they will be there for a long time. Public school jobs are dwindling, but private sector opportunities continue to thrive. In fact, with the reduction in public school jobs, the private market will probably flourish even more eventually.
This is all good news for professional individuals. The days ahead are in your favor if you prepare yourself and put in the time.