I recently read an article on a rather crude yet entertaining and informative Korean blog about the decision to re-sign or find another contract after you finished your current one. Though simple in nature, the poster's questions really hit home to me, and I thought maybe it could be useful here as well. The contents went as follows:
1. “Am I furthering my education in Korea?”
2. “Am I advancing my career in Korea?”
3. “Is my general quality of life higher in Korea than it is back home?”
4. “Am I saving an amount of money above and beyond what is possible to save back home?”
Of course, the answers to these questions will change from time to time, especially depending on current circumstances in your home country.
The reason I put this on here is that I think a lot of us who do ESL work or other odd jobs in foreign countries easily become blinded by our current situation. Are we enjoying our lives? Absolutely! We probably wouldn't be here if we didn't. Are we advancing our lives...well that is a whole different ballpark.
Now I'm not meaning to put off anyone who thinks it would be a good idea to travel and teach for a little bit, especially after finishing college. On the contrary, I think it is a great idea to spend some time seeing the world and gain a new prospective on life. That being said, I think that there is a limit into the foray before we begin to become disillusioned with our current circumstances.
Of course some people have valid reasons to plant more permanent roots, such as being married, or they have significant skills/education from their home country which can help them to obtain an advancing career abroad. But this posting is not really directed towards them. This is more for the individual with a BA degree in political science who is now 27 and still teaching ESL.
I am also not trying to over-glorify our lives back home either. 9-5 office work is boring and will make you melancholy for the free and chaotic your previous life offered. But at the same time, taking a look at those four fundamental questions can really help put things in perspective. This is a particularly difficult argument when for some of us the only available jobs back home are bagging groceries or flipping burgers. ESL apologists could easily say that they are overseas a bit longer than they had expected to "weather the economic storm." Heck, I have been fighting those tides since 2007.
One question I had for myself when I was caught in the same situation was how am I going to be spending my life when I am 60? Of course if Korea/Japan has anything to say about it, teachers will be completely replaced by teaching robots, but I digress.
Anyway, my point is that while you are going from one school to the next, or even getting that sweet gig teaching English at university, are you really advancing your career? Are you really going to have some skills that can contribute to the job market back home when the cold reality sets in that you are burnt out on teaching, you can't find any area to advance in, and you have mediocre savings?
It does however read like a letter to yourself.
Last edited by Anna Key; 27th October 2011 at 22:46.
"Take this, brother; may it serve you well."
To me it reads like one of those bland articles that proliferate across the net. It says nothing that hasn't been said a zillion times already. It's also a one and only post. I look forward to seeing what the OP comes up with next, or do I?
Unless you have something truly worth going back for, not just in terms of career opportunity but perhaps for personal or family reasons, then that soul-destroying 9 to 5 job can go to hell. Don't try to tell me that 9 to 5 has any better prospects in the context of the reality of life at home. No, the OP is not a good post, it just chooses to look at the world in almost the same way it observes EFL teachers do.
OK so you're still 27 and "still in Thailand" worrying your career ain't going forwards. Then get an MA or PGCE or whatever appeals but generally speaking if your time to return hasn't come yet, then unless you have something truly worth going back for... you must be crazy.
Why would I go back to the UK?
1. more money? yes but I spent a lot on living day to day, and still did not have the lifestyle I have here.
2. Job prospects? Maybe, but again the better the average job the more you want, then the more you spend. (see 1.)
3. Family? I only have my mother that I would care to travel there for. The rest can come here.
Staying in Thailand?
1. A much better lifestyle.
2. A job I enjoy, but don't work all the hours in the day.
3. Savings, probably equal to what I would save in the UK, but don't have to spend on flights to the sun.
4. New car and house. I would have had to scrimp and save to afford both, here not so bad.
5. Entertainment. Always within easy reach without braking the bank.
6. cost of living. (or does that come under lifestyle?)
6 to 3 to stay
Now where is my boat to go to 7/11
When I was young I kicked my sister.
my mum gave me such a smack, then asked "do you want another one"?
"Jeez" mum I said "I have enough trouble with one sister without you having another"
It's the product of either naivety, mediocrity or spam. Let's hope it's the former.
I disagree with the original post because it's a wee bit prescriptive. The OP has obviously thought through what he is saying but I balk at the rest of his design for life. Libraries gave us power.
I maintain that it is 'good post' (to me) because it has some substance, some room for discussion.
Well as far as I'm concerned it's not a good post. Heads I win, tails you lose and ring the bell
Well, Let's not squabble then.
There's no way I'd want to squabble with you Anna. One of these days I want to taste that grub and take on board the wisdom