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Travel & Teach - India


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Global English students are working all over the world with their accredited TESOL certificates. Find out how TESOL training from Global English has made a difference to their lives:


Helen Smith

I have been teaching English here in Goa for the last seven years. My students are mainly Arabs who come down to India from the Gulf States and Africa for Higher Education at Indian universities and colleges.

The standard of English language teaching in these countries has historically been poor, so before the boys can start college they need to learn English. This is my only experience of teaching.

I don't, however, believe that there is a good 'market' anywhere in India for native English speaking teachers to teach Indians. Firstly, many Indians already speak adequate English (English shares "Official Language of the Country" status with Hindi). Secondly, those Indians who need to learn or improve their English would, generally speaking, have less disposable income to spend on lessons, and would never be able to pay the kind of fees which a native English teacher would need here. Labour in India is very cheap, and teachers are poorly paid.

There are many private institutes throughout the country which advertise 'Spoken English' classes, but I doubt that they would consider employing native English teachers, as a) Europeans could never manage on the salary paid, and b) I think the Indian teachers themselves would feel threatened by a native English speaker. Generally speaking, the standard of teaching in these institutes is not good.

However, a market is fast-developing for 'Call Centre Training' and advertisements claim that these courses can eradicate Indian accents and teach English diction and nuance. I have not had any contact with these Centres, but the fees charged to applicants are high, so one assumes that the teachers will be reasonably well-paid.

There is definitely huge potential for giving private tuitions to foreigners studying in India, as I am doing. Many of these students come on scholarships given by their governments, and some government officers themselves are given sabbaticals to come to India to learn English and computer skills. These students, and those from the Gulf States, are able to pay higher tuition fees. A teacher giving group classes to these students for five or six hours a day, five days a week, could earn enough to live comfortably here.

A teacher would have to be based in one of the big university cities, i.e.: Pune, Hyderabad, Aurangabad or Bangalore. Many students choose to learn English in
Goa before starting college in one of the above-named cities, because many local people here in Goa speak English well, and use it as a first language. Many boys who come here stay with local families, which greatly helps their language development. My own syllabus takes six months to complete, after which time the boys often move on to study computer courses or to start college.

Living and working in one of the big Indian cities such as Hyderabad or Bangalore would probably be as the uninitiated imagines: totally chaotic! The standard of living for the vast Indian middle class is rising quite rapidly, and so is the cost of living. It is no longer cheap to live long-term in India. Goa is unique in India. It is the smallest Indian state, and is located on the west coast, 600kms south of Bombay. English is widely spoken, and there are quite a lot of Europeans who live here permanently, although most of these 'ex-pats' are older, many of them retired. The weather is glorious between November and March, almost unbearably hot in April and May before the onset of the monsoon, and then we have torrential rain between July and October.

Many Europeans visit Goa on charter flights between October and March for a winter sun holiday, and this would probably be a good introduction to the country for anyone contemplating coming here for the longer term.


Anila Agarwal

In India, the English language is taught in many schools. There are regular schools, very good schools run by nuns and Jesuit fathers but for these schools you need a regular BEd and MEd. In addition to that they are only paid about GBP 200. There are some international schools who may employ teachers with Certificates and diplomas In TEFL, TESOL, CELTA etc. The online job I got was through an advertisement I found in one of the job sites (www.eslcafe.com). I applied for it and was asked to give an interview through the internet. They checked if my computer and internet connection were in order. I signed the contract and got the job. I teach Chinese students they come to the class whenever they can. The material is prepared by the school I just need to help them learn the language. The classes are small sometimes even one-to-one. The students who join may want to just improve certain aspects in the language (for example writing, accent). These classes could be everyday or maybe twice a week depending on the student. This is not a very well paid job but it gives me a lot experience, which is what I want.
The differences between face-to-face and online are as follows:
* even if you can see and hear the student (through the internet) there is always a feeling of being in two different places and not in a classroom.
* there are a few activities that can be done much more easily face-to-face than online (play games with two teams, for example)
* sometimes there can be a failure in the technology (e.g. the webcam may not work or the sound may not be clear...)
* students are less animated as they have to be in the picture.
But on the other hand students are more focussed, as they don't have fellow students that can distract them and they join the class whenever they are free.
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