From Korea to Singapore as an ESL teacher

Discuss about getting a well paid job or career advancement. Ask about salaries, expat packages, CPF & taxes for expatriate.
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Joined: Fri, 03 Dec 2010 11:42 pm
Location: South Korea

From Korea to Singapore as an ESL teacher

Post by CelticSlav » Sat, 04 Dec 2010 12:23 am

Hi everyone. Changes in my personal circumstances (read: longtime girlfriend getting transferred!) have caused me to start looking for work in Singapore, after over two years teaching ESL in South Korea. I'm looking to come in early 2011. I've got a few questions and would greatly appreciate any input.

1. How difficult will it be to find work? I have a BS in psychology, a CELTA awarded in Europe, and about 2 1/2 years experience teaching ESL to kindergarten - middle school students in Korea. I guess I should also mention that I'm a presentable 28 year-old male from the American Midwest. My one worry is that many institutions in Singapore - public schools in particular - want teachers that are actually licensed to teach in other countries, and not just TEFL certificate holders. Should I plan on spending a year at a teachers' college back in the States before I come?

2. Should I secure a job online before coming, or would it be worth the risk to just fly in and look for work "on the ground"?

3. Are there particular seasons that are heavy/light for hiring in the ESL field?

4. Is there any work for foreigners to do in Singapore apart from teaching (any ideas here, no matter how crappy the job, would be appreciated)? Unfortunately I think my prospects outside of ESL would be bleak... the only other field I have experience in is law enforcement/security back in the States.

Thanks in advance for your help, best regards, and hope to be joining you down there before long.

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Post by k1w1 » Mon, 06 Dec 2010 12:48 pm

Singapore is in a unique situation, as far as ESL in Asia is concerned, because everyone speaks English. So there is not the same selling potential that you might have anywhere else.

ESL is a nasty field of work in Singapore and there are plenty of awful language schools who will hire you for next to no money, long hours and no benefits. I strongly advise against this.

If you can possibly get your teacher's license your whole experience in Singapore will be vastly better, as you will be able to apply for work in International Schools (which offer overseas curricula and programmes to foreign students). You would then also (presumably) have another teaching subject to offer, which would obviously increase your hiring chances a lot. The work at International Schools, while not as lucrative as other professions, is much better than what you would be looking at in language schools. These positions will offer flights, housing supplements, medical benefits and schooling options for any children (doesn't sound like you have kids though).

I can't comment much on other industries that expats work in, but it is worth noting that in order to get an Employment Pass (EP) you are meant to be doing a job that cannot be filled by a Singaporean, so it will not be possible to get any old job while you find your feet.

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