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Online Instruction-Overcoming Discrimination?

 
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Mike



Joined: 17 Mar 2006
Posts: 4
Location: Roseburg, Oregon

PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 4:29 pm    Post subject: Online Instruction-Overcoming Discrimination? Reply with quote

I have to face several serious barriers to gaining meaningful employment both overseas and within the U.S. I am a single parent to an eight year old boy, and I am sixty years old. Although I have a great CV, it seems that my career had completely ceased after age fifty or so. For survival purposes, I am now exploring the idea of developing an online teaching business in an effort to remain employed.

I am not sure that I will be successful online. It seems likely that age discrimination will still hinder my opportunity to attract students. My original rationale was to attempt to tap into the growing demand for EFL teachers. It seems that perhaps smaller private schools (especially those outside of China) will tend to seek online teachers as a way to compensate for the difficulties of attracting and financing in-house native speakers. However, I too will need to use a web cam to interact with students. I only hope that my wrinkles don't clog up the camera. It does seem likely, though, that I shall lose students should they discover that I am an older teacher. I suppose what I need is a rubber talking head that appears similar to Johnny Depp.

I noticed that there are people responding to these threads who have online experience. Do you have any advice or suggestions in terms of dealing with this issue? Technically, I need a little advice. However, I would really like to share ideas as to the best method to attract and maintain students for online study.

It seems to me that what would be most helpful for teachers like myself is either the formation of a consortium or interest group wherein single-parent members may network and share info. In similar light, a posted list of single-parent friendly schools would indeed be a great resource.

It does seem logical that single-parent teachers have a great deal of positive attributes to bring to the classroom. Still, it seems that school owners or directors appear more interested in profits and matching young teachers with young students. I really do not think that this last statement can realistically characterize the situation. I state this because in the past I have encountered several school owners who were willing to help make arrangements so that I may bring along my son. I discovered that teachers' colleges or teachers' universities are likely targets for queries. Still, these schools seem very difficult to discover.

I'm still struggling with my problems related to discrimination. At times the barriers seem insurmountable. However, like all single parents, I must keep trying to make a life for my child. The difficulties become a little more tolerable when I can share my concerns with friends or people with similar problems.

Sincerely,
Mike
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RRK



Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 6:29 pm    Post subject: On-line instruction overcoming discrimination? Reply with quote

Dear Mike,
Please excuse my bluntness, but your letter exudes a victim's attitude. If this is how you write your letters of introduction, it is no wonder that you are having and have had difficulties finding a job in EFL/ESL.
You cannot allow the initial negative responses to cause you to have an attitude that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You are making all these negative things your reality. Whether consciously or unconsciously, you begin to look for discrimination, so you find it.
Looking for a job involves salesmanship and there is plenty of rejection in sales, but each "no" means you're closer to a "yes".
I'm not saying that there isn't discrimination for everything from age, gender, race, colour, creed - you name it, it's out there. If you really want a job, though, don't look in the places where you know that you'll encounter it. I mean, don't apply for a job that asks for specifics that you can't fulfil because you're setting yourself up for rejection.
There are so many single parents in the U.S. and Canada, that I don't believe you will be discriminated against there because of that. I know that I wasn't.
Have you always been in the ESL/EFL field or is this something that you latched onto recently? What is your educational background? If you qualify, there are lots of jobs available in colleges and universities both in the U.S. and abroad.
"I am not sure that I will be successful online. It seems likely that age discrimination will still hinder my opportunity to attract students." These statements are self-defeating and tell me that you will do things to make sure you won't succeed.
You need to look at yourself and your situation and what you want to do with your life honestly and pitilessly.
Being a single parent is not easy. Are you involved with a single parents support group in your area? Regardless of age and gender, there are many common denominators.
Your child will keep you young, but you have to keep yourself physically and mentally healthy to cope with the situation you've been dealt.
Mike, I'm sorry if I am giving you unwanted advice and playing amateur psychologist, but I don't like to see a person sabotaging him or herself.
Until you overcome your own self-doubts, you will continue to limit your success.
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Mike



Joined: 17 Mar 2006
Posts: 4
Location: Roseburg, Oregon

PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply to RRK Reply with quote

RRK,

Thanks for the uplift. Of course you are absolutely correct in your observations concerning a self-defeatist attitude. And, of course, I would never allow myself to project a negative attitude in queries or cover letters.

To answer a few of your questions or comments, I have been applying for college and university positions for more than six years here in the U.S. I have an M.A. in Linguistics and a bundle of years of experience in the EFL field, mostly overseas. While it is true that I often find myself rather dejected, and sometimes depressed, still I continue to try to overcome the difficulty of finding work.

It is easy to become self-defeating at this stage in a person's working career. And, it is also true that it becomes much easier to deal with difficult problems when you have good people with whom to share experiences and ideas. I am currently communicating with several great people with similar problems. And I have already found new avenues to explore for work.

Sincerely,
Mike
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RRK



Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 9:50 pm    Post subject: Age discrimination Reply with quote

Thank you for not taking offense to my observations, Mike, because believe me, none were intended.
Where did you work overseas, Mike? Can you speak any other languages? You could try connecting to former employers (if they're still alive! LOL) or looking at locations in the U.S. and Canada where there are large immigrant populations of people with these ethnicities.
How long has it been since you've been in front of a classroom? Are there local ESL programs where you could do some volunteer work?
Right now, in the province of Quebec, Canada, they are desperate for ESL teachers at highschool (CGEP) level. Check it out.
I know that as a Canadian, if I want and am accepted for a job in the U.S., the TN visa would apply due to NAFTA. However, I'm not sure if it applies the other way around. Perhaps you could check that out.
For EFL teachers with a Masters in Linguistics, you could apply to both public and private universities in Mexico (not necessarily Mexico City) and earn a comfortable living. Your being a native English speaker holds more weight than your age does in Mexico, especially in areas that are off the beaten track. Some Mexican universities have affiliations with primary and secondary institutions, so you might be able to make a deal to have your son in school either on a bursary or at a reduced rate.
More questions: When you think of yourself, what age comes to mind? Are you older or younger than your chronological age? How do you feel about yourself? Do you like what you see in the mirror? What can you do to make you like yourself better or feel younger? If you have grey hair and it makes you feel old, then tint it! Update your look to something contemporary. You don't want to be mutton dressed up as lamb, but in today's North American society a 60 year old is still in middle age - not over the hill yet!
Anyway, "Dear Abby" signs off for now!
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Mike



Joined: 17 Mar 2006
Posts: 4
Location: Roseburg, Oregon

PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply to RRK-2 Reply with quote

RRK,

You offer great ideas and advice!

To answer a few of your queries, I taught both public school teachers and university students, and others, for five years in South Korea; I also created and managed a rather large private EFL school in Cebu City, Philippines.

I've studied five languages and can still use Mandarin Chinese, although my skills are somewhat rusty due to non-use.

For the past five years I taught both Cultural Anthropology and English Composition at a local community college. I was a part-timer. I had to remain on the dole in order to keep working. Unfortunately, the departmental chair decided to replace me with her best friend who happened not to be properly credentialed for the post. Shortly thereafter, the college decided to lay off a substantial portion of the faculty (and demoted the chair, as well). I really enjoyed working with the students and devoted a great amount of time creating fun, interesting and useful material for my classes. I also received great student enrollments and evaluations.

However, during my tenure at the college, I continued seeking a full-time position elsewhere. Although I enjoyed my little part-time job, I needed to find a proper way to support my boy.

At this local community college I tried to get the Deans and faculties interested in revamping their weak ESL program. I submitted a proposal outlining how, at no cost to the college, the campus could establish and offer both short-term and long-term ESL/EFL classes aimed at attracting overseas students and professionals. Unfortunate for them, I received the cold shoulder.

For good reason, Canada has strict guidelines for hiring United States residents. If it was at all possible, I would have made the move years ago.

Your suggestions concerning the targeting schools located in border states or in Mexico are good ideas. I have been sending queries to both Central and South American schools.

I'm a little uneasy about your suggestions to alter my physical appearance. The Johnny Depp solution to this problem seems similar to offering a CV that omits important info to hide age (which has occurred to me and was rejected several times in the past). Is it not best to be up-front and honest?

Cheers!
Mike
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RRK



Joined: 08 Mar 2006
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 5:06 pm    Post subject: Discrimination Reply with quote

Mike,
Changing your physical appearance has nothing to do with honesty and was merely a suggestion if you are unhappy with how you look. Remember, more and more men are getting plastic surgery to have a younger appearance and to be more competitive in the job market. If you get your hair tinted properly, it can give you a boost both psychologically and physically. With the traditional double standard, women have know this for years: for men, grey hair is distinguished; for women, extinguished!
Besides, in the U.S. and Canada, we are not supposed to put our age, marital status, number of dependents, or religious affiliation on any CV in an attempt to prevent discrimination - not that it always works.
I still suggest that you not discount Canada, especially the province of Quebec because they could really use someone with your qualifications and experience. Check the Canadian Embassy web pages where you can read up on recent changes and immigration.
Hope this helps.
Cheers!
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Mike



Joined: 17 Mar 2006
Posts: 4
Location: Roseburg, Oregon

PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply To RRK-3 Reply with quote

RRK,

Thanks bunches for the advice. I'll follow your lead about Canada.

Mike
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sonja



Joined: 20 Apr 2006
Posts: 9
Location: South Korea

PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2007 8:32 am    Post subject: age Reply with quote

Hi,
I have no online teaching experience but just wanted to let you know that
I am working and have worked with more senior teachers. Last year in Korea I had several friends in their 60's who were teachers. I also had single parent teacher friends . This year I'm in Turkey and the school that I'm working at has teachers ranging from 22-64. It's a fun environment and we are always looking for more teachers.
Sonja
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Jasharron



Joined: 07 Feb 2007
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike, I just noted your original request for assistance dated nearly a year ago. I so hope that in the past year you have located work that has made you happy and helped you be the parent you want to be. I do think that the original response to you so long ago could have been reframed in kinder language. With that said, I want to encourage you to apply for positions that you find of interest even if they have an age limit. I do. I am well-past retirement age and I apply anyway. All anyone can say is "No." I don't take it personally. When a recruiter rejects my nearly two decades of experience in well over half a dozen countries due to my age, they have lost a great deal! I have been in the field of ESL/EFL for 18 years, and like you, I still must work. Even when a country has a mandatory hiring age restriction, apply if you are interested. Countries will give special dispensation when they really need your skills! With an M.A. in Linguistics, your skills and talents are very much needed worldwide. If online teaching is what you want , then follow your heart!!! By the way, I just noted a position for a "Fellowship" on TESOL, I'm going to attach as much of it as I can below. Check out the TESOL job site immediately. The positions are for Sept 2007 and they are asking for an MA in Linguistics. You could be placed anywhere in the world. Does that appeal to you??? What a great opportunity for your child!! English Language Fellow POSTED: Jan 09

Salary: 25,000.00 Location: Worldwide
Employer: English Language Fellow Program Type: Full Time - Experienced
Required Education: Masters





Description
The English Language (EL) Fellow Program promotes English language learning around the world and fosters mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other countries. The program places highly qualified teachers in funded professional positions on projects initiated by U.S. embassies in all regions of the world. It is an opportunity for ESL practitioners to enrich their professional development as they contribute to cross-cultural awareness throughout the world.
The EL Fellow Program is funded by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. As a program administrator, Georgetown University's Center for International Education and Development is recruiting applicants for approximately 100 positions for the 2007-08 academic year.

Assignments are for a 10-month period beginning in September 2007, following a mandatory 3-day pre-departure orientation conference in Washington, DC.

Fellows serve as full-time teachers of English as a foreign or second language to diverse groups, ranging from college students to professionals. They teach up to 20 classroom hours of English per week. Fellows may also participate in or organize additional activities, such as curricula and materials development, lesson plans, preservice training, in-service training, workshops, and seminars.

For more information and to apply, please visit: http://elf.georgetown.edu

Complete application dossier must contain the following:
• Application
• R้sum้
• Two 1-page lesson plans/teacher training modules
• Statement of purpose (not to exceed 500 words)
• Applying fellowship experience (not to exceed 500 words)
• Two current reference letters
• Original graduate transcript

NOTES: 100 openings.
• Stipend of $25,000
• living allowance
• textbook and predeparture allowances
• basic health insurance
• round trip airfare from the United States to the host country




Requirements

• U.S. Citizenship
• Master’s in TEFL/TESL or applied linguistics
• Degree must be conferred by June 1, 2007
• Minimum 2 years professional TESOL experience
• International experience preferred
• Teacher training and curriculum/materials development experience helpful



Employer Information
About English Language Fellow Program

The English Language (EL) Fellow Program promotes English language learning around the world and fosters mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other countries. The EL Fellow Program places highly qualified teachers with Master’s degrees in TEFL/TESL or Applied Linguistics in all regions of the world. Through U.S. Embassy projects, Fello....more info
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diane1000



Joined: 16 Mar 2006
Posts: 3
Location: Uruguay

PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, Mike,
I don't think you have to change your physical appearance, but your mental attitude. I'm 63, and a woman of the extinguished race mentioned by one of the people who posted messagges: a gray-haired lady, although I prefer to say silver-haired because that's the way it looks. You might think you don't let your deflated attitude show when you write but be wrong : For instance, never begin sentences with ALTHOUGH, never write I'M NOT, always write affirmative sentences. The effect is different. Don't omit things from the CV, but do omit your age. By the time they've become interested, that will be irrelevant, and when it comes to talking about it, elegantly joke. It will make a change. But changes come from within, Mike
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Lexicon



Joined: 11 Sep 2006
Posts: 153
Location: New Orleans

PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You might want to consider Mexico. The state of Veracruz is quite nice, and the jobs generally are good for about $1000-1500 per month and include housing in most cases. I would also say that if you want a unique experience for your child, that could be a good location. There will be no more marketable skill for a young adult in the US in the next decade than being fluent in Spanish!

Plus, the people are really quite great, and you could probably establish yourself fairly quickly.

I happen to know that the director of ABC school in Poza Rica is leaving, and that positiion comes with a two bedroom condo. Might be worth looking up.

--drew
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