By David C. Douglas
“The times are a changin’,” wrote Bob Dylan the Nobel Prize-winning poet/song writer musician back in 1964. The simple truth of these words seemingly rings truer today for nearly everything in life; be it rapid technological advancements to the altered neo-geo political landscape, to erosion of social norms and morality, even mutual respect and common courtesy has degraded and the list continues on-and-on but not least-of-all is the, too often, devastating to many, changes taking place in the job market, employability, careers and career stability.
Back in 1964, as Dylan wrote the words: “times are a-changin’” most people in the United States and much of the world could count on finding a career or job skill that would last a lifetime. Entrepreneurship and small business start-ups were generally much simpler, fewer regulatory requirements were demanded an initial start-up cost were much less while the prospects for long-term success as a result of those risk and efforts taken, though not assured, were much more likely at that time than in today’s topsy-turvy vigorously changing world.
Due to the industrialization of the third world countries in order to exploit cheaper labor markets (especially developing countries like China, México, and India) by multinationals corporations and the implementation of so-called, fictitiously named and drastically under-enforced, Free Trade Agreements many industries in Developed Nations have suffered greatly. Probably none more so than the United States which now has 93 million working-aged adults no longer in the workforce! Many of these people lost their jobs careers because their employing company moved factories overseas while others fell victim to currency manipulation or bad trade deals overly influenced by special interests, not national interest concerns, yet others were replaced by technological advancements or increased burdensome government regulations and over taxation of their industry. While those possessing the least skills like laborers, construction workers, and landscapers, etc. had the added slap in the face as tens millions of low skilled immigrants, both legal and illegal, entered the workforce albeit much of it illegally employed off-the-books. This huge new immigrant population now sends literally hundreds of billions of dollars back to their home countries annually which furthers degrades economic vitality in the US thus further handicapping legitimate job and economic growth.
Times are changing but for many people who lost jobs, careers businesses or been replaced due to losing or downsizing of an industry, increased automation, technological advancement or whatever reason there was no other alternative except to downsize their own personal hopes in the job market and life ambitions. The same has been true for millions of young people coming out of universities with degrees that could help to fetch them an entry-level position and eventual a good life and income. Many of this upcoming working generation have had their dreams and motivations dashed and have begun to lose hope of a good future and postponed their lives to a large extent. The day when a 4-year university degree nearly guaranteed a job and success has long since passed.
One stable option, now for several decades, for those ejected or rejected from the job market has been the alternative life and career do-over career change to an overseas ESL Teacher. Since working as an ESL teacher in remote foreign-lands most often provides one a very livable salary with free accommodations, cheap living expenses and the added adventure of living and working in a different culture and country more often than not on the other side of the planet. ESL teacher’s especially single teachers due to low living expense usually could also save a good portion of their salaries as well.
Nevertheless, ESL teaching has not been insulated from changes. As my dear mother frequently said nothing in the world is permanent. Some of the higher paying countries for ESL teaching 20-years ago were Saudi Arabia and Japan but compensation must have peaked about that time as today’s ESL salaries in those markets has slipped in real earnings for most positions and show no signs of rising in the near future with so many native English-Speakers willing and available to travel to work overseas in this hard to find a good job environment. Additionally, older ESL teachers, 58 and over, use to not have any problems finding work in most overseas markets but this has also changed. Just 15 years ago, a person without a bachelor’s degree could easily find work in countries like China and Taiwan to name just two but this has become the exception when accomplished as both of these countries have severely tightened employee visa requirements on age, education, criminal history checks, etc. Due to worries and increase the cost of health care insurance older ESL teachers often find they are either never offered a job or cannot acquire a work visa.
For many others out of job in countries like the United States, traveling to an overseas country to work as an ESL teacher is out of the question for a multitude of reasons such as separation from family and safety concerns to name just two.
However, times are changing and all changes are not negative or detrimental to employment and salary growth. In regards to ESL teaching and teachers, teaching ESL online is becoming the knight in shining armor to both old and young ESL teachers as well other teachers and many native speakers new to teaching. Since it allows access to teaching over the internet from anywhere worldwide many people who once never could or would consider going overseas can now teach foreigners English from the comfort and safety of their living rooms.
The demand for online ESL teachers is growing exponentially as ESL online students and online companies ESL companies growth patterns skyrocket upward. Older ESL teachers have no worries since many online ESL companies have no maximum age limit and there is no visa requirement to worry about. Other ESL teachers who are often located in a country that didn’t pay well for personal reasons such as the lifestyle, culture, weather, life experience, women or whatever reason and those that worked second and third jobs find online ESL teaching much more convenient and more lucrative!
ESL students get the benefits of one and one attention professional designed step-by-step colorful lessons combined with the added convenience of not commuting to a remote classroom a big-time savings positive feature of online education.
The future of online teaching especially education and teaching especially online ESL teaching could not be any brighter. The times they are a-changin’!
David Douglas AKA Teacher David with 51 Talk