TO DEGREE OR NOT TO DEGREE - THAT IS THE QUESTION!- April 2021

Updated: Nov 28, 2021


Hello, Friends!

Spring has officially sprung! Here at Lexica, we are very happy to send our warm greetings and commendations to all you fine, hardworking people who are keeping busy and positive in these challenging times. As L.M. Montgomery said, "That is one good thing about this world... there are always sure to be more springs." Yes, indeed! - Spring is the time when, “kings sally forth!” So, what are your plans for this spring/summer 2021? We would love to hear all about them!



In the meantime, we have been busy preparing for our next course which will take place May 3-7, 2021. As is our custom for every new course, we have some exciting fresh things we have been working on that will be unveiled at the course itself.







In this newsletter we wanted to address a question that frequently arises with our students: Do I need a degree to find work as a Language Instructor or Tutor? After a tremendous amount of research we are pleased to release our White Paper on the matter. So, therefore, thus and ergo..., are you sitting comfortably? Good! - Then let’s begin!


TO DEGREE OR NOT TO DEGREE - THAT IS THE QUESTION!

We have tried to boil down your queries to four fundamental questions: 1) Is it mandatory to have a degree in order to find work as a language instructor? 2) Does having a degree make it easier to find work? 3) What are three things to do before you sign up/pay for a non-traditional degree program and how can you avoid being conned?


Question (1) Is it mandatory to have a degree in order to find work teaching a language?


Our Answer: With the conviction of our own 25 years of teaching experience and testimony from many of our students, we are thrilled to answer that question with a resounding no! Conservative estimates say that there are currently 1.5 billion people learning English alone, without even including the millions who are learning other languages. For this reason, new schools are starting up all the time, and existing schools are always expanding. To fill this demand, many schools simply cannot afford to limit their hiring process to only those holding a degree. Even established, highly respected schools have a high rate of teacher attrition and are constantly looking for new permanent teachers. There is also have a strong need for reliable substitute teachers and assistant-teachers. Our five-day course has enabled many to find good employment with schools, both new and established, and has also given our graduates the confidence to find private students and start their own business of teaching languages.



Ruth always tells her story of how we returned to Canada in 2017 and she started applying for teaching positions at various institutions. On 2 occasions she was hired on the spot (thanks to her years of experience), but when asked for a copy of her degree and upon saying that she didn’t have one - she was informed that she couldn’t work there. However, at the second college she went to, she told them she was just interested in offering her services as a substitute teacher and was hired! Soon after, she was offered a permanent position at that school, and then was asked to create and design her own curriculum for a specialized English course for Health and Fitness professionals. She was was given full freedom to design the course, and was paid only a fraction less than what the other teachers at that college were being paid, although they had all attended university.



Of course, with this huge demand for language teachers worldwide, we also regularly point out the benefits of being self-employed and teaching being self-employed and teaching privately as a “Teacher/Entrepreneur.” At our next course in May, and also soon on our social media posts, we will introduce you to a very interesting Harvard Graduate who is scientist but also a MASTER at training teachers - (both those with degrees and without) - in the step-by-step process of exactly how to maximise their earning potential and put together stellar language programs. He even shows how “Teacher/Entrepreneurs” can earn over $100 an hour teaching any language in which one is proficient. He has a fantastic program and is an excellent coach, therefore, we are really looking forward to seeing how it benefits those that have taken our course.



Question 2) Does having a degree make it easier to find work? And, does having a degree guarantee a job? Our Answer: Yes, it can give you an edge. And, absolutely not!

With so much demand for teachers, but also with the market being flooded at the moment with many people looking to work online at home, having a degree can definitely give someone an edge when going through the job search, hiring process and hunt for private students. Why do many language teaching schools require a degree? After years of talking to teachers and working with “brick and mortar” schools, we can sum it up with these 3 reasons.


1)They operate in a country, province or state that requires the teaching staff of educational institutions to be degree holders. (In most cases, they do not care what the degree is for, as long as the employee has ESL or other language instruction training or experience) Also, in many cases, the Language School in question is enrolled with a third party accreditation facility that requires that they hire teachers who have attended college or university and earned a degree, and the educational facility runs the risk of losing their accreditation status if they hire teachers without sufficient qualifications.



2) They operate in a country where almost all teachers who are looking for work already have degrees anyway, so it is considered the norm and rarely questioned.



3) The school has been established for such a long time and is extremely highly regarded, therefore, that it can be very choosy when it comes to who they hire. These expensive schools want to avoid a high turnover pattern of teachers coming and going, so they offer higher salaries. However, they also expect a lot more from their staff. They often require a very specific type of degree from their job candidates; and, they also prefer teachers with lots of experience. Of course, as most of us have observed, in this day and age - just having a degree does not always guarantee finding work. This is seen in the high unemployment rates of many countries. Additionally, earning a degree does not necessarily give the individual the real-world skills of to actually be an excellent teacher.

When we took our Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA - by Cambridge English) training course in Edinburgh, some of our fellow students had recently graduated from university, majoring in English, but, they were woefully unprepared for the classroom teaching/public speaking practice sessions with real students. One of them even left the training after the first day and lost his enrolment money - over 1000 pounds - due to feeling under-qualified to teach real students.


At Lexica, we strive to give our students as much confidence as possible in themselves as teachers, and we do this by clearly demonstrating and using the teaching methods ourselves in class, and then we conduct mini teaching practices during the course for those that are receiving the training. The teachers- in-training all encourage each other, and give each other lots of positive feedback - so it is a very ommunal learning experience, even over Zoom!


It brings us to great joy to see their confidence in themselves growing as the course progresses. So, we have seen that people usually feel very motivated and ready to get started looking for jobs as language instructors as soon as they finish our course. Still, as we have discussed, holding a degree can give someone that edge when they start to apply for teaching positions or start searching for private students, and some individuals start to feel the need do continue studying and reading up on the field of teaching in order to earn a Bachelor's degree.



Now, you may be thinking, what about these “fast-track” degree granting programs? Some of them look cheaper, faster, easier.” In fact, you may say, “I have friends who have got a bachelor’s degree elsewhere and they found work using it, they were able to move to Asia...” etc. When one looks more closely at many such programs, it becomes clear that the paint used to quickly brush over the scuff marks, deceptive promises and shallow legal grounding is still wet. But, one might reason, “do not the ends justify the means? Some have said, “I simply want a degree, a piece of paper in order get an entry visa, live abroad and do volunteer work and support myself by working part time online. My primary motive is to help people. A degree, regardless of where it comes from, would help me reach my goals and achieve a higher good.” Others add, “besides, some of these programs are being offered by people who seem to be pillars in the community and well respected.


Ultimately, it comes down to a clear understanding of the past. After 6000 years of recorded human history, the truth is, nothing carefully hidden remains so. Sooner or later, deception is exposed. However, the sad reality is that, until that deception is exposed, it is the naive, trusting and inexperienced ones that get taken advantage of. Then, ‘the ‘master schemers’ often just lie low or move away, rebrand and then rise up to deceive once again.

For those who are genuinely looking for an acceptable way to find work, get entry visas, and move abroad, please think about this: Your end goal is to most likely to help people to improve their lives _by teaching them civil obedience, how to strengthen moral fibre, and maintain a good conscience, right? Okay, but, if one has to accomplish these things by disregarding civil/federal laws, or by taking an easy - yet deceptive way out, and always be worried about the ethics of their degree being questioned, is one truly practising what one teaches? Would it not be better to reach one’s goals without resorting to murky or “double-tongued” practices?

This brings us to our last question...


Question 4: What are 3 things to keep in mind before you sign up with a non-traditional degree program and how can you avoid being conned? Our Answer: a) Know who you are dealing with. A reputable university offering an authentic degree has nothing to hide.

Can you easily contact the faculty? Just an email address does not suffice. Are there phone numbers? Where is the administrative center? Can you find the address? What does it look like? Can you find lots of reviews and real testimonials from others who have enrolled in their programs? For example, if you search that college's name on a site like Linkedin, what kind of people have earned their degree from it? if you message them and ask them about it, what do they say? Where does your tuition money get sent? (for example, if you are going to mail a cheque to pay for the program, who is the cheque made out to? Look up that name in the national or state registry of educational institutions for its address. is it there? Is its business licence or tax exempt status up to date? Is it incorporated? Is it a properly registered charity?

Is it really tax-exempt? (Most universities in Canada, for example, are registered as tax exempt charities for the purpose of the GST/HST, and the vast majority of private and public universities and colleges are tax-exempt entities as defined by the USA Internal Revenue Code because of their educational purposes. But, the IRS requires all tax exempt private universities and public charitable educational organizations to submit forms every year that show they are operating according to laws and guidelines. These institutions are required to report their mission, revenues, expenditures, donations, endowments, salaries and benefits of top officials, charitable gifts, lobbying activities etc and this information is made available to the public.) Remember that genuine accreditation, registration, secular recognition, tax-exempt status and licenses are easily verified but just taking the time to do a little digging.



b) Are they legally accredited? If they are affiliated with a third-party degree-granting institution that claims to be accredited, can you follow the trail to the source of the accreditation and confirm it? Because, as we stated before, "degree mills" and "accreditation mills" are the best of buddies. For example, one popular degree mill claims to have authority to grant bachelor's degrees through their affiliation with a fully accredited university in Montserrat, a tiny Caribbean island. These claims are made about this university: “The University of Science, Arts, and Technology (USAT) is fully licensed by the Ministry of Education of Montserrat to grant High School Certificates, Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate degrees in a variety of disciplines. USAT is also an accredited and Internationally recognized teaching and research Institution.” When you click on the link for more information, you are taken to a webpage that claims that the Ministry of Education gave approval in 2003. However, a phone call to the number given on the site takes you to a voice message from a differently named university. And, predictably, the mailbox is full. Another simple phone call to the Department of Education in Montserrat itself results in a firm denial of any sort of governmental approval. An email written on December 16, 2020 from the Ministry of Education in Montserrat states, "USAT holds local authorization to operate the business of a medical school from within Montserrat and is required to obtain specific accreditation before it can do so. However, despite the efforts of the Higher Education Advisory Board, USAT is yet to obtain the required accreditation. USAT does not operate from any physical local on Montserrat although it has acquired property for the purpose of operating the school." Also see this article written in a Virgin Islands newspaper on July 16, 2019 about the "University of Science and Technology.:" https://www.bvibeacon.com/montserrat-medical-school-sanctioned-in-us/

(Since publication of this article, they may have made changes to get around what we have disclosed. As of April 2021 the above information is factual)



3) If you need to take a loan out to get your degree and you live in the United States, there is legislation that affords partial and full loan forgiveness if you were misled by a school about the education you received. Some examples are if your school made false promises about your employment prospects, the cost of the education or whether the school was accredited. When researching the institution in question, ask them to clearly state what a degree with them will accomplish in your case, and get this in writing, keep good records. As is the case with most universities, you may not be able to contact the Board of Regents or Directors of the institute, but a little bit of digging should help you to see who founded the school and what their mission is. Then you can decide if you are comfortable with the answers you receive.



4) What if the school claims to be non-profit/charity? Most educational institutes operate as non-profit organizations that are viewed as charitable by secular governments. For example, you can make an endowment/donation to the school or college and it is recognized as charitable giving. That is perfectly fine. Except, genuine non-profit organizations generate a mountain of paperwork that must be regularly filed with the government to maintain their status. What some dishonest organizations do is - they register some kind of institute as a "non profit" charity and even become incorporated with a board of directors. But once they receive their documentation, they simply never file any more paperwork and all the tuition income that comes in just goes to the owner or the board of directors. When asked about their status, they may show their original registration document. But the real question is - are they actually reporting your "charitable activity" to anyone? Where is all this tuition money going? Have they filed all the reports with the government? We hope this information will help you to make an informed decision when choosing a degree program.




Now is the time to get the skills and confidence to teach English or any other language in which you are proficient. Don't settle for online courses with how-to videos that you have to just watch by yourself! Join us in May for hands-on training and practise sessions that will empower you to find work anywhere in the world! Become part of an ever- growing community that are reaching their goals and dreams of financial and location independence through self-employment as a language instructor!






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