Another fabulous post from one of my favorite English-Teaching-Related Bloggers: Ted's Tefl Newbie on job security for the EFL Teacher.
He makes some good points, including:
1. You make your own security. This means that it's quite likely you will have to find a new job every year if you choose to make teaching ESL your profession. Of course, if you like your school and they like you, you could stay for another year, or two (or 4 more in my recent case...I could have probably stayed another 5 easily if I had chosen to).
2. You'll need to take care of your own future, which is a good thing. Look at all those people who depended on Enron or Citibank to look after them.
3. Get your own medical coverage (and I would add, if possible, housing arrangements as well). Then, you're more free to get out of a bad situation if necessary. And even Korea, the King of indentured servitude for ESL Teachers has been making things easier if you want to change jobs mid-contract to get out of a crappy situation.
And although Ted kind of alluded to it, he didn't expand upon the need to create your own job security through professional development. Here are my suggestions:
1. Join a professional teaching organization, such as Kotesol and make it your goal to get on a committee of some sort, publish an article in their journal or newsletter or do presentations at conferences. This shows that you're serious about being a good teacher and it gives you something to put on your resume besides the kind of flaky, "I attend Kotesol conferences."
2. Do a course, such as the Celta or an online Masters degree. An online TESOL course is probably not worth the time or money you'll put into it because employers don't really look that favorably upon it.
3. Another part of professional development is making contacts and building a network. That way, if you ever find yourself out of a job, you'll have some people to possibly help you get a new job. You can do this through Kotesol. I've also met lots of teachers at Korean unis through this blog.