One of my two readers, a Mr Ward of Brazil (which I hardly need remind you is where the nuts come from) has inquired about the possibility of Life After TEFL.
For me, TEFL was less a career option than something which paid my modest bills while I was really doing something else - in my case trying to complete a rather pointless PhD (in the 10 years since its submission, my thesis has been read by a staggering total of four people, one of whom - my internal examiner no less - freely admitted that he hadn't really understood the main section of it. Fortunately he demurred to my external examiner, who had been brought in soleley becasue he was the one person in the country apart from my supervisor who could understand it. Such is academia.)
Where was I? Oh yes - TEFL. Having a PhD to complete and no money, the only viable option was to move to the country I was studying and get a TEFL job, passing it off as 'fieldwork' to my college authorities. For four hours work five days a week clowning around and showing off in front of the exotic, dark-eyed college girls who made of 80% of my student clientele, I got a house and a livable salary.
It hardly needs stressing that while this was a fine way of life for a single man in his 20s, I can see why it would rapidly lose its appeal for anyone with a wife to point out their financial, social and moral responsibilities.
Having said that, I did meet a charming young lady during my year of TEFL and returned a few years later to the scene of my crimes against education with the letters 'PhD' after my name (which impress people who haven't read your thesis, so I'm generally on safe ground) to start a university lecturing job.
The reason for this was entirely down to her - romance only blossomed fully during a year she spent at her university's expense doing an MA at a British university, and on hearing her plans to get married her employer felt it better to offer me a job than to lose her, if you see what I mean. Thus it was that I walked into a job teaching - believe it or not - 'British Studies'; a subject which - being born British - I had never studied in my life. All went swimmingly well for a while (being newly married tends to give one a rosy view of the world); and then the country went seriously pear-shaped and we had to flee. We arrived back in the UK with two suitcases, a baby, and no visible means of support, to land in my parents' spare room and start perusing job pages. As a way out of TEFL, I honestly wouldn't recommend it.
Soon I saw a carefully misleading job advert, applied for it, and found myself at a crapulent desk next to No Good Boyo drinking tea at the public expense and complaining about everything. I am now into my ninth year of tea and whingeing and going strong.