I teach English here in Shanghai, the latest job in a decade of teaching gigs. I love teaching English because I learn so much from my students about their culture, their life experiences, their hopes & dreams. Plus, I can go just about anywhere in the world to work, so it's a great way to fund my travel addiction.
Now that I'm pushing 40, I've started to notice a difference between me & the teachers that I work with. Most of them are in their 20s. Maybe it's their first time away from their home country. Some are just out of school, wanting to do a bit of traveling before settling into their career. Or perhaps they haven't been able to find a job in their field in today's economy so they're waiting out the storm by working for a year or two abroad. Most of them got their ESL certification online in a few short weeks, & they generally don't take the job very seriously.
They do the same job that I do. I studied teaching English as a second language in grad school, which involved a lot of linguistics & theory & all that jazz. But that Master degree doesn't entitle me to a higher salary, nor do my years of experience help me to move up the academic ladder. When I tell people that I teach English, they assume that it's temporary, asking what I'll do next. I'm discovering that there is a glass ceiling in this industry. As a teacher, there's no real way to move up in the company.
Although I love teaching, I don't want to be an English teacher forever. & it looks like the only way to move up is to move sideways first. I'll have to change my approach if I want to get anywhere.