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Teaching English in Singapore
The TEFL market here is less developed than in other Asian countries, but it is here and it is well paid. Employment conditions tend to be excellent and normally include return airfare, health insurance and assistance in finding accommodation.
There is a significant number of private language schools in Singapore which specialize in General English, Business English (often in-company) and English for Younger Learners. The Singapore Ministry of Education also recruits each year for English-teaching positions in the State sector.
“I worked for the Ministry of Education for three years and thought I’d shed some light on the experience. Firstly, great kids although lacking in creativity. However, be warned of the following: Your ‘holidays’ that are promised when you sign the contract will be diminished through many pointless training sessions that can last from a day to a whole week at a time. Many teachers there are not trained and so you will have to attend ‘How to suck eggs’ type courses. The whole staff have to attend and all sessions are stamped compulsory. You will also have to work Saturday mornings. A twelve hour day in the week is not unusual because you will have to do an extra curricular activity. I had to run so called fat kids around a parade square and tell them not to go to McDonalds so often. I also had to teach PE which was not in my contract.” Singapore Teacher
Principals also have complete control over when and if you leave the country. You will have to apply for leave to go away each time a holiday comes along. If you have a difficult principal they will stop you going just for the hell of it. In addition, you may experience some terrible racism from other members of staff.
Singapore consists of one main island and 60 small islands about 137 km north of the Equator It has a total land area of 647.5 square kilometres, of which almost half has been set aside as forest reserves, marsh and other non-built-up areas. Singapore has a warm tropical climate with sunshine all year round–making it a good place to develop a perpetual tan. With the sea to further moderate fluctuations in temperature, Singapore’s weather is almost boringly consistent–between 32°C (90°F) for a high and 24°C (75°F) for a low. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Singapore was 20.5°C (69°F).
Humidity is high. It hits you like a wall the second you step out of the airport. The daily average relative humidity is 84.4 per cent. That means it gets past 90 per cent just before dawn and perhaps 60 to 70 per cent in dry afternoons. Allow anything from one week to a month to adjust to the humidity. Rainfall is abundant (annual rainfall 2,333 mm). It’s wise to carry an umbrella to avoid getting drenched. The rainy season falls during the Northeast Monsoon from December to January. December is usually the wettest month while February is the sunniest. July and August are the hottest months, with average temperatures hitting their peaks.
Few Asian cities are more well ordered. You will notice the pleasant tree-lined avenues, clean streets and free flowing traffic. The educational facilities open to foreigners are well regarded, as are the nation’s healthcare services. There is also a high level of personal security.
Sporting and recreational facilities are very expensive. Fortunately, numerous public sports stadiums and swimming pools dot the island, almost all of them clean and well-maintained. City planners have also been careful to provide jogging tracks in housing estates.
Singapore has variety of international schools catering to the children of expatriates. For example: the American School, the United World College, Dover Court, and schools catering specifically to Australians and Canadians. Discipline is strict and the school takes account of the requirements of both the US and British school systems.
Rules & Regulations
To maintain the clean and green city, there are strict laws against littering of any kind. First-time offenders face a fine of up to S$1,000. For repeat offenders–it’s a fine of up to S$2,000 and a Corrective Work Order (CWO). The CWO requires litterbugs to spend a few hours cleaning a public place, for example, picking up litter in a park. The litterbugs are made to wear bright jackets, and sometimes, the local media are invited to cover the public spectacle. Naturally, the authorities hope that public shame will make diehard litterbugs think twice about tossing their scrap paper or cigarette butt on the roadside.
As an extension of the “no littering” mantra, the import, sale and possession of chewing gum is banned. You are also not allowed to bring in chewing gum for your own consumption. In short, no chewing gum whatsoever. This rule was introduced because of the high cost and difficulty in removing stucked chewing gum from public premises. In particular, chewing gum stuck on the Mass Rapid Transit train doors stopped the trains from moving. It happened a few times and those were a few times too many.
Smoking is not allowed in public buses, taxis, lifts, theatres, cinemas, government offices, and in air-conditioned restaurants and shopping centres. First-time offenders face a maximum fine of S$1,000. Smoking is allowed in air-conditioned pubs, discos, karaoke bars and nightspots.
The death penalty is mandatory for those convicted of trafficking, manufacturing, importing or exporting more than 15g of heroin, 30g of morphine, 30g of cocaine, 500g of cannabis, 200g of cannabis resin and 1.2kg of opium. Possessing these quantities is deemed as prima facie evidence of trafficking. In other words, if you possess these quantities (and possession means you had control of them), you are deemed to be a trafficker and therefore subject to the death penalty.
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