I returned to Australia (Melbourne region) in March this year after almost 10 years teaching English as a foreign/second language in Korea. This experience included kindergarten, elementary (primary) school, secondary school, university (one of Korea's most prestigious) and business English instruction at one of Korea's major heavy industries companies. I also produced a major 20-book coursebook series for the world's biggest educational publisher, and participated in professional and coordination activities with organisations like Korea TESOL, TESOL International, and IATEFL.
Given my experience and qualifications, I was rather hopeful of landing a teaching job upon my return to Australia, and there were certainly plenty advertised. However, despite warm acknowledgements about the qualifications and experience, only a few have resulted in my being short-listed, and fewer still have come to an actual interview.
This doesn't particularly alarm me personally, given I have all sorts of other ELT opportunities and offers coming in (from publishing to online teaching and exam preparation), but it did make me start to wonder. I did some asking around, and heard some rather dark comments that TESOL institutions (particularly the university-affliliated ones) in Australia aren't actually all that keen on returning TESOL professionals. The position advertising is done according to policy rather than intent, as the positions have already been essentially allocated from within. Overseas experience is ignored and localized pieces of paper are preferred along with entry-level appointments and then a sort of wrangling climb in promotions from within the industry.
So the comments go, anyway.
Rather than succumb to the temptation of "sour grapes" (and as I said, it's not a major problem for me personally - I'm lucky enough to have other options), I thought I'd open this topic up and invite wider commentary. Have you returned to Australia from a stint of TESOL (or other forms of ELT) abroad and sought a teaching position? What has your experience been like? Is overseas teaching experience respected and sought after, or is it basically a localized industry full of nepotism?
Of course, this may relate to other issues as well... for example the value of teaching experience in Korea in particular when it comes to returning back to your native country. I know some Brits who did a lot of teaching in Korea and had all sorts of problems breaking into the TEFL industry back home in the UK - they mostly had to settle for other jobs (one very talented EFL teacher found himself working on trains!). Teaching colleagues returning to Canada and the US have reported similar difficulties.
And let's skip the "qualifications" issue, if possible, and assume people have the necessary qualifications on paper - what are their real prospects in TESOL industries when they return home after teaching English abroad?