The joys of being part of the system
Being a foreign teacher is again another superficial and costly exercise. They want to show you off like a new piece of gold jewelry or a good photograph. Relatively speaking it costs a lot to employ a foreign teacher in Thailand.
Making the outside world a home
I feel that the TESOL community, (if indeed there is such a thing as a TESOL community), is at a crossroads. Since so few of us have ever felt really comfortable living in another man's land, our story is not only one of alienation. It is also one of fragmentation, disillusion, and dissimulation.
The ups and downs of over fifteen years 'in the game'
It's a been a long and often painful journey, but here's an account of 15 years in the Thailand TEFL business. My careers officer never once told me that it might turn out like this.
Legendary scams, blacklists and the midnight run
I tested my marketability and checked the options available. My recently acquired TEFL certificate definitely opened up new opportunities. University job offers poured in from China, Japan, Latvia, Poland, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand.
Human beings first, English teachers second
Most of the students marched lockstep into the manager's office and demanded another teacher. Fair enough. I stepped aside. Was I ready for the seriousness of this class? Absolutely not. I had absolutely no intention of treating this class, or any writing class, with the seriousness that the students demanded. I am a human being first, an ESL teacher second.
The often crazy world of teaching in Korea
Despite being sequestered on the furthest border of the Kumi frontier, nearly fifteen miles away from the closest foreign teacher, I am still surrounded by hagwon mania. These private schools are everywhere. Due to all this severe competition, schools habitually search for new angles to draw in students. At times the teaching methods advocated are only passing fads and cheap gimmicks.
What every teacher, student and administrator should know
When I hear of students complaining that they're bored, my first response, at least to myself is, "So?" My next response is, "I really don't care." Which is true. I can't see why I should. I can't see why anybody should care. Education is the solution to boredom. Education offers opportunities for the student that staying ignorant doesn't. It's that simple.
Here comes the grammar teacher
I think it is quite absurd to reward students who are good at cramming grammar rules – and may not be fluent at all – and punish students who can speak English fairly well but aren’t very accurate. English is a language. The main purpose of a language is communication.
What do we deserve?
I’m guessing that at least one third of all TEFL teachers are underprepared, underqualified or lack any kind of training in their subject. Compounding the problem is the fact that government funding for teacher training/re-training is non-existent.
The legendary school sports day
Preparing for sports day in England for most involved rain, Tiller the Hun sports knickers and humiliation as you feebly attempted each event. In Thailand, hours in front of MTV was the compulsory training attendance. I was so born in the wrong country.