Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Every ESL Teacher's Nightmare

. . . or at least every middle-aged drunken ESL teacher's nightmare:

Teaching little kids.

You'd think that parents and administrations would be horrified at the thought of putting unsightly washed-up old guys in close quarters with little children, but it happens surprisingly often. (Insert Gary Glitter joke of your choice here.)

One reason for this, I suppose, is that the number of young female ESL teachers is considerably less than needed for the tremendous number of children who are being forced to study by overzealous parents.

I'm teaching a 4-year-old girl twice a week now, in individual classes (although the nanny or the bleach-blonde trophy wife-mama always sit in.) That sounds horrifying until I reveal to you that I taught kids as young as 2 and 3 in Thailand, in groups of up to twenty. (This kind of hyper-parenting is extremely common in Asia.)

Bad enough, that, but the worst are the 11 - 13 year olds, who are too old to be cowed much by the authority of a scruffy English teacher. Little kids you can at least make cry easily, and they spend half the time in the toilet anyway.

More bad news -- it's undoubtedly the wave of the future for this kind of English teaching. It'll only be a decade or so before primary and secondary school education is given pretty much completely in English, the world over. I don't know any statistics but even here in Nowheresville, Russia there are some schools that have all courses conducted in English.

(People will still speak Chinese or Urdu whatever at home, of course, but we'll see a global situation like India or Africa, where English is the language of business, politics and education.)

The good news? The world might end in 2012 anyway.

1 comment:

Vik Vein said...

Thank you, so refreshing and inspiring before the start of the school year))) I know how stressful it can be to explain kid`s parents that their parents are not so clever as they think and that they should work really hard to help them. Sometimes I want to advise them apply for help on essays themselves to improve their own level. Yes, it happens all the time but when in several months you see that these little creatures make such progress you think that it is the best work in the world.