Saturday, October 30, 2010

Simply The Best


One of the (many) strange things about English teaching is that pretty much all the teachers that I know thinks they're the best teacher they know.

It's not a job like baseball, or sales, where your "stats" are immediately visible. You could consider test scores to be some kind of indicator of quality, but in fact they're not, for numerous reasons -- tests rather more clearly indicate the level of students' motivation, the ability they already had, the length of the course, and (in many cases) whether or not the teacher directly gave them the answers.

The ONLY thing most administrations consider as a measure of teacher quality is whether or not the students complain, or sign up for new courses.

Sometimes students don't bother to complain, though, or are perfectly happy with some kind of shitty teaching as long as it doesn't require them to do anything. In the past, English students were mostly looking for some foreigner to stand there and talk about themselves for 45 minutes, and you still see that, especially at private schools and among teenagers who don't want to do any work.

Teachers, especially long-term teachers tend to be egotistical, self-centered people -- it's a lifestyle that suits those negative qualities, and in general you need a thick skin to survive life abroad.

Now, students will almost never complain to a teachers face -- in fact quite the opposite, they'll shower the teacher with completely false praise. And of course, student complaints are rather often irrational.

As a result, virtually any teacher you ask, no matter how under-trained or inexperienced, think they're better at the job then anybody else at their school, and in most cases anybody else in the city.

You can see the blogs. You know where they are.

And the justifications they come up with for their shittiness can be quite amazing.

"Of course I never do pair work or let my students speak in class! They'd just start chattering away in their native language."

"Of course I don't bother with grammar (or whatever) the students don't like it and don't need it, they'd rather practice real world English by hearing about my last trip to Bangkok."

"Of course I make my students write and do grammar exercises for the whole class, and then just write the answers on the board. How else are they going to learn? I never get any complaints, never!"

"Of course I come to class drunk, I'm more relaxed and the students enjoy it. I never come to class on time, because the students never do either."

Ah, but, as globalism continues to globalize, students are becoming more and more discriminating. Hell, even here in the Middle East at this college, students who would a few years ago never have questioned their teacher are doing so -- I had to take over somebody's grammar class because the students didn't like him. (He was offering the second excuse of the above group.)

So, I guess, the days of the fuck-up are passing; even this low-stress job is becoming more serious and competitive.

It's sad, really. . .

1 comment:

Online Teaching Jobs said...

Ya i agree with you it's simply the best!