Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Epic Fail

So it's kind of up in the air, as to how easy it is to lose a job here, as a government employee in the Kingdom; people rarely get fired in the middle of the school year, but the administration often, and capriciously, fail to renew people's contracts.

My office mate suffered that fate; he'd told me a few times that he felt it was a job we could do until we dropped, because they needed teachers that badly. He routinely left a couple days early for his holidays, as well as letting his classes out early quite often; we could assume that's the reason his contract wasn't renewed, but it would be speculation, since they weren't obliged to offer him any reason why.

As usual, he found about this suddenly, a month before the summer holiday, and had to hurriedly sell his car and get things in order to leave. (Making a pretty decent salary, as we do, this wasn't nearly the disaster that it could have been, but still, inconvenient for him.)

A few months ago another teacher got pie-eyed drunk on sidiki -- which is basically rubbing alcohol -- and punched another teacher in the face, but despite some vague threats of "an inquiry" nothing much, it seems, will happen to him; this is largely, I feel, because the people in charge here simply don't want to admit to THEIR bosses that such things go on around here.

Now, to the meat of the story:

There are three stories about guys who got fired right in the middle of their contracts.

One guy was making little secret of the parade of young men (boys?) that he was running in and out of his apartment at all hours of the day and night, and finally the neighbors kicked up a fuss and he was quietly let go.

Another guy was arrested trying to smuggle duty-free alcohol back in from Bahrain; he was arrested, but laughed it off due to his un-named "connections" and despite losing his job here, was observed working in a nearby city a few months later.

And this story, which I love:

One notably loony teacher decided to kick up a fuss about the slovenly attire of many of the teachers; he went to the head of the department to complain about one teacher who habitually wore sandals.

He was told, undiplomatically, to stop complaining and mind his own business.

He went into his class, steaming with anger, and monomoniacally ranted to his class about it for a while.

"A job requires proper clothes!" he finally said. "What if I were just to come into class in my underwear every day?"

And then, of course, he stripped down to his underwear.

Ah, there was a time -- it would simply have been another unverified story of a teacher's lunacy.

But now -- all the students began making videos with their phones, and within a couple hours, it was all over YouTube.

I don't know if it's still on YouTube or not; I think not, and searches for "teachers undressing in class" mostly yield . . . I'm not sure what that stuff is. Porno films without the sex scenes?

Anyway, wrong gender, right idea, but fun nevertheless, here's a good one to sign off with:


Eve said...
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Eve said...

Apparently, such things go on wherever you find English teachers overseas.

Getting drunk and punching someone -- OK, I can almost understand that. Having illegal gay sex with tons of locals ... I'm sure it's not that uncommon. Smuggling in alcohol - again, I can almost understand this.

But stripping down to your UNDERWEAR in a class filled with students who have smartphones?

This makes no sense to me. Was the teachers' lack of respect for fashion THAT important to him? Why, why, why is the TEFL field filled with such MORONS?!?!

Simon said...

It is appalling what some people do/get away with in TEFL. There are some weird characters in TEFL as you have explained in your blog. But why? Is it the idea of "I'm in a different country, the rules don't apply to me?" Is it the ease at which some of these people can get hired? (I.e. they couldn't get a regular job back home so they jump ship and teach english? I don't know. Actually, I take all of this back-- there are weird people everywhere.

English Teacher X said...

It's a combination of all the things you mention -- plus, people just get worse and worse the longer they do it. All their bizarre behaviour is attributed to being a foreigner rather than just being insane. . .

Anonymous said...

yeah, its quite obvious that that kind of behavior cannot be attributed to poor logic, poor decisions, or even lack of intelligence (MORONS?!?)
It has nothing to do with the importance that he places on fashion.

Its the behavior of a man who walks a fine line of mental health. As ETX alludes to, the ESL profession isn't innocent in its part in the situation.

John from Daejeon said...
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John from Daejeon said...

I think your logic is a bit faulty, so I'm with Simon. There are morons and weird people everywhere in this world of ours (including several of my students over the years). You just see an amplification of it in TEFL and the like as these are the only people you see and understand on a regular basis while abroad.

Let's just say that there are all those DMV and post office jokes/hell stories for a reason, so it's not only the ESL teachers and their ilk that are off their rockers.

Anonymous said...

Just to be clear, you want to inoculate the ESL industry from fault, probably because you are in it and it hurts your pride.

This incident couldn't possibly be the result of the very stressful environments and long term psychological ramifications of those environments and ESL industry career dynamics in general. I mean, its completely logical to dismiss the long term psychological ramifications of working for peanuts in foreign countries, or working for a bit more in really shitty foreign countries. All environments in which familial support is absent and true social support doesn't exist.

In doing so, its necessary to attribute stripping down to underwear in a professional environment filled with juveniles to "being a moron", which to any rational person is an absolute ridiculous conclusion.

Your going to the extremes of false rationalization to protect your pride.

And who are you trying to convince? I've worked in the industry and have worked along side the nutcases and personality disordered individuals which are way more common in any one sample of workers than would be in a sample from your home country.

Eve said...

Yeah, again, one must ask -- are the mentally unbalanced drawn to TEFL, or does the TEFL make otherwise sane people lose their shit (due to the reasons cited above re: psychological ramifications of culture shock and lack of support)?