Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Changing Faces of TEFL

I'm pretty sure the average English teacher has changed a lot in the last five or six years, especially.

On the one hand, I'm older and the world has changed, and on the other hand, the jobs that I get now are generally better (in terms of salary, if nothing else) and thus may attract a slightly different breed than the cruddy language schools I started at.

But it seems to me the "average" English teacher has changed.

In the beginning there were these people:

You had the Mean Old Bastard, the Bloated Middle Aged Alcoholic, the Hip Young Guy. They pretty much made up the bulk of language schools employees. Happily drunk, barely qualified, cheerfully amoral. There were the Frumpy Yet Idealistic Young Women and the Professionals, but not nearly so many. The Professional was usually the Director of Studies, and used a lot of jargon, but was often secretly even more depraved than the others. (Come to think of it, it's even been a while since I've heard the term "Director of Studies" used.)

This would have been the 90s. 

In the 00s, things changed. Slowly, and more quickly in some places than others, but they changed. Other people started entering the trade.

And I drew cartoons about them. 

I wrote a whole series of cartoons when I first started this site back in 2003 (!).

But what about now? 

Well, you'll still find all those people in the business. Just in different ratios. 

So the Mean Old Bastards are still around, in smaller numbers, but they're mostly consigned to the shittiest jobs -- rural China, for example -- and clinging miserably to ever-crappier positions in the Middle East. In many cases the Drunk Middleaged Whoremongers became Mean Old Bastards, as it's not nearly so possible these days to stay drunk all the time and keep an English teaching job. 

The Hip Young Dudes kind of surprised me, in that in many cases they have turned into the Professionals. They got Master's degrees and started being more discreet about fucking students, and turned their smarmy ways towards obtaining important positions at well-paying schools. Oh, of course, they occasionally turned in Middle Aged Whoremongers. 

There aren't many Hip Young Dudes entering the business these days, because those guys all want to operate affiliate websites and do online marketing and all that kind of thing. 

Now, the Frumpys?

The Frumpy Young Women tend to be Middle-Aged Women now, but they are fucking EVERYWHERE in TEFL now. They are much more confident, much more professional and qualified, even more blazingly indignant about social justice and GMO foods, but they're still pretty frumpy. 

They've kind of combined with the Hip English Chick archetype, in fact, although I'm seeing a lot more American chicks than English these days. In any event there are a lot of 90s nose-rings still in evidence. 

Many of the others are flat-out disappearing in these days of high demands for qualifications and experience. The Crazy Guys are mostly unemployable, rarely getting past Skype interviews. The Canadians and the Starting Over Guys, who were mostly just doing it for a short time, find it hard to get work. The Bullshit Artists can't verify their documents, and the Conspiracy Guys don't want to.

I am seeing a lot of these, in the modern era:  

These couples used to be middle-aged, but now I'm seeing more relatively hip and young such couples. 

What about the rest of you out there? I welcome your comments. Are my observations typical? Am I moving into such rarefied air in the world of ESL that my finger is far from the pulse, and instead jammed up my ass? 

My collected book of cartoons will be FREE on Amazon, from September 28 to October 3


Dion McTavish said...

I'm going to Japan to visit the manager of my old branch. I'll let you know my impressions of the teachers there.

Barry O'Leary said...

I think I'm a bit of all the above teachers...nice blog!

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure the nut jobs are still out there. Where I teach, in China, we have a teacher who dresses in British military garb (that he orders online)and makes the students call him Sarg. Then there is the tatooed old lady, even one on her ear, who bullies everyone and smokes dope all day (when she can get it here). I doubt anyone where I work has the credentials they claim. I just do my job, all of 15 hours a week, and take my 5 months holiday a year (its a university so we just pretend to work) and keep my head down and mouth shut!

Anonymous said...

I am in the international teaching community these are a few stereotypical teachers we see now on the female side:

Julia Roberts "Eat, Love & Pray/feminist" middle age female Teachers.

The "Cat ladies" that can never seem to find a foreign or local boyfriend, and just need to get laid...

Lastly the foreign female teachers that are married or single that chase the exotic & cool Aussie/Brit/Irish accented teachers....hanging all over them at staff parties, having discreet hookups....secretly looking for there Mel Gibson, Jude Law or Colin Farrel...

englishteacherx said...

Mmm yess, the Eat Pray Lovers, but they're never nearly as cute as Julia Roberts or the woman that wrote that book.

Rod Woodsman said...

So what?

Jug Jugette said...

There's no cachet to anything any more: everybody's been everywhere, done everything and blogged or vlogged about it ad infinitum.
I'm sixty-seven. When I have enough money to retire from teaching in about twenty years, I plan to plant myself on my richest relatives who live in the best locations around the World, not go fuckin' anywhere and just chill; fuck'em.

Tom said...

In Korea it seems to be 50% dumpy late-20s feminists who are perpetually single and hate the local women. I guess Korea isn't exotic enough to attract the real freaks, although occasionally you find one, especially among the more jaded veterans who have been here for 10+ years.

Lawrence said...

A stereotype that is pretty common is the tefl men who hate western women. As evidenced here above.

Anonymous said...

I've seen these types of humorous classifications before on your site. Question: Where would you classify yourself X?

englishteacherx said...

Someone I know once suggested another archetype entitled "The Burnout" and I guess that would be me. I'm almost old enough to be a Mean Old Bastard, in fact.

strangersinparadise said...

I think you could add Reformed Bastard as well, someone who got rose hell but got domesticated enough to keep the whoremongering lowkey enough to stay married.