I have just spent 2 hours reading the blogposts of blamestorming EFL/ ESL teachers with comments.
Inspired by Marek Kiczkowiak’s post here: https://teflreflections.wordpress.com/2015/02/21/the-tefl-blame-game-continued/ I have to have my say.
Let me voice my opinion on that from my place here in Poland.
On the one hand, I do not think I can really relate to this since I have almost all my teaching life (16 years) spent primarily in state schools (I do not treat 8 hours a week spent in public TEFL sector as teaching:-)). However, I rememeber the time, around 10 years ago when pay rates were higher, paperwork less killing, and students not so much demanding and aware of their needs and abilities.
Students’ expectactions rise, as generally, more and more people speak English, and I do observe that each year in my public school classes students are better and better at English. The number of teachers rises as well, with every year of BA and MA students graduating, foreign teachers arriving.
Technology is doing its bit too. If you have access the Internet and are able to use a PC or any mobile device and have at least a bit of intrinsic motivation, you are one right track to learn the basics on your own, reading, listening, interacting on forums, chats, skypes etc.
MOOCs are on the rise – there you can also learn a language, culuture and make friends.
Besides, if something goes through the Net – it must be cheaper, no need for spacious classrooms, heating, administration. Cost-cutting! If you learn through e-school, WIZIQ, Skype or any of this kind, you will expect lower charge. That’s it. If we talk about falling pays – it will NOT be better. Who needs teachers anyway? Sugata Mitra is a good symbol of this way of thinking.
Maybe I am too sarcastic or bitter about this, but this is the way it is. For many of our students Google Translate will suffice, they WILL communicate. And fosiilization? Who cares? Enough is enough. With crumbling literacy and reading for pleasure habits on the decline. I cannot see the way the market for EFL may expand without online learning, mobile learning, blended learning, virtual learning, second life learning etc. And this means fewer professionals needed and/ or lower pay.
What is more, I could give you other reasons for which not only a TEFL/ TESOL teacher is doomed. We are doomed as any other teacher is. People travel more, bring with them home more then we can teach.
Yet another saddening phenomenon is that with so many sources of knowledge and so many professionals, approaches, methods, it is so damn hard to be an authority, and even if you are so lucky and professional that you are the authority, your price goes lower anyway.
And the last thing is that from what I know, not wanting to offend anybody, teachers simply like bitching. There are some things which we cannot stop, we have to everyday find more and more appealing ways to teach, better marketing strategies to sell our products and be even more flexible when the time comes to throw the towel.