There seems to be a bit of TEFL gossip floating around that is so juicy that I am going to have to take the broadsheet-newspaper-reporting-on-Big-Brother approach here and comment on the coverage rather than the story, which you can get a hint of here:
tefltrade.blog-city.com/whiskey_in_my_jar (long since disappeared, unfortunately)
I’ve been enjoying the TEFLtrade blog a lot, but I must admit that part of that is the smug pleasure of knowing that I am well out of the UK English teaching business.
There are plenty of postive things you can say about teaching in the UK- multilingual classes, up-to-date materials, motivated students who need the language day to day- but the overwhelming atmosphere in almost every school is morose and it really gets you down after a while. So, what is so dispiriting about being an English teacher in the UK?
There’s the lack of job security, the demanding Germanic students, the production line feeling of students coming and going all the time, the pay that doesn’t keep up with London prices, the fact that the young students spending their parents money are having much more fun than you, the constant repetitiive criticism of your country, the pressure to do the Dip and then an MA to keep one step ahead of the next bunch of TEFL teachers landing back in the UK etc. etc. Frankly, though, the factor that makes you most depressed is the other teachers.
Although teachers is most decent schools (i.e. those not too near to Oxford Street or Piccadilly Circus) really do try to do their job well and some even try to look on the bright side, most simply do not want to be there doing that. Maybe they want to be back in Japan but their Japanese wife wants to be in London. Maybe they want to be in South East Asia but the ’97 bust wiped out their Thai baht savings. Or maybe when they split up with their Spanish girlfriend it was too painful to stay there and they came back doubly broken-hearted.
Then there is the whole other category of dissatisfactions- the teachers who think they should be on stage, a famous author, a DJ, a shop owner, you name it. So, although there is joking, lesson advice and gossiping about the students in a UK EFL teachers’ room like anywhere else in the world, it all happens in a suffocating fog of frustrated ambitions and broken dreams.
And so sooner or later,however sorted your life is and however much fun you are having, the feeling of restlessness infects you too and you decide that you have to get out too- out of EFL , out of the country or out of your head.
I chose life…