This was going to be another fulminating rant about the status quo in EFL, but honestly, I’m too damn tired to summon up the energy. That’s not to say I won’t have wound myself up to a fine pitch by the end, but here at the beginning, the tone is one of profound weariness.
I have worked for some 14 years in EFL and it has to be the most soul-destroying, thankless task ever. The actual teaching and the students are not what I’m on about here – although they too can be a royal pain in the nethers. It’s the whole sorry industry – and for all my 14 years in the business, it has taken just 6 months for me to come to that depressing conclusion. Because you see, during the first 13 years, I worked on a full-time permanent contract with all the things that comes with – all the things that normal everyday working people are entitled to like holidays, and sick leave and access to resources and a decent space to work in and a regular salary commensurate with my contributions. Oh my, how very fortunate I was back then, and how I loved what I did.
Suddenly, I was catapulted on to the sharp end of this so-called business by that by now tired old excuse: “We don’t think you fit the profile of this company. (What? It’s a language school company. I have all the qualifications required, I have all the experience and a superbly nurtured and loyal team of teachers staunchly willing to teach whoever comes their way with skill and expertise- what do you mean “I don’t fit the profile”? What are you TALKING about?)
Oh, I get it, I’m too expensive. And thus was I thrust into the cold hard world that many many people like me battle with every single day. Since pounding the streets and flogging my wares for 6 months, the most I have been offered for my services is £25 a hour and the least? Wait for it – €10 an hour. I kid you not. I have taught students in my home; I have taught in libraries and other people’s lounges; back rooms in pubs and community centres, outside in public gardens – thank God for the good weather – and all for not enough money to make the mortgage every month.
Why on earth do we do this? It is a ridiculous profession to be in if you work for yourself and working for others is equally soul-destroying. Unless you have a permanent contract with a company that actual values you as a professional and an asset (chance would be a fine thing!) DO NOT DO THIS. Please, find yourself another job, do something that is recognised as worthy and stop thinking it will ever get better – it won’t.
You have been warned.