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The Deleted Post

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This time last year – about – I was prevailed upon to delete a post that was deemed “politically” risky (read ‘anti-corporate’). This is the post:

As I sat looking disconsolately at the end-year figures, I said, “Damn, if we had managed to get in just a few more students, we would have broken even.” Slick, smooth manager type – booted and suited and uber-smug – replied, “Well , if you had cut your teaching costs more, you would have broken even.”

And that’s it right there; that’s the problem, the issue, the bad thing, the thing that needs changing, the thing that the teachers in EFL/ELT fight against, the thing that is making where we work and how we are told do it unpalatable and ultimately untenable.

I have no answers. All I know is I’m no David and the Goliath that is PLS holds all the cards. As long as we – as in ELT professionals – are told, “If you don’t like it, there’s the door. There are plenty of teachers out there waiting for jobs,” we are on a loser, because there ARE plenty of EFL teachers (I used the word advisedly) out there willing to work for £13 an hour

for the summer
for a year
until they find something else
once they’ve retired.

But that is what most of the PLS are looking for.

And since leaving, I have been offered €10 an hour to teach online, £10 an hour for face-to-face teaching, and £15 an hour with petrol thrown in.

Can’t do it any more…


5 responses »

  1. Yep – I know the issue you’re talking about. And it seems to be getting worse, not better. That’s at least true for the commercial ELT market. As you say, there are too many people who are in a position to work for such low pay. It’s almost like a bit of voluntary work for well-to-do middle class youngsters or retirees who want to be ‘different’, ‘bohemian’. I see them everywhere and when I point out the pay issue they say “well money isn’t everything you know!” Well only people who’ve already got money can say that.

    Having a broad range of people in the industry helps make it as creative and dynamic as it is. Having people who embrace it as a career as well as people who see it as a sideline or are attracted to it because it’s different makes it an interesting sector to work in.

    But this pay issue will damage the industry because we’ll lose the breadth of people – the biodiversity that keeps it going. Those narrow minded managers – many of whom haven’t spent an hour in front of a class – are in danger of really damaging the industry by seeing teachers pay as an easy target.

    We lose lots of great teachers who reluctantly move on to become desk jockeys simply because they need to support a family or think about their pensions.


    • Thanks for the reply, Chris. It’s nice to know there are people out there who feel the same. I am so disheartened by the whole industry at the moment, but at least I’m not the only one!

  2. Much like care work:

    As an industry, frankly I think there is no solution. On a personal level, the only thing most people can do to support a family and keep teaching is to move country.

    Does the final line mean you’ve actually decided to move out of TEFL?

    • Hi Alex

      Thanks for stopping by as always and for your thoughts. I have been in TEFL for 14 years. The first 13 were great. I was on permanent contract, I earned good money and the people I worked for respected and valued my contribution. The school I worked for was taken over and the new company is everything the old one wasn’t. They no longer wanted me and gave me the “redundancy” ticket. Whether I get back into it or not depends on what comes along. I am doing a bit of ad hoc teaching, but that pays nothing and everything I have applied for is the same story. I am NOT going back into a ‘bums on seats churn ’em out quick” industrial English type environment. It is soul destroying and an insult to both the students and the teachers. I would love to stay in TEFL, but if I can’t get work that is fulfilling with a company that actually really cares about what they’re doing, I’m out. Writing, maybe teacher trainer, something along those lines?

  3. Pingback: Top complaints about TEFL | TEFLtastic blog

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