I know most marriages don’t start out with the “for now” bit, but I’m guessing maybe some of them do: the “for now” is mumbled under breath and hopefully out of earshot – à la Jeremy Clarkson. But I wouldn’t put too much store by a marriage that starts out thus.
And that’s what the TEFL world is – it’s a dodgy marriage based on what we all THOUGHT and not on what it really is. Marriage never changed anyone – that bloke who spent his weekends drinking beer with his mates down the pub and getting nasty when his footie team lost wasn’t waiting for you to come along and show him the error of his ways and turn him into a loving, caring, doting husband. That woman who spends everything she has on handbags and shoes, leaves a trail of clothes through the house and never sets foot in the kitchen is not waiting for you to come along and turn her into domestic goddess with a magic touch. Don’t ever imagine that things will change. They absolutely will not.
And so it is with the TEFL world. It has never pretended to be more than it is. It pays badly, is managed by people whose only motivation is numbers and the more the better – dollars, pounds, rubles and lira. More than the state education systems, TEFL institutions have as their only raison d’être – money and more money. There is not one that is there for the betterment of the students who attend or the employees they hire. They SAY they are and are very clever at the subterfuge, offering gizmos and gadgets and grand panjandrums to entice the punters. But what they are REALLY there for is to make money and lots of it off the sweat of others. That’s what a capitalist society does. And I think I may have to repeat – it NEVER pretended to be anything else nor was it ever anything else.
It’s US, the teachers, who have misread the whole thing. We think that by being professionals, being good at what we do, loving what we do and putting as much time and effort into it as we can, we’ll change the system, one school at a time. But don’t you see? That’s NOT what the schools want. They want to make money – they never pretended to want to do anything else. You, with your years of experience and substantial qualifications are too expensive, with your high expectations and need to make it something it isn’t. So bugger off. You came into this with your eyes open – and to be honest, we did – so shut up and do your job so I can make a profit.
We ain’t never going to turn this business into something it isn’t and never intended to be in the first place. I stayed for a while for the sake of the kids, but things were so bad, I was no longer doing them any good. I’m leaving it to its footie and beer, its slovenly habits and handbags. Take the house, the car, the pension and the kids. Give me the divorce papers. Where do I sign?