Saturday, October 14, 2006
Angry soul searching
Τhe strangest things bring people to this site. A search for a BBQ video is just as likely to motivate somebody to click on my blog in Google as a teacher looking for role play exercises for EFL learners. Yesterday somebody chanced upon me looking for, "teaching efl optimism pessimism". I guess that lately there has been enough of both here.
I try to keep the tone of my blog positive, if a little sarcastic on occasion. However, there are times when you just went to vent, to lash out against the sometimes criminally idiotic things that you see being carried out in the name of education. The scams, cons and lies that are being told students and parents by those charged with teaching them. Sometimes it gets so bad that you feel you have to scream out and let somebody know what is going on, to expose the whole rotten edifice of what passes for education in the private foreign language education system here in Greece.
You probably have no idea what I mean so I would like to illustrate this by way of an example. Today I talked to a friend of mine today, also a frontisterio (private language teacher) who has just left her previous job at a school we shall call the K school of languages. During the past year and a half the school which has no more than 300 students has got through, three secretaries, six teachers (out of a total of eight) and five drivers (i.e. the guys who drive the mini van that picks up the younger students). I worked there many years ago and learnt that I had lost my job at the school just two days after my daughter was born, so I guess I'm biased.
The owner, who is considered to be a pillar of the local EFL teaching community, regularly berates and demeans her teachers in front of the students.She is absolutely convinced that there is only one way to teach and that is her way. Any attempt at discussion or debate is meet with instant dismissal.. It is not uncommon for staff to be reduced to a state of tears by her tirades.
How does such a person stay in business is beyond me. Yet the supply of people looking for work so far outstrips demand that she can call upon an endless stream of employees to insult and fire. Most teachers keep their doubts and reservations to themselves knowing that to voice such criticism would cost them their job in a time of high unemployment,
"Thus rent doth make cowards of us all." to paraphrase Shakespeare.
I really do not want to be part of this system, yet until I can find an alternative that pays the bills I'm stuck.