Is The TEFL Logue Part Of The Dark Side?

welcome-to-the-darkside.jpgI’ll come clean: sometimes I wonder if the TEFL Logue plays a role in the “dark side” of TEFL. What dark side, you may ask (or perhaps “which dark side”)? Let me explain.

There are certainly times when I have cursed the name of a field where it sometimes happens that teachers get paid late, feel exploited, or experience discrimination (see the lengthy comment). These things may not happen all the time, but I don’t believe the situations mentioned here are isolated cases at all. While I’ve made my point that I also find it offensive to liken teachers to victims of human trafficking or something – it’s fairly obvious to anyone who looks objectively at the field that sketchy stuff does go on. Sure, employers get a raw deal sometimes and not to mention students, but this blog is focused on teachers.

It also seems fairly obvious that the abundance of new teachers can be connected to poorer conditions overall; commercial schools don’t find it cost effective to invest in good conditions and pay when they can get people to do the work for low pay and poor conditions for a year, and then count on some bright-eyed bushy-tailed new ones to usher in when the “old ones” leave. Does the TEFL Logue play a role in convincing those teachers to go? Am I myself one of those teachers?

Well, I’m not about to stop blogging, so I suppose it’s misleading to present it like it’s a real debate. First and foremost, when I think about these things I do realize the scale: as much time and effort as I put into this blog, and as many excellent regular readers that Google Analytics tells me I have, this is one blog, and it would be a little arrogant to think that the TEFL Logue plays a major role in the field of EFL.

I also hope that my focus can show that there are not just two kinds of teachers: those with advanced qualifications who do it as their main career, and those on an extended holiday after school who cut all the corners they can. I’m in the middle, and I think the advice, stories and links I provide are relevant at least to others like me. I also try to make an effort to show the full picture TEFL; I don’t focus only on the problems, but I don’t ignore them either.

Despite some frustrating experiences, I do feel I’ve gained a lot from EFL. While I wouldn’t paint a totally rosy picture to encourage others to go for it blindly, I think overall, individuals and not to sound too grand, but, yes, society, benefit more than they lose from people working abroad.