What Are The “Right” Reasons To Teach? Part 1

motivation1.jpg“If you aren’t in TEFL because you really want to teach, it’s better to do something else. Your students deserve more.”

I’ve come across this view, or views like it, more than a couple of times. To me, it implies that if your motives for teaching do not fall under a certain umbrella apparently defined by the author, there is some kind of moral turpitue involved.

This idea is expressed on the website of someone living in a country which he acknowledges, just after expressing this view, that a high percentage of westerners come to because of the availability of sex for money.

First off, I’d note that there is a wide area between going into TEFL to facilitate cheaply and freely buying sex and to enable yourself to live in and experience another side of a country. Certainly there are “teachers” who take advantage of their native speaker status and simply coast through a job without a thought to the best interests of their students – but there is a much larger group of people, myself included, who, though we may not feel teaching is our life’s work, get qualified, take the job seriously, and do the job well.

To those who show disdain for EFL teachers who do the job for a year or two, I’d ask if they also feel that people who are doing any other job that is not exactly what they’ve dreamed of all their life are doing something wrong. It would seem not, and the case remains to be made for how teaching English as a foreign language is substantively different from other jobs.
To be continued…