Are TEFLers Weirdos?
The opinion that people who drop their regular lives for a year or more and start from scratch in a foreign country are a little strange is not a new idea. Sometimes people in the origin country think this, sometimes locals think it…is it true?
I think it does take “something” to go out into the unknown like that; some people just have no desire to do it and really can’t see why someone would enjoy it, considering the typical kinds of readjustments you have to make, and for this reason think people who do it – and do it enthusiastically – are weird. There may also be people who feel envious and it comes out in a negative way.
If pressed to generalize, I’d say perhaps there is a higher proportion of unusual people in TEFL than in other fields. I don’t think it’s always bad to be unusual – which is of course a deliberately vague word, so you’ll just have to take my word that I don’t mean to imply something necessarily bad. Perhaps the true oddballs “spoil the bunch” and get disproportionate attention.
I might also posit that people out of their regular environment – in a vacuum – where no one really knows them and there probably seem to be fewer consequences for oddity than at home are perhaps more willing to take risks or act out.
To see how you measure up, visit a seven-page thread on Dave’s ESL Café about “the looniest teacher you’ve ever worked with.” Wow – I feel better already!