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Wendel’s work

Well qualified, just a decade out of date

Ascending standardsIMG_0001_zps810e16ce ESOL lecturersLooking back at these old situations vacant ads, one might realize that with the current standards, what they ask for is out date. Of course, these are the minimum entry qualifications. Now days, the advertisements I’ve seen the entry standards for jobs like the above are much, much higher. Masters in TESOL or Linguistics plus experience. I would love to apply for this job, and, since I do meet the standards for application but sadly, I’m a decade late.

Starting out: Origins

IMG_0001_zpsc472aa15(EPIK 2002)I started teaching in the raw in South Korea, after a short two week orientation at KNUE in Cheongju, Southern Cheongchung province. I say teaching in the raw, because initially it was painful, and without any TESOL knowledge I knew it was horrible. I can only imagine what the students thought. Still, it took me over 5 years to come even what in my mind what I thought was close to being a good teacher. It may have been the deep countryside I was teaching in, but still had a lot to learn. MY co-teachers would have me teach like they do. Even back then, I knew I had to distance myself as far away from it as possible. Amongst my fellow graduates of the 2002 EPIK programme, there were an eclectic bunch of people.

I’d always thought that the students should be speaking more. This initially wasn’t driven by any sort of theory other than laziness. Who wants to speak for the whole lesson? This principle still holds today, though is now backed by firm communicative theory.  Walsh is one, while Thornbury is another.

Ascending numbers with descending requirements

Much to my disappointment, the ESL game in Korea has gotten harder. Koreans (and possibly the rest of the world too) has seen changes and reacted correspondingly. From an observers standpoint, their response has been entirely reactive, emotional and based on what I think is the wrong idea of ‘authenticity’. Authenticity is of course where the Native speaking English teacher comes into the frame, but their person specification stating anyone from North America, is female and a new graduate. That’s a very specific demographic and screams of commercialism of the worst kind. This is what has been touted as ‘McESL’. Glitzy, desirable but with entirely with no substance or containing no academic value at all. My thoughts? The market is saturated, and the businessmen with little or no interest in education can perpetuate their line of McESL. This is certainly not confined to just Korea. Most of North-eastern Asia does this employment practice.

Up-to date

Minimum standards have gone up, but, in light of ‘professional development’ anyone who is serious in a career in ESL should actually keep up. By this I mean professional development. The act of making yourself more eligible for jobs  by gaining qualifications and experience. Very rarely will an employer provide chances for furthering education. As I’ve learnt, professional development or, ‘P.D’ is something you have to do yourself. They can take on the form of on-line courses, attending seminars and webinars. All of which have their advantages and disadvantages. In my opinion, webinars are the best since you’re in the comfort of your own home.

So, for the answer is there, develop within the profession. Spend money on yourself.

Newspapers, not only if you’ve run out of bogroll

image I used to deliver newspapers when I was young. That paper was the Evening Post . Some here ago, with the increasing influence of the internet and  the increase flow of information, that newspaper had to amalgamate with it’s morning edition, The Dominion to become the Dominion Post. But having lived overseas in a non-English speaking environment for so long that the one thing I missed while being away was reading a newspaper. It’s the tactile experience of  it all. The smell of the news ink, the feel of the newsprint on your fingers and if it had been wet, the time you had to wait to let it dry by the heater after it had been brought in from the outside on a rainy day. Sometimes, I’d take care to peel  the pages apart least they tear. I’d read the newspaper more than once. The first ‘pass’ would be through the major headlines, and anything of interest. This usually meant also reading the back page and the cartoons.  Then back through the a paper to read anything I’d missed. In comparison, reading ‘the news’ online  is different. Mostly one medium of communication, the experience of reading the news has changed. Indeed, a friend of mine said that research had found that people remembered less when reading an electronic book over a real one. The reason was tactile and, the researchers had found that people remember events and facts and placed them with where they were in the book. There will always be a place for printed books but, I think that technology has moved ahead and that society has turned a page.

War! What is it good for but bad stereo-typing?

Commando comics.jpgSomething I’ve not seen on the bookshelves (in New Zealand) for a long time. According to the inside cover, they’re reprints.  When I was young, I bought them whenever any of them took my interest. All told I had quite a collection before moving on to other things. Commando comics wasn’t my preferred version of war Cartoon frame.jpgworld two, I instead chose Battle or War comics that Fleetway publishers offered. They were also cheaper, too. But in flipping through the comic books again, they represented a stereo-typical view of world war two, Germans and war in general. But, to be fair, they were written in a pre-politically correct world.