The point of this post is the last paragraph. But if you want to get a sense of my entire train of thought, it’s best to read the whole thing.
I saw an infographic today about “Flipped Classrooms,” where lectures are watched/read outside class on the internet and whatnot, while “homework,” the section of class that includes discussion and practice, was the primary focus of on-site learning. Cool stuff. But listen to this comment:
“Hi I am teaching English communication in a poor area called a slum in Belo Horizonte Brazil where there isn’t the kind of technology available each time, I think that being creative, and having ideas for engaging students more is a journey of teaching anyone different subjects, and having trained in the area of TESOL has helped me continue finding new ways to help students understand and use what they are learning, because let’s face it there are many school subjects that need to taught in a more creative way and be what they can use now and in the future.”
Wait, you teach English communication? Grammar errors abound, and the overall structure and rhythm puts me in mind of a certain Miss Teen USA candidate, albeit one with a slightly better vocabulary. Also why did you feel the need to define for us what a slum is? Say “poor area” or say “slum”. There’s no need to say both. And of course I understand that this is an Internet comment, not an essay, and I agree that it wouldn’t be fair to judge this person on the basis of one sentence (however many words that sentence might contain). However, I got to thinking.
I was curious as to how a person could seem to be this bad at a subject they teach (despite years of having math teachers forget to carry the 1, and history teachers tell me that Columbus was a great man). I went to a website for TESOL Brazil, which hires people for exactly the sort of job the author of this comment is talking about. The education requirement for a job teaching English to Brazilians is very minimal.
I’m not sure if the lack of rigor in this area is surprising or if I should have known, but anyway if I understand this website correctly, you can be fully TESOL certified to teach English in Brazil with just 120 hours of online education (costing $150). Then all you need is a letter of introduction in Portuguese, a resume (also translated), and your certifications (translated). Most places apparently don’t even require a work visa, and will accept a tourist visa, which can be renewed before the six-month deadline by a quick trip across the Paraguayan border and back. Add in a sprinkling of Portuguese (fluency not even mentioned, let alone required), and you’re on your way.
Now granted to get a higher-status job you will often be greatly aided by a work visa and a good resume, and to teach in Europe you will need at least a four-year degree, but as far as minimum requirements go, this is an incredibly easy industry to get into, assuming you don’t mind sacrificing a bit of the comfort and ease you enjoy in the United States. On the plus (minus?) side, though, you’ll probably lose weight.
Also perhaps worth noting is that on this website, which is designed, as I said, for people who intend to teach English in foreign countries, words and letters are inexplicably dropped and other grammar errors can be found throughout the page. These errors’ type and frequency makes me think that the article was written by someone who wasn’t quite fluent in English, or just doesn’t read over what they write. Either way, it makes for a rather poor example of a webpage.
“three-point three millions square miles” - uh, what?
“therefore, not be neglected” - I think they meant “should not be”
“this is best safeguard” - missing a “the”, either a typo or language-barrier thing
“in the offing” - should be “in the offering,” probably a typo
“be on your metal” - should be “be on your mettle”; definite sign that this person has learned most of their English vocabulary through conversation rather than literature
And now for the kicker: I think I might like to teach English in a foreign country. It’s a bit ironic, I know, considering this post. What can I say? It sounds pretty cool. It would afford me tons of opportunity to write (and to live an awesome life so that I have things to write about), a living is much easier to get there than here (especially with a Creative Writing degree), and I have a great talent for teaching and language in general, not just English and writing. So what do you think? Is this something I should pursue, or should I avoid a profession that doesn’t seem to be very good at practicing what they teach?