Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Teacher Gripes

I have taught ESL in three countries already (the Philippines, Thailand and Australia) but my career has never been as uncertain as when I moved to the last one. It is not taken seriously here.

In the Philippines and Thailand, I was assured that I would have a job at least for a year and these contracts were renewed automatically. It was not a problem planning ahead.
It is true that you need only a university degree in English to be able to teach in those countries legally. You will find a lot of backpacker English teachers who do not care about teaching or improving their skills.

South Australia imposes a very high standard in teaching. One has to have a postgraduate course in Education or Teaching before he/she can be considered. There are also some training certificates required even in Adult Education. That means 1 1/2 years of full-time studies on top of a Bachelors degree.

Once employed, the teacher will enjoy a very good hourly rate but the advantage of teaching in Australia ends there.

Even if you have already spent tens of thousands on your education, you will be employed as a relief or casual teacher not just for the first six months, not just for the first year, not just for the first two years...but for the first five years.
That means no sick pay and no holiday pay. That also means no pay during the school holiday. You will only earn money when you teach and that means you are practically unemployed for almost half of the year.

Since you are a casual worker, you can be sacked any time the employer wants. No wonder there is always a shortage here.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Please pick me, Oprah!

I have been a fan of Oprah Winfrey for decades. I have laughed and cried with her. Because of her, I have learned how to take charge of my life.
I lost hope that I would see her in person right from the start because I have a Filipino passport. When I was young, it was impossible for me to get a US visa. Right now, it would still be very difficult for me to get the document.
But she is coming to Australia this December!
Her announcement of an Australian tour for her US audience has given me hope. There is now a chance for me to see her and be in her show. I can be in Sydney and watch her live at the Opera House.
On the same day of her announcement, I emailed her and pleaded that she gives me a ticket. I fervently hope that she picks me.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Jane Elliott

I have come across a few teachers who think out of box and change the world. These are the ones who try to change how we think and how we should approach education. These are people who aspire for equality and see the world in the point of view of a non-white male.

On the other hand, there are some teachers who do not really yearn to change the world but have the world look in a mirror. There is one teacher who gives white people a chance to have a glimpse of how it feels to be non-white. And that is Jane Elliott.

Jane Elliott is a retired American school teacher who has produced several videos of people participating in an experiment that simulates racial discrimination. Some of these experiments last for two days. Some only for a day but these have created profound reactions from the participants and other researchers.

I hope I can participate in this project someday. Or better yet, create a project that is uniquely Australian.

There are a few of these experiments that are accessible via Youtube. I hope you enjoy this sample.