Monday, November 29, 2010

If I could do it all over again ...

by David Lloyd

Now there is a loaded title. So many things to consider. But let's narrow it down. To our decision of  becoming a teacher.

"Why DID I do it?"

How many times have you asked yourself that question? Can you really remember the answer? Was it a labour of love? A matter of convenience? Did you always want to be a teacher, or like me, thought that this was the last thing you'd choose to do, and then one day, it just felt right.

I guess, looking back, it was much better than continuing to milk cows on a kibbutz. Although it was much easier to manage a few hundred cows through the milking barn, than manage a classroom of 20 to 40 unruly students. Beating them with a plastic rod to spur them on was clearly frowned upon by the principal. I imagine it still is.

Maybe the burning question shouldn't be "Why did I choose to become a teacher?" but "Why did I stay in teaching, when I finally knew what it was all about?"

Five years ago, we put up a poll - "If I had a chance to do it all over again..."
51% chose - "I would choose a different profession."
while the other 49% stated, that despite everything, they would still choose to be a teacher.
Should this surprise us? And if so, why? Because so many teachers would choose this profession all over again, or because more than half would never choose it again?

It would be interesting to post  this poll again, here on the ETNI Blog. Has anything really changed in the last five years. Any bets?

I receive many emails from people who want to come to Israel to teach, or people already in Israel who have decided to make a career change to teaching. I don't know how to best answer them. Warn them of the dangers? Encourage them on? I used to send them on to the ETNI list, but I found that teachers were scaring them off. "Are you crazy! Do you know what we are paid? And don't expect anyone to respect you, not to mention the violence!" So I now usually first point them to the "Teaching in Israel" WORD file that the English Ministry has put out and suggest they contact the Chief Inspector in order to receive any further official information. And then, at the very end, slip in the suggestion of their writing also to the ETNI list.

The thing is - English teaching has become a huge commodity throughout the world. Kids, just recently out of their teens, with little, or no English teaching background, and not even a work visa, are teaching in places like South Korea, where there is a dire need for English teachers. The ETNI Advertisement Board is bombarded daily by schools in China and Taiwan that are looking for native English speaking teachers. I have blocked such postings, because their appetite for repeated postings is insatiable, and Etniers have complained. Although, I must say, the idea of going to China or Taiwan to teach is tempting at times ...

So, what DO you get out of teaching? Are there days when you feel that this is your true calling? That you have made a significant difference in your students' lives? And then other days when you ask yourself - "What was I thinking?"

Should I come back and ask you this same question, tomorrow?

If we could do it all over again ...

1 comment:

  1. I have 3 teaching credentials from California 24 years teaching non and limited English speakers and recently finished my MA in Applied Linguistics. I wanted for years to move to Israel (make aliyah as I'm Jewish) but was told that I couldn't teach ESL at university level without a PhD. Even in the US I can teach ESL at university level with my MA. So I will end up going to Saudi or UAE where I can teach adults and make a lot of money. Israel needs to change their system.