Saturday, 1 November 2014

Fuck ELT to Hell


Thin times at the Little CHEF. (Centre for Hammering English into Foreigners) Thin times, and insecure. A colleague went for an interview at another establishment. Sharon has seventeen years' experience of teaching in England and abroad, and a diploma in English language teaching. She has taught all ages and levels from little kids to university students. She has brought up two bilingual sons and is working towards an M.A. with a special interest in dyslexia. With this degree of qualification, experience and expertise, language schools should be fighting over her.

The interview, for which Sharon prepared herself thoroughly and bought new duds, lasted four hours. This must be longer than the grilling Alan Sugar has his aspiring apprentices subjected to. She was successful: indeed I'm sure they snapped her up. An institution so selective must surely remunerate its hand-picked teachers well, you'd think.

The new job pays £9.31 per hour. This is only £2.00 more than Sainsbury's pay their checkout staff. As another colleague commented on Facebook, this is 'form over substance, inflated institutional ego covering up a total lack of appreciation for their staff.'

If you know anyone who is thinking of pursuing a... 'career' (Hah!) in ELT, do them a favour and shoot them.

(ELT, if you are fortunate enough not to have heard of it, is English Language Teaching.)

9 comments:

CJB said...

Oh indeed, Fuck ELT to Hell in a handcart. It is lousy career to be in. There are a FEW and I mean VERY VERY few places that make it worthwhile, one being the job I was summarily kicked out of because THEY didn't want to pay my salary any more. I hate them with a passion. Now I get £25 and hour with one lot and £17 with another - good money, but with 4 hours a week and no retainer or guarantee of being paid if the students cancel, I'm on the street. It burns my arse when people who are getting £40 and £50 an hour - from whom and how, I know not - tell me blithely ' don't work for them then, refuse to work for that kind of money." Okey donkey and you'll pay my bills until such time, yeah? Fuck 'em all.

Vilges Suola said...

The hourly rate where I am is very good but the hours are few now. I don't understand why the Oct - May slump is simply accepted like the weather, rather than the target of more determined marketing. Meanwhile on the floor below us, a private company is in partnership with the university, has about 60 students AND appears to be in direct competition with us.

CJB said...

Sucks piles… hate the whole fecking industry. Anyone who wants to get into it is completely barking. The last place I tried was so depressing - that quintessential dreariness of teachers stuck on the same old page of Headway, an owner who just made my skin crawl, students limping in and out looking drugged and ineffably sad, dragging backpacks and many times folded schedules. I couldn't wait to get out. And it being in Milton Keynes IN A CHURCH, didn't help.

Vilges Suola said...

How dreary. Although I only have 2 days a week at the moment, I do at least have enthusiastic students who are a delight to work with. In fact, we almost always have very dedicated people, if a bit addled sometimes. But I don't know how long this is going to last.

Scarlet's mum said...

Earlier this year I was appointed on a short-term contract to carry out detailed historical research on a variety of sites and buildings in the city where I live. Every single person interviewed for the job, myself included, had a PhD. The pay was £10.44 an hour.

I mentioned this to a friend who works in the arts, who responded by telling me she manages the budget for sending arts workers into community groups to teach them how to make collages and face masks. They get paid £25 an hour.

Born Again Agnostic said...

I don’t think it is just ELT. I’ve been very worried about my decision to pack in a tolerably well paid job in 2009 and begin a PhD. I broke my long service and toppled from the top of the salary scale (as a senior social worker in palliative care) because I wanted to get out of social work. Now as the PhD is all but finished, bar the final edits and being sent for binding, I am looking around for jobs and there ain’t many I fancy. Post doctoral research jobs pay around £25K – which is fine if you’re in your mid to late 20s and beginning to shin your way up the greasy pole of academia, having never had a ‘real’ job before. But I am not in my mid-20s, I’m middle aged, with a large mortgage and bear cost of living the South East and commuting into London (£107 per week) with less than joy!
At present I toddle on as a locum social worker – this is lucrative, you get between £25-£35 an hour (self-employed) – but the whole point of the PhD was to leave social work... And locum social work doesn’t provide you with paid holidays and sick pay (or a pension). The only reasonably paid academic work around that I could do is to teach on a social work course... But that will mean more social work, just in another guise (my PhD was undertaken within theology and religious studies, tho’ it’s a sociological thesis) – any other academic work (sociology of religion) doesn’t pay as well and the jobs are as rare as rocking horse do-do. So although my parents’ walls are decorated with pictures of me in various academic hoods, I do worry that it could have been for nothing...
I hope pay, conditions and the number of decent jobs in ELT... As I hope my own prospects will also improve... Yet at present, I must confess to being very sulky when I consider the limited options for a tolerably career for the remaining 20 years of my working life!

Vilges Suola said...

Thanks everyone for commenting, gloomy as it all is. Wish I'd inherited my father's practical skills instead of defining myself against them - I'd be a bloody sight better off...

Born Again Agnostic said...

My friend was a college chaplain for several years in Cambridge - he and his wife lived in college accommodation en route on Granchester. I used to love visiting them in late Autumn and winter, when there was mist on the marshes and river and the whole town seemed bathed in a sepia light. I always visited Kettle's Yard - it is a magical place!

Vilges Suola said...

Yes, it's lovely in the winter, but I'm biased cos I can't stand sunshine...

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