After Dave’s thought-provoking post on existential crisis, I just had to nail him down to have a heart-to-heart chat, and this we duly did. So, is ELT a profession devoid of respect from the general public? Why isn’t ‘being just a language teacher’ enough? Why is there a need to specialise to command respect? Isn’t being a clown, a counsellor, a tutor, a psychologist, an entertainer, and many others besides, and sometimes being all of these in a space of 50 minutes, isn’t being so versatile enough to warrant respect?
Let’s hear Dave’s views, and we’d be pleased to hear yours, too.
Here are the questions I asked Dave:
- Tell us a little bit about yourself
- What brought you to Turkey? How long have you been working here?
- What age group are you teaching?
- Have you taught any other age groups here in Turkey?
- What’s your opinion of Turkish students, teachers, and education system?
- What would you say to a teacher thinking about going to Turkey to work?
- Your recent blog post on ELT identity crisis seemed to have struck a powerful chord among some teachers. Do you think that part of the problem stems from the lack of respect towards EFL teachers? I’m sure you must have heard of stories about family/neighbours/friends asking, ‘So, when are you coming home to a real job?’
Your post suggested that you yourself is kind of unsure about your position as a teacher, that it isn’t enough to be someone capable of helping others learn a language, that, perhaps, if you were to specialise in something, it would make your existence as a teacher more… respectable, shall I say?
What’s your take on this?
- I think that people like you, striving for excellence, self analysing constantly, looking for better ways of helping his students, it’s people like you who will make EFL teaching a more respectable profession. I’ve worked with many teachers here who appear satisfied with their monthly salary and their course books – their time away from school is their personal time. How are the local teachers you’ve worked with? (Certainly, I think I have more Turkish than Spanish teachers in my PLN!)
- What motivates/de-motivates you?
- How do you motivate fellow teachers?
- Have there been moments when you felt like giving up teaching?
- Would you say language learning experience is a prerequisite to being a good EFL teacher?
- What do you do when you aren’t teaching, or blogging?
- What is your next goal in life?
Thanks, Dave, for taking time to speak to me. Wonderful stadium, by the way!
About David Dodgson:
I work at TED Ankara Koleji, one of the oldest private colleges in Turkey, in the primary school section. This year, I have been teaching in the 4th grade helping students develop thier language skills, rehearse for drama shows and prepare for the Cambridge Movers exam.
I am also currently studying for an MA in EdTech and TESOL through the University of Manchester’s distance programme, which I am due to complete in 2012. I have also recently started giving workshops at conferences such as the TED ELT and ISTEK Schools ELT Conferences in Turkey as well as online events like the Virtual Round Table and the forthcoming RSCON3.