I have decided the time may be right to return to teaching ESOL.

A bit of background here: I started my Adult Ed career in ESOL, then known much more logically as ESL but because no organisation can survive more than a decade (or a week) without changing its acronym, they decided that English as a Second Language was somehow wrong and it should be called English for Speakers of Other Languages.  Presumably it would be offensive to these SOL’s to imply that English was somehow secondary – or that – oh, hell: I don’t know what they were thinking.  Just as I don’t know what the people at Embrace Arts were thinking when they changed it from the perfectly good appellation of The Richard Attenborough Centre to Embrace Arts and then back again following the death of its eponymous founder.  I wonder how many people it took to decide that; not to mention the cost of changing letterheads, websites and publicity?

It’s very annoying when they change the names of things for no good reason other than marketing or hyper-sensitivity.  But I digress.

Anyhoo, following the recent announcement of more funding for classes for Asian women, I thought ‘Aha!  They’re going to be doing lots of that in Leicester, which means they’re going to need more teachers.’  So I phoned the number, detailed my qualifications and experience and was told I could apply.  So apply I jolly well did.

Actually the news item was mixed: it’s good to have more money for women who might otherwise be isolated and unable to communicate outside their community.  What’s not so good is that Cameron singled out Muslim women and indicated that a lack of English might lead to ‘extremism’.  He got criticised by a member of his own government for this: Baroness Warsi called it ‘lazy politics’ and quite right too.

For myself, I have mixed feelings too: I enjoyed teaching ESOL as I get satisfaction from helping students and seeing them progress.  I am also greatly interested in other cultures so I learned as much from them as they did from me.  However, I am concerned about the amount of bureaucratic bullshit I may have to endure and I am worried about how much these procedures will interfere with the creative processes necessary to write.

But I must make money somehow.

So we shall see.

Kirk ou

7 thoughts on “ESOL, ESL, TEFLON…

  1. but to look more positively, sucking up the admin bullshit to get the money you badly need might well be offset by the chance of gaining material to write about……….there could be a whole play or tv series in there somewhere.

    as for English as a second language………….that sort of leaves out those who would have English as a third or even fourth language, so maybe the new acronyn is actually a better option. I did part A of tefl training, being told that was sufficient to start working. Guess what……….I got no job offers at all………….scratch another option. Im running out of them. I may have to suck up taxi driving until I get that amazing pension in six years time.. We can start a club for suckers !

    1. The thought about it providing material did occur to me.  And you are quite right about the third or fourth language – most of the Asian students I taught knew at least two or three languages already

  2. Oddly enough, I’m think about this as an option, too – though I don’t live in Leicester. I’ve taught on literacy programmes in FE but have no ‘formal’ qualification. Is the much-vaunted formal qualification essential?

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