Three Years of Employing ESL TeachersMay 16, 2006
During the three years at my former school, I found trends in employing people from different parts of the globe. It certainly led me to have preferences for different nationalities. I thought I would share with all who want to read this how nations rated as English teachers in a very large and middle of the range paying school.
Americans The first person I employed at my previous school, APIS, in early 2002 was an American. Let’s just call him Mr. Gump. He was acually a friendly man who had just spent his last $10,000 (as I found out later) and needed a job. He lasted a week and a half and a few weeks after that his family were organising his ashes to be flown back to California. He had been feeling a bit depressed and whipped up a quick concoction of pharmaceuticals in his mortar and paste, which he drank and was later cremated. The second person I employed at APIS was a young man from Utah. He had an unusual name and during the interview I asked him about it. He told me that his name was from the bible and his parents were Mormons. He lasted almost two weeks.
About four Americans worked at SITC and like Canadians, didn”t stay very long. I think it’s true that Americans don”t travel but the ones who do seemed to have a few problems.
Australians- Always hard working, reliable and committed and the second largest minority after the English.
BelgianOne French-Belge worked just before my departure and made a fantastic effort. Speaking French, Flemish, German, Spanish and English certainly helped him understand the concept of teaching and learning a foreign language.
Canadians – “Do you pay for visas? Do you have health cover? Will you pay for my return ticket home? Do you provide accommodation? ” No, but if you catch a flight to South Korea or Taiwan perhaps all that could be arranged for you there. These were the types of questions that your average Canadian would ask when I was interviewing them. They were not able to comprehend that you”re here and it’s now, this is Cambodia. Nearly all the Canadians that worked at SITC did an excellent job but the average stay was one month. Not because they changed schools but could not stay in Cambodia for longer than a month or two at the most. Most, not all, seemed very unsuited to living and working in Cambodia. I found it very hard to take on Canadians because of their inability to simply just stay in the country. Out of the six Canadians that worked there only two of them stayed longer than six weeks.
Dutch- A total of five Dutchmen (no women came along) worked with me and all except one did a top job. The best one of them was the greatest/strictest exam monitor I have ever seen. His exams were invigilated with military precision.
English- The backbone of SITC and usually made up a third of the Western staff. Due to the amount of English, there were good and bad but the vast majority were very good teachers.
French- A couple of froggies worked at the school in its early days but the students found their accent difficult to listen to and they only stayed a few weeks.
Germans- There were only about five Germans who worked there in my time and they could be summed up as “The good the bad and the ugly”.
Irish- There was always someone from Ireland at the school. About fifteen during my time there. All of them were top teachers and hard workers. Only a couple of Irishwomen worked there and one of them was one of the top five teachers during my time there.
Israelis- There was one in the school’s earlier days who was very reliable and a hard worker. He later gave out copies of the final exams and was sacked the next day. 6-7am classes paid an extra dollar, he worked those hours too.
Maltese- One worked at the school and made a huge effort. He had previous experience in Malta but had a problem keeping his temper down.
New Zealand-Just like the Irish there always seemed to be a Kiwi at the school. Doing an excellent job of course.
Norwegian- Only one Norwegian worked there and was a good teacher.
Scottish- I only had the privilege of working with two Scotsmen and neither stayed long. Their accents weren’t thick and the students liked them a lot. Both of them put in a vey good effort.
Slovenian- Our longest serving teacher and one of the best. Bell and all! She had an English accent after spending seventeen years in London.
Swedish- Only one Swede worked there and had a fluent, almost English accent. She did more than six months and was a popular teacher.
I would rank the top teachers in my three years as:
Irishwoman - The first teacher to start at the school. Miss BM often got complaints from students parents like, “if my child can”t study with her then I will take them away from the school”.
Londoner- “the geezer”. He can be easily identified in any teacher’s room by the sounds of, “you didn’t teach those students anything”. He was in very high demand from his students and put a huge effort into his work.
Kiwi- Mr. 100% was exactly that when it came to being a professional EFL teacher.
Englishman- Mr. MS was a very tall rugby playing gentleman, who later went on to get an A in his CELTA. Unfortunately he had to leave to watch England beat Australia in the world cup rugby.
Slovenian- Teacher Icecream as the students called her was a very experienced teacher. Her timed activities were always on the mark, her bell ensured that.
Englishwomen- The Mancunian was an original teacher and an asset who also did her CELTA after teaching at the school and got an A.
Australian-Well two of them. The first being the most reclusive one could meet in the teachers room but an animal when it came to teaching. The second was a master of getting the message across to the levels that counted the most ABC and Elementary. He was especially unique in the fact that he actually enjoyed teaching these levels, which made him a very valuable teacher.
Englishman- A true English gent who wasn’t able to teach lower levels but certainly made up for it in the advanced classes. He was always happy to help other teachers in upper and advanced. Having your own publication in a leading EFL catalog would be quite an honor. He did. He should have been at ACE.
I estimate that almost one-hundred Western teachers worked there in the three years that I was there and the average stay was six months. I guess I interviewed two-hundred or so potential teachers. I prefered to look more at the person not the paper they were holding. After going for several job interviews at some local schools when I first arrived I tried to make interviews much more casual.
I always enjoyed interviewing people and having a casual chat too. Although when it came time to speak to “hello I’m from de Phillipine” I was always polite but firm.