Find someone who…

Find someone who works more than their contracted hours without monetary compensation.

Find someone who hasn’t had a pay rise for the last five years.

Find someone who can’t afford to buy a house despite home ownership being common among people their age.

Find someone who works in a place where the staffroom is smaller than a classroom yet caters to the same number of people.

Find someone who is praised for their preparation and achievements without any recognition in job security.

Find someone who is constantly job hunting in order to transcend precarious employment.

Find someone who has made sacrifices for their workplace in spite of there being no reciprocation.

Find someone who is expected to conduct research despite having no allotted time nor payment provided to do this.

Find someone who has their working hours cut due to undersubscribed courses while their employer looks to finance new campus buildings.

Any other ideas, add them to the comments.

22 thoughts on “Find someone who…

  1. Hi Marc,

    This is one of your most poignant posts – and I am afraid I was one of those (unfortunately) many who could not answer positively (or raise their hand) to any of these statements.

    Very sad. I joined the teachers’ union of Zug a year ago, in the hopes that something will change. Not much has, but we are trying.

    I am grateful for colleagues like you, who can lift me up and I also try to, and it helps so very much.


    Liked by 7 people

  2. Hi Marc,
    I know. I really do know. So I’ll contradict you to balance the scales. Find someone who works with smart&friendly, knowledgeable people all day long. Find someone whose job is also a creative outlet. Find someone who doesn’t have to go to the company Christmas party. Cheers for a great post. I envy you your courage to be that honest.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Oh, I know, but I am tired of papering over the cracks. I want to show what’s underneath. Let everyone see, clear as day, what needs to be made better. Thanks Kamila.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. Find someone who is fighting back! Find someone who joined a union. Find someone who is going to change the rotten ELT system for the better. Find someone who stood up for themselves. Find someone who isn’t going to put up with working for free, with no contract, anymore.

    You’re completely right Marc. There’s no point in papering over the cracks and ignoring the fact that we are precarious workers and our rights as workers are being trodden all over. Solidarity with you from the Unite ELT branch and ELT Advocacy Ireland.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks a lot, Keith. You and the ELT Advocacy Ireland are inspirational! I’m not in a union, though I have seriously looked. But silence is serving nobody. Hopefully speaking up means things get out in the open.


  4. Find someone who doesn’t casually mention their family lives like their colleagues do because they’re LGBTQ+.
    Find someone who others LGBTQ+ because they themselves don’t want to be othered.
    Find someone who feels they can’t include LGBTQ+ in their materials because they’ll be fired.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Absolutely. Easier (but not actually easy) in some contexts and downright impossible in others. Thanks for your comment and retweet, Tyson.


  5. Find someone whose employer regularly adds in (unpaid) weeks off work with little to no notice.
    Find someone who is often observed and critiqued in the workplace, while having no outlet to send similar observations back up the chain of employment.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Find someone who can’t join the union, because their classification (as a ‘casual ‘hire’) means they’re not eligible to join–even though they’ve been teaching 20 hours a week for a decade.

    Find someone who works full-time hours, but has no health insurance, sick leave, or pension.

    Find someone who can only take a day off when sick if they also find a substitute, prepare a full lesson for that person, and then pay the substitute out of their own pocket.

    Find someone whose students say things like, “Become a teacher? Well, no offense, but I wouldn’t want to wind up like you.”

    Find someone who quit teaching entirely, even though they loved the actual work, because they couldn’t support themselves.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hi Dorothy. Thanks for the comment. I wonder how much the turnover is a design feature of EFL. At the university level you can get by and it’s not untenable but actually working for language schools long term; I can’t imagine how one can do it. Probably one can’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Mark! Well, I had to quit jobs because of the things you have said above. However, I left my comfort zone and put myself to fly away. I have to confess that I don’t regret of quitting my previous job in a well known institution in Brazil! One of the many situations that I have faced, it was not allowing me to attend an international Conference outside Brazil because the students would miss the class (I suggest them to put another teacher in my place, but they said no), and they didn’t pay anything for me to attend to this conference! That time I felt pretty bad, and when I came back, I simply quit!
    I really feel sorry for those teachers who work in institutions or company that money is all about! Teaching development is only for a few teachers, not for all! Teachers who wants to improve themselves to be an innovative professional, those “jobs” seen them as a threat! No one wants a professional who will argue and discuss about their position as a teacher in their workplace!
    I have been teaching for 10 years in many contexts, some great places and other extremely awkward! wherever you go, you will find someone who will get advantages from you and from your work. Unfortunately, that’s a fact! You are replacing in a click of eye, if you don’t agree with your boss! That is why I decided to be a freelance teacher and since then I choose what I want to do and not what someone wants me to do, most of the time, what they wanted , it was against what I believe! Nowadays, I am teaching in one of the most important Universities in Latin America, I am really enjoying there because you can experience different teaching backgrounds and contexts what it makes the program an outstanding opportunity! So it’s been a great opportunity to develop even more my critical thinking about teaching and career.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Priscila,

      Thanks for the comment. I wonder what happens if you cannot quit. Not everyone can. I know TEFL sells itself as this great flexible career, but I think it’s only supposed to be flexible for the employer. Easy in easy out. Food for thought.
      Anyway, I am so glad to hear your university work is fulfilling!


  8. What a great and at the same time sad post, Marc. You’ve highlighted some really important issues.
    Reading them and looking back at my TEFL career I’ve realised yet again how lucky I am in my current job at a university in Belgium. Everything me and my colleagues take for granted (as well as probably many people in other professions in this part of the world): full-time contract, manageable contact hours, high salary, paid holidays, social security, two months of paid summer holidays, 13th month pay, etc., are unheard of luxuries in the private ELT sector…


    1. Hi Marek,

      You’re exactly right. I mean, I have stuff to gripe about but I am still in a good position compared to a lot of teachers, even full time ones.


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