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January 23, 2004

Life As a TEFL Slave

The following are brief excerpts from an article on being an TEFL teacher in Europe, published last week on the Telegraph Web site. Titled "The slavery of teaching English," it paints a picture far bleaker than what most teachers experience in Japan, though it does have echoes of the big eikaiwa chain schools and no doubt some will be able to sympathize.

"So while teaching English is fine if you want to spend a year abroad, and great for meeting pretty foreign girls, considered as a career that might offer some degree of professional fulfilment, it fails on every count. No one with a scrap of ambition can possibly consider it. As the philosopher Alain de Botton says: "You become a TEFL teacher when your life has gone wrong."

"Some TEFL slaves have been so thoroughly defeated that they don't even realise what has happened to them. I can sniff out the "lifers" a mile off . . . scruffy figures, utterly out of synch with the modern world, any style or sex-appeal they once possessed squeezed out of them by years of drudgery, exploitation and poverty."
Full Telegraph article

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