As an “instructor without boarders” (or an international anything), there are many times where we may find that our new working and living arrangement may not meet our expectations. Many times, we are sent to work within a system that we may not agree with, or we may have ideas on how things could be done better. Prolonged experience in this setting without perspective can make you angry and bitter and make you feel like you hate the country you are in. It is important to remember that though a system may work a certain way in your country, that is not necessarily how it should work in another country. Many times you are there to experience the culture and work within their education systems, not to “fix” it. It is important to remember this. Perspective is key. Below is a video by TokyoLens that has an important message that applies to anyone living abroad or in any new situation.
BBC News: Can English remain the ‘world’s favourite’ language?
Discussion: This article points out that many of the world’s English speakers and English learners live in non-English speaking countries. Not only this, but with the rise in technology and translation devices, will there be a need to continue to learn another language in the traditional way, if at all? What are your thoughts?
Lustig, R. (2018, May 22). Can English remain the ‘world’s favourite’ language?. In BBC World News. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-44200901
Our story needs to evolve. Every person, woman or man, should not ever have to have a story like this. #OneLove #GirlLove
Seriously though. The most applicable life advice ever. Does anyone else remember this song? Everyone needs to listen to this at least once.
There was months of planning and paperwork, interviews at 2am from across the world, leaving a wonderful job that I loved in Thailand for the opportunity to teach at a college in Colombia. At the very last minute, my job in Colombia has been canceled. By very last minute, I mean I was supposed to leave at the end of January and I was told at the beginning of January that I would not be going. I was also told three days before the college semester started. So, as an adult ESL educator in the US (I am not a K-12 Certified teacher), I will not be able to find any adjunct positions until Fall 2018. Additionally, many of the teach abroad programs had already closed for February start dates.
Why and how did this happen? As an EFL instructor for different countries, your job may never be guaranteed. This is a reality that we have to keep in mind when dealing with other government agencies. In the case of Colombia, non-profits bid to run the education program. In the past five years they have always chosen the same two non-profits to run the program. So it was unlikely that this year would be any different. But somehow, a new organization won the bid. This means that the agency that I was hired through did not feel comfortable putting their instructors in the hands of an organization that 1. they have never worked with before, and 2. does not have a high reputation for running large scale programs such as education programs in Colombia. This is unfortunate and upsetting, however, I do understand and respect why my organization felt this way. This is because the decision not to send us to Colombia could not have been easy, but they kept the safety and well-being of their workers in mind and did offer other alternative options for programs in other countries.
So what can you do? Ultimately, the decisions of other governments and other countries are out of your control. Some education programs are more solid than others. Thailand, for instance, may run on Thai-time and their start and end dates may move, but from my experience as long as you have an open, flexible, patient mind, you will be okay. Unfortunately in this business, your job may never be guaranteed. So just like adapting to living in a new country, you have to be adaptable to job mishaps as well. Luckily English teachers abroad are in demand, you just have to work with varying start dates and the lull between contracts.
When a contract falls through you have every right to be pissed. Feel all the feelings and hate the universe. Scream and feel like you have no idea what the heck you are doing this for. But after that, get up and actually remember why you are doing this. And then remember that this is the nature of the beast and as much as it sucks, you have options. Not everyone gets to go and connect with the world at large. So how cool it is that you get to.
I am really enjoying the off-the-beaten-path suggestions that the Atlas Obscura website has to offer. As I had mentioned in a previous post, my favorite genre is Magical Realism, and the birthplace of Magical Realism is Latin America. I feel like this list captures the genre. If you are interested in some suggestions on where to visit, check out Atlas Obscura’s list of Interesting Places in Colombia.
Images from Atlas Obscura and/or Google Image Search (Reuse Filter On)
Amal Kassir is an amazing slam poet who has a unique way with words. She is an American and she is Syrian. Her insight into the pressures of constantly being creative is a message that everyone should hear. Not only this, but her memories of Syria are also a message that everyone should hear. Make Art, Make Peace, Not War.
*If you are accessing this from the menu on the right of the screen, please click on the blog title above to access the video. There appears to be an issue with displaying the link.