As Annie Lennox and Aretha Franklin once sung “Teachers are doing it for themselves!” or wait a minute …….wasn’t it “Sisters are doing it for themselves!?”
Yes that is it…. the only thing is that lately, whenever I listen to that song about women’s rights in society, I always imagine the hook saying “teachers” instead of “sisters”.
The song speaks of the need to do things for yourself, without the intervention of a middleman or woman taking credit for your work by standing on your shoulders, as the conditions of teacher’s contracts within the private sector diminish, as so many language academies offer low pay, few hours and or no job stability, in exchange for highly qualified teachers with years of experience.
Yet of course, nothing worthwhile can be achieved without the help of friends who have a similar philosophy and way of working on a ground level; mucking in with their peers, instead of being sat aside in a private office waiting for the lion’s share of the work to be done.
Once I was asked by someone why I didn’t use the title of “director of studies” or “chief of studies” in my presentation video on our website, seeing as though it is our own little business. My answer was simple………I don’t believe in titles that only serve to create inequality in the work place and I don’t wish for my students to think that I regard myself as in any way above anyone else.
There shouldn’t be titles of authority in the work place, but instead a name which accurately reflects the duties that person carries out.
e.g. fireman (person who puts out fires), nurse (person who nurses the sick), baker (person who bakes), builder (person who builds), computer repairman (person who repairs computers), tailor (person who tailors)
I have no wish to be the “boss” or “chief” of anybody, and “director” is such an ambiguous title, full of pomposity as it encompasses everything yet at the same time says nothing at all.
And then of course there are “teachers” …….. I could simply say “people who teach” and that would be close enough to the truth; yet I would go a little bit further by saying that we are all teachers, as I would be a liar if I said that in the last 9 years of teaching, I had never learnt anything from my own students. Perhaps the best lesson my students have taught me over the years is “to be patient” as every now and then I am pleasantly surprised as a student throws in a phrasal verb, collocation or verb pattern from a previous class, in the middle of a speaking session. Not only that but I have also learnt determination and a work ethic from them.
It is obvious that in todays globalized world, not everyone learns English out of pleasure or a burning desire to understand “Harry Potter”, apologies to “Harry Potter” fans, but rather they do it to improve their curriculum and thus their chances of getting a better job by having a wider range of potential jobs to choose from, thanks to both their qualifications and experience.
So in celebration and honor of my fellow freelance teachers and teachers on the whole, I dedicate the following lyrics!
My adapted lyrics of the song by Annie Lennox ;D
Now there was a time, when they used to say
That behind every – great professional
There had to be a – great teacher
But in these times of change you know
That it’s no longer true
So we’re coming out of the classrooms
Because there’s something we forgot to say to you (we say)
Teachers are doing it for themselves!
Standing on their own two feet!
And ringing on their own bells
Teachers are doing it for themselves!
Now this is a song to celebrate
The conscious liberation of the teacher’s fate!
Teachers, supply teachers and their teachers too.
Teacher to teacher
We’re singing with you
The inferior worker got a new exterior