Well, it's certainly a well-deserved 'goodbye' to my seasonal repose at the Costa Clonakilty, where I managed to survive another month of summer shenanigans with the relatives and their assortment of wives, girlfriends, and wild dogs. Thank f*ck all that business is over for another year or two!
So here I am now, snugly ensconced in our terraced residence in Skidrow-on-Sea, waiting for the next chapter in my glorious Tefl career to take shape. Or perhaps 'hoping' would be a more appropriate choice of word, eh? But what was that proverb - 'he who lives on hope, dies of hunger'?
Anyway, meanwhile, and before things really kick off for another season on The TEFL Tradesman, here's another 'blast from the past', as I'm too knackered to consider writing anything new for a while yet. There is also a thematic link here, as I'm considering undertaking a bit of educational research, into 'classroom motivation' no less. That's 'classroom motivation' for the teacher by the way - the fuggin' students have had things too much their own way for far too long, I reckon. Student centred teaching - my arse!!
How to Demotivate Your Teachers for just Ten Quid
We all got an e-mail at work the other day, from The Really Big Boss, telling us that next year there'll be some sort of 'Teacher of the Year' competition, and we all have to participate. Whether that means we'll all be ‘Teachers of the Year’ is doubtful, though. Here, decisions are usually more like decrees, made at the top of the pyramid and rolled down to the labouring plebs at the bottom, who have to make the most of them.
I’m telling you this because, in a previous life when I made the big mistake of taking a job at Aspect in the UK, there was a similar scheme going there. Every three months or so they chose a ‘Teacher of the Term’, and this was done by totting up all the marks from the students’ feedback. Whoever got top marks was the winner (are you with me so far?).
And what was the prize? A weekend for two in Paris? Nope. Two tickets for the Bolshoi Ballet? Uh-uh. A year’s subscription to ET Professional? Not even that. The miserly buggers gave Mr (or Miss) Whiteboard Winner … a bottle of red wine and a box of chocolates! Worse still, it was done with no small degree of grimace-inducing ceremony at the weekly Teachers’ meeting (compulsory, but unpaid, of course).
So what did the company really achieve with their outrageously generous ten-quid expenditure on the Tesco’s plonk and the Quality Street? Well, the net result was 23 slightly demotivated teachers, and one highly embarrassed one. I mean, what was the incentive in offering a quarterly ‘bonus’ worth all of a tenner? None at all, of course. It just got other teachers’ backs up. Was their teaching any worse? Probably not. And would the carrot of vino and choccy make them pull their metaphorical socks up? Of course not.
Fact is, it was always a new teacher that won the coveted prize, which led to rumblings of contempt amongst the more experienced inmates. Clearly, it was perceived as a management ploy to encourage new teachers to stay. The effect was, of course, the opposite. It was seen (through) as a cheap management trick, sort of aping the real world where bonuses are worth their weight in discarded Headway books, and was implemented by dull senior management types who had no real understanding or appreciation of teaching and teachers at all.
Let’s face it – if you really want someone to perform at their peak, it’s probably a good idea to (a) pay them properly in the first place, (b) give them the right tools to do the job, and (c) offer them succulent prizes – not the mere equivalent of an hour’s extra pay! And then there’s the whole question of whether this sort of remuneration technique is appropriate to an educational environment.
But of course, I’m forgetting that EFL schools in the UK do not offer a normal ‘educational environment’ - certainly where the teachers are concerned!
I wonder what sort of prize our Sheikh is putting up for grabs – a weekend at an exclusive desert oasis? Or a night with one of his wives? Hang on, shouldn’t that be the booby prize!?
First Published: Wednesday, 31 May 2006
'A visitor' left this comment on 1 Jun 06
wine and chocolates is pretty good compared to the cheap plastic watch I got at one job.
'A visitor' left this comment on 1 Jun 06
I'd be happy with a blowjob and a half-corona. But then I'm easily pleased.
Any further comments, please have a mind to leave them below. An upgrade in the general tone of The TEFL Tradesman is anticipated this coming year, so no more mention of 'blowjobs', and definitely NO swearing, you c*nts, OK!?