I couldn’t agree more. The weird part about it is that Koreans, without realising it, actually know that teaching small children English is very difficult too. How? By providing a co-teacher who speaks their first language! You won’t find these in high schools or universities.
Teaching older students, by comparison, is a snap! By the time they get to university they’ve already had years and years of English lessons and they WANT to improve. So, there are also fewer motivational issues. This, in turn, means you don’t NEED to find ways of endlessly entertaining them.
Marisa, you will be reassured to know that a number of us here in Taiwan teaching elementary kids are over 50 and registered teachers in our home countries.
Peter may be surprised to know that we teach kids from grades 1 to 6 – so some are only 5 years old! And, at cram schools, they might be as young as 2 1/2. (Don’t worry about grammar – worry about incontinence!!!)
Anna and Barbara – spot on!
Jason, my only additions would be to say that (1) from what I’ve observed, in China a university job in EFL is often paid the same or less than a school-aged teacher, and (2) if you want to be at the bottom of the social ladder, tell people in these countries that you teach English. Just about any other subject teacher will be given more respect.
Thanks for a very stimulating discussion.
Posted on Jason Renshaw’s Weblog by: Greg Quinlivan | May 16, 2010 at 12:42 PM