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is it really this bad?

 
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Brooks



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1369
Location: Sagamihara

PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 9:35 am    Post subject: is it really this bad? Reply with quote

please take a look at this link:

http://tinyurl.com/2geo

it is about teaching in Italy. It sounds rough. Are things as bad as the author states?
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 9005
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think that this link is right, it's about Democracy.
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Brooks



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1369
Location: Sagamihara

PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2004 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sorry.
the link is

http://tinyurl.com/2gweo
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 9005
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2004 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They just posted this on the General discussion forum. I can't believe it! It's not that bad.
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James Stunell



Joined: 29 Aug 2003
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2004 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, it may be like that in some places. And no doubt some losers who never go beyond their "Mickey Mouse" qualifications do end up on the scrapheap. And, yes, this industry does tend to attract more than its fair share of nutters who are running away from failed relationships, addictions, their own shadow etc. etc. I've met several people who might as well commence an interview by saying "Hello. I'm here because I don't get on with people." But if I were you I'd take much of this article with a pretty hefty shovelful of sodium chloride. Pity. I've always read the Telegraph whilst in the UK. Think I'll switch to the Times in the future.
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Teacher in Rome



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 1216

PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2004 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Pity. I've always read the Telegraph whilst in the UK. Think I'll switch to the Times in the future.


Look on the bright side, James. Now that Conrad Black has been exposed as a complete charlatan and the Barclay brothers are rumoured to be buying the Torygraph, you might be able to read it again happily. Exclamation

I bet you're glad that porno king Desmond (publisher of such intellectual titles as "Horny Housewives", "Asian Babes" and the "Sunday Sport") didn't get a look in... At one point he was rumoured to be trying to buy it.
That would have been interesting...

Forgive the smug attitude - I'm a Guardian reader...
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James Stunell



Joined: 29 Aug 2003
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2004 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’ve never managed to read the Guardian without hurling it across the room in a temper! Actually, having read the Torygraph article again over a coffee in my office, perhaps I was a little hard on it. It did make me chuckle the second time, I must admit – especially the bit about “Headway”, a book I cordially detest. But it’s still very negative and a lot of it needs qualifying. For those who are thinking of spending any time teaching in Italy, there are several things that need to be seriously considered, that much is true.
Firstly, let’s consider Mr Cresswell-Turner’s experience with the dubiously-named Signora Pazzi. Mr Creswell-Turner is quite wrong if he believes that the “massima disponibilità, massima flessibilità e massima professionalità” type of speech is confined to the TEFL industry. Right across the board in Italy, in any field you care to mention apart from cuisine and fashion, this is the reality. Bosses in all fields seem to believe that they can put together a cracking team of top-notch professionals and reward them with peanuts. The only way out of that reality is to set up on your own and to evade as much tax as you possibly can. And TEFL teachers are not the lowest of the low. Consider a friend of mine who has a list of qualifications as long as your arm, a wife and new-born baby to support and who can just about scrape by working for a Telecoms call-centre for four hours a day. And yet he is well-respected. Why? Because he is always impeccably-dressed and doesn’t roll into work everyday smelling of drink. And you never hear him moan about his job, despite the fact that he clearly loathes it. It is my conviction that TEFL teachers who do not feel respected in Italy should take a long, hard look in the mirror and compare what they see with the way that Italians present themselves, no matter how lowly their origins.
Which begs another question. How can Italians afford to look smart and drive cars and have breakfast in bars if they earn so little? Because they have no rent or mortgage to pay. They either live in houses that their parents bought them years ago or they still live with their parents and pool their resources. Mr Creswell-Turner’s friend Pam would have to use a sizeable chunk of her earnings to pay for rent and to buy enough food to cook for one person. Expensive. Italians just don’t live that way. Neither do they tend to go out during the week; most English teachers of my acquaintance spend a large amount of their salaries in pubs mid-week and an even more sizeable amount every Saturday night. And the entire world is full of “Pams” who give no thought to pensions or mortgages or the future. You don’t only find them in the TEFL industry. (Incidentally, I know many in the industry who have both private pension and mortgage – but they are not backpackers, that’s for sure).
Onto the comments regarding TEFL qualifications, decribed by Mr Creswell-Smith as “a bad joke”. Absolutely right. It is a joke and this badly needs sorting out. But there are other qualifications that are not a joke; Delta, Trinity Licentiate Diploma in TESOL etc. not to mention the state teaching qualifications (PGCE etc.) I would like to think that with schools shrinking in response to the drop in demand for language courses caused by Euro-inflation, schools will go for quality; but in my heart of hearts I know it won’t happen. Many of them are more likely to go for economy; barely qualified teachers who have no idea of grammar and who can be paid even less (the “dregs” as the article puts it). A false economy that could only do the industry further harm. In that respect I agree with the author.
So is it really a job with no variety, no career structure, no sense of progression? Depends. Many TEFL teachers travel from one job to another around the world, amassing experience. That’s fine but in a lot of countries, that will do you no favours in terms of career progression. Many applicants for jobs in Italy, for example, seem to think that they can walk straight into top positions because they have a fistful of qualifications and have worked all around the world. They want to know about “perks” and “benefits”. That’s Anglo-Saxon-speak and cuts no ice with an Italian employer who will be far more likely to give the job to someone he knows well with fewer qualifications and less experience. But someone that he trusts. And pay increases with the amount of time you spend in ONE COMPANY or who you get to know, not according to your perceived worth in terms of your CV. Wrong? Probably, but that’s the way it is. And it’s not really surprising considering the rigidity of the Italian labour market and the serious consequences for the boss if he has chosen the wrong person and needs to get rid of him. Stay in one place for long enough, however, do your job well, and the opportunities are there. Move to a different region and you are back to square one. Come out to do the job to finance your year’s travel and you are not going to be well off at all. In fact, you will probably make a loss. But that’s part of the cost of constant relocation. (If you marry into an Italian family, you’d be mad to risk changing region or country anyway.)
Lack of variety? Well, that says more about Mr Cresswell-Turner’s teaching style and attitude to the job. It was clearly not a profession he enjoyed and, given the hours involved, I can imagine it was hell for him. I’ve been doing the job for 14 years and still haven’t got bored of it. I’ve worked with people from so many different industries, made some vary useful contacts and learned a great deal about many things.
As for Tim Parks (whom I admire greatly), he has now moved onto greater things. But how would he have got his foot into the door of Veronese society if he hadn’t had the chance to teach English? You can’t just stride into an Italian city and start writing unless you have some form of income.
All of this is a bit waffly. Sorry! I’m making it up as a I go along. So, just a few words to sum things up. For anyone thinking of teaching in Italy:
1. if you’re planning to make it a career, don’t jump around too much
2. if you’re staying for just a year, don’t expect to save any money and expect to have to shell out some cash at the beginning
3. don’t compare salaries with those in Northern countries. Practically everyone earns much less here than they do in the north
4. prepare to be a hell of a lot more flexible than you would be back home. Italians often regard promises to have expired if circumstances change and that includes contract details
5. accept that the hours are going to be anti-social; it goes with the job. You have to fit in with people’s work/school routines
6. to avoid being taken advantage of: if someone seems intent on doing you a favour, always ask yourself, “Why is this individual being nice to me?” 99 times out of 100, there will be something you will be expected to do in return. I expect that’s the same in most countries around the world. Only idealists and mugs believe that they have found a place where people really are “more warm and friendly than they are back home”.
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Teacher in Rome



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 1216

PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2004 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you have hit the nail on the head.

Quote:
Bosses in all fields seem to believe that they can put together a cracking team of top-notch professionals and reward them with peanuts. The only way out of that reality is to set up on your own and to evade as much tax as you possibly can


My boss spends a lot of time building contacts and relationships. I'm not sure that I would be in any way as successful, because I'm not Italian and I don't have the same background as many potential clients. This is significant in my opinion. If you are on the same wavelength as a potential customer, it is much easier to sell to them. You literally "talk their language".

I have to say that I don't evade taxes, either. Maybe my accountant gets a good deal, but I don't feel that I'm knowledgeable enough to play the system.

Quote:
They either live in houses that their parents bought them years ago or they still live with their parents and pool their resources.


Absolutely. Most of my income goes on rent, simply because I don't live with family. I was talking today with an Italian colleague, who lives with his parents and two siblings. He was a little embarrassed that all five family members had a car, but they could all afford it because they all live in one home. His salary is low, yet he is well-qualified with a good few years' experience. Having a car is his luxury.

Quote:
And pay increases with the amount of time you spend in ONE COMPANY or who you get to know, not according to your perceived worth in terms of your CV. Wrong? Probably, but that’s the way it is


I hate to say it, but yes, it's who you know that's important. Unfair? Unequal? Yes, but a fact of life. When you come to think of it, many Italian companies are family firms. And like all family firms - even in the UK - family members get special treatment. It's just the same here.

I don't have Italian family and I don't always share Italian views on work and culture. But I have had the great luck to work for people who share opportunities and who happily explain how things are done. I would echo James's views and say that it is most definitely a country in which you can fulfill ambitions and potential.
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declineandfall



Joined: 06 Oct 2003
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2004 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting to see that Mr. Cresswell Turner has popped up again. Ripples from his 2002 article on TEFl teachers in Rome spread at least as far as Germany: see this thread from the www.tefl-germany.de bulletin board:

http://pub95.ezboard.com/feltfrm1.showMessage?topicID=65.topic
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