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Do you think a 'Teachers As Workers' SIG is a good idea?

 
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kvisko



Joined: 19 Dec 2007
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 2:22 pm    Post subject: Do you think a 'Teachers As Workers' SIG is a good idea? Reply with quote

https://twtpoll.com/teachersasworkers/1/whyt85irabu2f1p

I posted my proposal for a SIG on a forum here at the end of last week. Immediately, the naysayers got on here and spent a lot of time and energy picking faults (I don’t know where they find the time). MOD EDIT
Not one person who posted could find anything of merit in my idea. Just the same old cliches about me being a 'whinger' and 'it won't change anything'. Or perhaps they’re right – and I’m totally wrong, it’s a useless idea! That’s WHY I invited working teachers to do the poll - to see if people thought this was an idea to take forward.

The overwhelming majority of teachers who voted think that my proposal is a good idea. After 7 days the results are:

YES= 66
NO = 17
DON'T KNOW = 3

https://twtpoll.com/teachersasworkers/1/whyt85irabu2f1p

It’s just a shame that often those who shout the loudest get the most attention. Over 250 people viewed the forum on esl care but a small group were able to close down any debate.
MOD EDIT later I received a PM from someone at Dave’s apologising and saying:

“One of those posters in particular seems to delight in slapping down newbies, and is on the prowl for opportunities to display her judgemental superiority, always with an "oh-but-I'm-just-trying-to-help" pretence. Others follow along, and no one will tolerate a word against her.”

Anyway, all's well that ends well. Thanks for your support esl café, and all the rest of the teachers who voted yes out there!

Kvisko!
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Hod



Joined: 28 Apr 2003
Posts: 979
Location: Home

PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fair enough. The replies, including mine, were overly negative and unhelpful. Let's change that. What will be your next step? Why don't you start in your current country?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9638
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I noted before, I'd suggest creating some regional distinctions. In the EU, for example, it's illegal to work without health insurance and all legal teachers pay taxes. Very difficult and risky to work illegally in this region, and the entry-level requirements are a bit stricter than in many parts of the world.
The ME is also a distinct region in terms of working conditions. Trying to make a blanket, 'world-wide' generic effort is probably just not feasible.
You may also want to further define things in terms of qualifications - entry level TEFL teachers generally find different working conditions than old hands with higher level quals.
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kvisko



Joined: 19 Dec 2007
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Hod,

Apology accepted and appreciated! Next step is for me to talk to the other teacher involved, Nicola Prentis, who wrote a great post called 'Who's the Wolf in ELT?' and also to people in IATEFL to see if it's really feasible.

http://simpleenglishuk.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/whos-the-wolf-in-elt/

Of course, the strongest criticism of this idea is that there are different laws and regulations in each country. But, perhaps a 'Teachers as Workers' SIG can support local groups/ chapters to inform themselves and fight for their rights at a local level. I'm just thinking about having a conversation at the moment, that's all.

Spiral78, it IS technically illegal to work without health insurance in the EU, but a LOT of teachers don't have health insurance, especially here in Germany. I know because I've met them. Nobody forces you to get health insurance in Germany, it's a rule on paper - only enforced by inspections, or when you file your tax returns. It's one of the big issues here (there's also hundreds of thousands of native germans without health also, surprisingly). All legal teachers are meant to pay taxes but again, this varies, as some teachers are free-lance, some employed. The mechanism of tax payment is different.

If anyone else has any positive suggestions - feel free to post!

cheers,

kvisko
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kpjf



Joined: 18 Jan 2012
Posts: 187

PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know this other thread you talk about, but it seems a bit childish deleting your posts because people didn't agree with you. Your opinion is as valid as theirs and people can read all opinions and make their own mind up.


Quote:
If anyone else has any positive suggestions - feel free to post!



So, all you want is positivity? Is that it?

With all due respect, I don't understand what you're aiming for? Can you tell me? Some kind of Trade Union for teachers worldwide? Have you considered the logistics of this? Don't you think it's impossible? Have you any experience even on a small, local basis running a trade union? Seriously, have you?

Laws are different in each country, what power/force will the SIG have?

Or do you want to set up some SIG for some kind of support network? Sorry if I sound negative - maybe I'm missing something but I just don't get it!
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kvisko



Joined: 19 Dec 2007
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I posted my suggestion and it was shot down - there was just a wave of negative comments. They were just opinions of other posters and not ONE positive comment about what is, I think, an interesting idea. Not ONE! No weighing things up, looking at the pros and cons. Just, here's the 442nd attempt....No one even asked me a sensible question to get more information - they just made up their minds instantly, started typing and pressed Enter. If I had just listened the posters on the forum I would have got a completely biased, one-sided view.

Next I'm going to work my suggestion into a decent proposal and then you'll get the chance to discuss/ debate it. Like adults not children.

I know there's a lot of logistical problems - do you think I haven't spent more than 5 minutes thinking about this? I and another teacher had an idea, and we put it to the vote. Some people think it's a good idea to have a forum where we can, as ELT professionals, have a conversation about working conditions. The form, and the function, have not been decided yet. Sorry about that!

We're willing to put some work and effort into this. Maybe it will fail but at least we can say we tried. If anyone's reading this and wants to get involved then PM me.

thanks

kvisko
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Hod



Joined: 28 Apr 2003
Posts: 979
Location: Home

PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2014 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kvisko, as discussed on PM, the health insurance issue would be better off discussed elsewhere as it is indeed complex in your host country.

I just read the Nicola Prentis article you linked to. What a rambling load of nonsense talking about her bad experiences in Spain and the UK. There is nothing insightful (or even inciteful) in that load of old tripe which you should waste any more of your time with.

In your host country, there are a number of organisations, google HELTA or MELTA, who would be more interested in your cause.
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suphanburi



Joined: 20 Mar 2014
Posts: 312

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A cause with a narrow, ethnocentric, nationalistic focus professing to speak for a global community.

wrote:
It’s just a shame that often those who shout the loudest get the most attention. Over 250 people viewed the forum on esl care but a small group were able to close down any debate.


A debate allows others to speak their mind and air an opposing view. The OP got all pissy with a few negative comments about his grandiose ideas.

Is he going to have a full-blown temper tantrum when he tries to wrangle a couple of hundred TEFLers from a few different countries who have views that oppose HIS vision?

I've said my piece and I will sit back and watch it burn like the hundreds that were attempted by do-gooders before it.

My only wish is that they don't make things too much worse while they pretend to be a voice for those many tens of thousands they don't speak for.

BTW... Self serving internet polls have no validity (research 101).

.
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9786
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Surely having Party backing for such an enterprise would have been more important than any comments which aired doubts? Yet the Party's generous support was spurned.

Very well. But consider this. The poll seemed to be premised on the notion that technology and becoming more autonomous ( self-publishing ) could help improve conditions for teachers. Apart from the vagueness of how those terms are being used, it is hard to discern any logical connection between them. For example, how does posting some EFL material oneself on the 'net do anything to assist one when dealing with poor working conditions?

The Politburo may have to withdraw Party support...
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 12490
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Praise = Doubleplusgood

(see Orwell on Newspeak)
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MuscatGary



Joined: 03 Jun 2013
Posts: 966
Location: Flying around the ME...

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Generally I think it's worthy of some consideration but have a few points to raise:

If it is to be an organisation for professionals what will the criteria be to join?

What would be the aims and objectives? They need stating clearly along with the limitations.

I can see that as a trade organisation there could be advantages if the membership base grew to a critical mass. It should be possible for a large grouo to arrange deals/discounts with providers such as airlines, training companies, insurance companies, and so on.

I really think it would have to grow organically, starting in one country, spreading across that region and then moving on to other regions. The logistics are terrifying as the labour laws are so different in different places.

Good luck anyway!
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Xie Lin



Joined: 21 Oct 2011
Posts: 515

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MuscatGary wrote:
Generally I think it's worthy of some consideration but have a few points to raise. . .

I can see that as a trade organisation there could be advantages if the membership base grew to a critical mass. .

. . . The logistics are terrifying as the labour laws are so different in different places.

Good luck anyway!


I pretty much agree with MuscatGary, and There are some good suggestions offered by Spiral. It strikes me as an idea with enormous potential and possibilites, but with equally enormous challenges and difficulties. As suggested in the other thread, those difficulties may in fact prove insurmountable. But they may not. There is only one way to know. I'm a little bemused by the argument that it's not worth trying because others have tried and failed. It would be interesting to see what you could learn and if you could benefit from the experience of some of the earlier failed attempts.

Not an undertaking for the faint-hearted! Good luck with it.

.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 5176
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2014 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kvisko:

Instead of rehashing your frustration about what you perceived were negative responses on a thread that has since been deleted, how about moving on and agreeing to disagree. Besides, a debate requires at least two opposing positions. Plus, conversations flow better when barriers are removed and minds are open.

Back to a question I'd asked on the deleted thread but never got an answer from you: What and whose standards and/or criteria are you using to define a lousy workplace situation or environment? Otherwise, the concept is too ambiguous---left open to a variety of interpretations based on personal biases, attitudes, cultural values, experiences, backgrounds, education level, job expectations, and so on.
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Hod



Joined: 28 Apr 2003
Posts: 979
Location: Home

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2014 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kvisko, if I were you, I'd ignore the negatives on here. You need to be better prepared, though, start off in your host country, e.g. contacting the teachers' associations, and not bother with that blogger woman.
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