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just a new kid on the block

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Joined: 01 May 2003
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2003 6:00 am    Post subject: just a new kid on the block Reply with quote

I'm a Uni student and I'm thinking of doing further studies after I complete my undergrad degree and then going into ELT.
So,to get some ideas, I decided to join this forum and look around.I spent a couple of hours picking up on some of the topics and threads and I must admit, I'm a bit amazed at some of the things that I have read.
Seemingly, some people are ready to "have a go" at others over various issues some totally unrelated to the ESL/EFL field. Some places resemble a battlefield in here. In fact, one thread that I was reading was closed down and some postings removed where the contributors were openly abusing each other in an offensive manner.
If this is how you treat each other? Then one must wonder how you are treating your students or how you are behaving in front of a class.
Have I got the wrong impression?
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer

Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2003 6:12 am    Post subject: a few bad apples don't spoil the bunch Reply with quote

Dear riz2003:

You're right. There are a few 'bad apples' who try very hard to spoil the bunch, but if you look at the totality of posts and comments here on Dave's, I think you'll find that the majority of people here will go out of their way to be helpful.

It bothers me too when people are nasty to each other, but that is the unfortunate price we all pay for having freedom of speech.

A while back, I posted a thread entitled "A Kinder, Gentler Forum" ... about this very subject. I'm with you in spirit. Wink So are a lot of others.

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Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 13859
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2003 6:21 am    Post subject: The human factor Reply with quote

Dear riz2003,
Hope you'll pardon me for asking this, but where do you live? Because wherever it is, if you're unfamiliar with people being nasty and abusing each other, well, I think I'd consider moving there. As keNt has already pointed out, there are those sorts everywhere, in every profession, or at least that's what I've seen over 60 years. I don't think the ESL/EFL field has a higher proportion of bozos and jerks than any other - although some of us may be more articulate in the way we can be nasty. If you do
decide to enter the field, you'll find the good, the bad and the ugly here, just as in every other career,
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Joined: 01 May 2003
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2003 6:45 am    Post subject: Dear John Reply with quote

Well, to answer your question, I come from Canberra which is the capital city of Australia. You're right in one fact, and perhaps I have forgotten about the bad ways that some people can treat each other.
But this is because where I come from we've had to put all of that behind us in recent months and get on with our lives.
Did you read about the bushfires that we had here in Australia some months ago?
Well, my family, our friends and neighbours lost our homes, all of our belongings, and some people even lost their lives.
So, lately, we've been kind of busy trying to help each other. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones because I'm very grateful to the help that many kind people have given us so that we can get on with things.
So, I'm sorry but like my family and friends, I don't want to dwell on negativity - I want to get on with life!
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Joined: 01 Feb 2003
Posts: 18
Location: Finland

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2003 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been wondering about the same thing in this forum.

There's a lot of unconstructive comments, like when someone asks something about a certain activity (job, country, type of work), others come and say 'don't go there, don't do that' etc.

Like when I asked if it's a good idea to volunteer with VSO (knowing that I actually want to volunteer and was just asking about this particular organisation), people would come and say 'don't volunteer, it's crap money, don't be so stupid'. Why would I volunteer if I did it for the money anyway???
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Joined: 13 Jan 2003
Posts: 371

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2003 7:20 am    Post subject: Anonymity breeds contempt Reply with quote

Regarding the nastiness on this board...

Yep, it's true, you'll see some bad behavior here. Kent and John are correct that you'll find rotten apples on any board--it's just the nature of the net. Some people are pleasant Doctor Jeckylls in public only to turn into awful Mister Hydes when they sit at a computer. Not having to face other people brings out the worst in them. That's hardly unique to the cafe.

What to do? Maybe I'm a cynic but I don't think calling for civility helps much. No offense, Kent--I liked your post from way back but I just didn't think that the worst offenders would heed it. (I hope I'm wrong about that, though.) At best, I think all a new person can do is lurk for a while to figure out who the jerks are then avoid them. You'll also learn who the good folks are--like Kent and John. They give good (meaning useful but not necessarily welcome) advice, debate intelligently, and have a good sense of humor--look up their old posts and see. Believe it or not, they're not the only ones--although that's hard to prove some days.

On a side note, I believe that there is such a thing as legitimate negativity. By that I don't mean slamming people for fun or pointing out that there's no money to be made in working for a volunteer organization (well, duh). I'm talking about answers people don't like. Minimizing bad news to spare someone's feelings isn't supportive--it's irresponsible. What's the point in asking for advice if you're not going to get the whole picture, good and bad? Unfortunately, some posters go so far in the other direction they come across as rude and harsh.

Can't we all just get along?

Last edited by Irish on Thu May 01, 2003 8:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 3589

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2003 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you should take into perspective a couple of other things.

1) Internetitis I don't think it is right, but many of us are more likely to be nasty on the faceless internet. This is true evrywhere. I have written messages that when I read later I said...did i write that?

2) Circumstances

Many people write when they are having problems. Many of us have few or no expats to "vent" with. We are stuck with co-workers we may despise. We often don't konw the langauge fleuntly, and even if we did, cultural differences make comunications very tenuous. We come home sometimes, in a country that by our standards is stark raving mad, and we want to throw something out the window, or kick our dog. Instead we get it on at Dave's

Also, I think many of us may write on Dave's when we are tired. I know I uasually come here late at night. Sometimes I get insomnia, and will be writing at 4:00 in the morning. I don't know if I am the only one that tends to do most of my writing when I am tired.

3) Internet is not the best medium for communication. You can't interupt someone in midsentence and say that is not what you mean. Misunderstandings are easy. Once I wrote advice to this lady. She got all upset because I was attacking her. I reread my post several times, and I couldn't see how I was attacking her.
Another time I was writing in response to this guy in Japan. The original thread was datin students. He was talking about how superiors make sexual demands on their female subordinates all the time. Now I studied this in college, and I know that virtually all the girls who report enjoying this , or finding it acceptable, were sexually abused as children. Instead what i wrote sounded like I was accusing him of sexual abuse.

I mean I apologized, but, you know, it happens.

I would say nearly all the people on this board are usually respectful of each other by internet standards, and there is good informationhere. I visted Tefl ChinaLife, and they never talked about anything to do with China, instead it was a bunch of people talking about why their dog had worms.

Good luck
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Joined: 09 Feb 2003
Posts: 155
Location: Oman

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2003 8:50 am    Post subject: Thank you Reply with quote

Arioch, I think that after what that young man and his family have been through, I personally wish him the best and I thank you and Kent for giving him an honest answer.
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guest of Japan

Joined: 28 Feb 2003
Posts: 1601
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2003 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Step by step, Oohh baby!"

Now if I remember my celebrity rumors correctly even athe amiable New Kids on the Block didn't get along with teenage badboys Skid Row.

Actually this was a nice thread. I think the original poster just read the forum at a rather torrid time. I have to agree in that postings are quite easy to be read the wrong way. On the Japan forum some guy was yelling at Glenski of all people.

Blame it on the rain. Yeah Yeah. so many 80's songs in my head at one time. Mark
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Joined: 27 Jan 2003
Posts: 64
Location: UK/Eastern Europe

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2003 11:37 am    Post subject: Rude postings Reply with quote

I too was amazed at some of the comments made to fellow teachers,and as a result didn't make any postings for many months through wanting to avoid getting into a slanging match.I wonder if the same comments would be made face to face when there is a risk of physical violence??
With my interest in teaching somewhere in Eastern Europe i found a site called Ukraine dot com and if you think this site is bad have a look at the abuse on there-i eventually stopped reading because of the ignorant and arrogant attitudes of males from a country i will not name,and their empty threats.
I think the reason i was so shocked is that i have had few dealings with teachers since leaving school many years ago,and still remember them as people to look up to with respect---perhaps that thought will provoke a few comments from the seasoned veterans?
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Ben Round de Bloc

Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1946

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2003 1:04 pm    Post subject: Agree or disagree Reply with quote


To put things into perspective, look at the total number of people registered on Dave's who can post messages. Then look at how few of them post negative, rude, and/or insulting messages. It's a very small percentage.

It's human nature to disagree about some issues in any field. How boring it would be if everyone agreed all the time. The results of such disagreements can be good. People can learn from them. People can change their views or reaffirm their views through disagreements. Sometimes people end up agreeing to disagree on certain issues, which is okay, too.

Just my humble opinion.
Best wishes!
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Joined: 19 Jan 2003
Posts: 9138

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2003 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To the New Kid on the Block,
you should have visited this site before its makeover into this new format! There were man y more poster although it was hard to tell how many actually took part in those threads - many submitted their opinions under several different names! The current style is comparatively tame, believe me!
There are different reasons for acrimony in the published opinions:
- Mean-spiritedness, jealousy and greed! How many of us in the field are genuine teachers? And considering those who are not: What makes them tick? Why has it got to be a foreign country? And, once they found a job in a THird-WOrld nation they are unhappy with living-conditions and envy the life-style of those who live there on more generous expat terms!
I agre though there are not so many mean-spirited people out here where I am, but I have met some over the years!

- There are people with a congenital urge to bad-mouth everything and everyone. They are not necessarily mean. Some of them might be reasonably efficient teachers - but somehow they have an exaggerated knack for perfection. They are like missionaries, never seeing an end to their endeavours.

- Last but not least: This is a truly "public" job, one in which you are under constant observation (which can be quite strainful), and charged with specific tasks that require that you harmonise with people from a radically different origin or background. You often wish you could verbalise some of your innermost impressions, but you have no chance. On the other hand, your students can be extremely challenging in many ways, and you must humour them, or else.
The respect that we expat teachers get in certain countries would in itself be an interesting topic...
But let me say that until I got to know Dave's, I had often felt the need to exchange my impressions with fellow-expats, and VOILA! CA Y EST - without Dave's the teacher's world in China would be a desert!
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Kent F. Kruhoeffer

Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Posts: 2129
Location: 中国

PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2003 8:03 am    Post subject: and a quote Reply with quote

Hello again:

I agree with Ben. To disagree with someone is only natural. We learn and grow through our disagreements.

At the same time, I think it's equally important to learn how to disagree with someone without resorting to the mudslinging and personal insults that riz2003 mentioned in his original post.

"Nothing is ever lost by courtesy. It is the cheapest of pleasures, costs nothing, and conveys much."
- Erastus Wiman

riz2003: I'm VERY sorry about your terrible loss. I hope you find what you're looking for. Cool

Warm wishes,
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