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i just want an honest answer...
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denise



Joined: 23 Apr 2003
Posts: 3419
Location: finally home-ish

PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2003 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've tried to avoid this new turn that the thread has taken, but I've got to say that I agree with Alex. Whatever your beliefs are, they should not be pushed on students. They are a captive audience--what choice do they have but to listen? I'm not saying that you canot have discussions and tell them your perspectives in class--teachers are not robots, and our personal lives/beliefs/philosophies do affect us--but I'd draw the line at inviting students over to discuss religion outside of class. There are other ways to meet people.

d
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Gordon



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 5309
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2003 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't see anything wrong with sharing your beliefs with students and if they want to find out more info than they can come talk to you outside of class. Most of us wouldn't mind telling students what we think of Bush or Iraq. I'm honest with my students and colleagues and tell them my views.

Students will always ask us why we are here? Then tell them. Everyone teaches for different reasons. Some students are really searching for meaning to their life.
Good for you ha'anala.
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Albulbul



Joined: 08 Feb 2003
Posts: 364

PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2003 5:27 am    Post subject: missionaries Reply with quote

Well I hope the Ministry of the Interior in Pargue monitors this and refuses your visa. They do not need you as missionaries - particularly if you are masquerading as teachers.

In fact I would say that the Bible Belt of the USA could use some people from Bohemia and Moravia to teach them how to live !
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ha'anala



Joined: 25 Sep 2003
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2003 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well...I didn't really intend on turning this discussion in this direction, but I don't mind as long as people aren't going to start labeling me a "Bible basher".

I guess there's not much to say on the subject. If you believe I shouldn't be a missionary, there's no reason for me to try to convince you otherwise. As previous posts have stated, it's my decision and no one can make it for me. I've decided to teach English. I've also decided to be a missionary, and personally, I do not see the two as mutually exclusive pursuits. I will not be forcing my students to listen to me talk about my beliefs, but I will offer them the opportunity to hear them (outside of class).

and for Albulbul...all I will say is...don't be childish.
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Albulbul



Joined: 08 Feb 2003
Posts: 364

PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2003 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should be posting on Holy Joe's Website for Baptist Missionaries. This is an EFL site and you should not be here. We already had enough nonsense from Muslim fanatics over on the KSA site !
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misteradventure



Joined: 18 Aug 2003
Posts: 243

PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2003 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So you want to make this great big adventure.

If religion is such an important part of your life, you may wish to first visit the neighbor up North- Poland. There are many who 'seek' as well, even in a country which is 'officially' some 95% Roman Catholic.

As it sounds like you have never left the good ol' US of A for an extended period, being around others of similar Faith may ease your transition. After a lifetime of listening to "The USA is the GREATEST LAND ON EARTH!", it's easy to become ethnocentric and say their (different) way is WRONG.

It's YOU who are adapting to life in THEIR land.

Perhaps a 'wait and see' attitude may be more helpful and less stressful for all parties concerned. It's easier to set an example and teach only those who ask. Planning how it's going to be before you get there is setting yourself up to fail.

If you want to learn, learn. If you want to work, work. If you want to focus on your Faith, perhaps you should seek sponsorship with an organization affiliated with your faith? They who thump the Big Book also serve by teaching English. Just maybe not in Prague/Czech Rep. There are those in the US who need help too, as well as eslsewhere.

As far as work goes, I'd also consider visa rules, etc. before you go. Mexico is a shorter commute and you can drive there. The same goes for Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Panama. Then, if you hate it, you won't be stuck. Or bitter.

If you like it, then maybe getting a CELTA the next year is a good idea. With a year's experience under your belt and knowing you can thrive in an environment where you know no one and can't even read the signs (a local toddler can run circles around most Americans for the first few months when it comes to speaking their native tongue), you may be ready to venture farther afield.

It's one thing to decide to change your life work. It's another to decide to displace yourself. To add multiple expectations is a recipe for disaster.

Of course, a favorite quote is, "Beer is proof God loves us- Benjamin Franklin." If you don't enjoy the national brew, you may find things difficult. I've suffered through many a 'dry' township in the Bible Belt.

You've been warned. The Mormons don't talk about their not-so-successful prosetlyzers very much, do they?

If you enter into it being a good Human, things may work out. Try to do too much at once and you will curse the country, the people, the field and this list.

Good luck.
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ha'anala



Joined: 25 Sep 2003
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2003 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm just a bit confused by the tone of your post...are you trying to help or criticize?

I was surprised when several people jumped on me for saying that I wanted to use teaching English to reach people religiously, but I'm beginning to understand. I read a few articles today talking about the coercive techniques some "Christians" were using in the Czech Republic among other countries to make new "converts". It was quite disturbing to me, but at least now I somewhat understand all the skepticism about my religious goals.

I may have been born and raised in the Bible belt of the "good ol' U S of A, but trust me, if I could have had it any other way, then I certainly would have. I am so sick of the good ol' American society. This includes some of the churches here as well. Unfortunately from what I hear, some of the small Czech churches are starting to have some of the same idiotic problems that we have here...ridiculous squabbles over worship styles, etc... I have no desire to try to westernize the people I meet there.

I have started looking into some organizations with established missions in the area. I've found a few churches that I wouldn't mind working with as well. Actually it turns out it's "a small world after all"...I went to school with a guy whose brother has been living in Prague as a missionary for the past 6 years or so. As I see it now, we will probably go ahead and take the trinity or celta course, find jobs where we can, and once we are somewhat settled in, start figuring out what we can do in a missionary capacity. We can get involved with one of the churches I found, and if any of our students show any interest, then we can invite them along.

I'm also doing my best to start learning what Czech I can. If anyone knows of any good language programs, please let me know. So far the only full sentence I can say with any proficiency is "I'll have a beer, please" Very Happy
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Guest






PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2003 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't worry about what others say on this board regarding your faith. Many folks in Eastern Europe are desperately looking for a different way of life - a fulfilling way of life. They need people like you and your family to help them, to listen, to love them. You go to the Czech Republic if that is where you are called and you will do those you meet a wonderful thing. You will give them the greatest gift possible - telling htem about the real Jesus - not the phony one that so many churches in the Bible Belt have embraced but a true faith, not a "religion". Blessings!
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Alex Shulgin



Joined: 20 Jul 2003
Posts: 553

PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2003 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^ And you can provide them with some quality entertainment while they laugh themselves senseless at you!
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crispintp



Joined: 24 Oct 2003
Posts: 21
Location: Kyrgyzstan

PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2003 9:35 am    Post subject: The Czechs and Religion Reply with quote

I have read this discussion with some interest. I have worked with Czech students and have discussed, among other things, there religious beliefs, and without wanting to flog a dead horse, I would like to give me two pennies worth to this debate, which isn't referring to ha'anala or her apologists directly, but represents a very general opinion about taking religion to the Czech Republic.

While a lot of the comments have been quite reactionary, I too believe that attemping to "convert" Czechs to Christianity is both futile and misguided. Futhermore, to suggest that the Czechs are like lost ships in the sea looking for a lighthouse beacon is rather patronising. They are culturally aware and independantly minded enough to make their own decisions. True, under 30 years of communism, most forms of organised religions were outlawed, but it is 15 years since the revolution, and anyway, even before the revolution the Czechs were never as religous as their Slovak and Polish neighbours.

It can sometimes be hard for Americans to appreciate, given the age of the country, that in "Old Europe", religion is often culturally ingrained over many generations, and people do not so often become enlightened overnight.

If your primary aim is missionary work, I would suggest - unless your heart is set on the Czech Republic - to investigate places like Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, or the developing world, where missionary work is both viable and appreciated and Christian schools set up to meet these ends.

Crispin
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joe-joe



Joined: 15 Oct 2003
Posts: 100
Location: Baku, Azerbaijan

PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2003 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have also read this thread with some interest, and here's my penny's worth; you shouldn't use your job as a medium to preach/spread your beliefs. I'm not criticising you for being a Christian, but faith and ideology are private, personal things which shouldn't be discussed and evangelised in somewhere like a classroom, (in fact in some countries you can get into quite serious trouble for this). I'm sure your intentions are quite pure and good, but as the old saying goes: 'The road to Hell is paved with good intentions'.

Let's assume I'm a White Supremist (which I can assure you I'm not); how would you feel if I tried to preach a message of 'white is right' in my lessons? You would of course condemn me. And don't think I'm comparing your belief in the Bible to that of Mein Kampf, but please keep religion and politics out of the clasroom. And if you were teaching groups of mixed culture and religion, I think any preaching would potentially be very contentious and inflammatory in nature,

Joe
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Gordon



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 5309
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2003 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At what point did she say she was going to preach in class? If she wants to talk to people outside the classroom, so what? It's no one else's business.
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joe-joe



Joined: 15 Oct 2003
Posts: 100
Location: Baku, Azerbaijan

PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2003 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greetings Gordon,

I do take your point regarding its entirely someone's business what they do and don't talk about outside of class. BUT I think teachers do have a special relationship with their students and I think they can have not inconsiderable influence on their students' opinions, and I believe there could be conflicts of interest, whether or not discussions, preaching, or whatever you choose to call it, take place in class or outside. I wasn't attempting to be supercilious or unpleasant; I just think religion and politics are not good topics for discussion with students, or at least in my experience. For example, I avoided talking about Iraq whilst in Turkey because it was a very, very inflammatory topic, and it could easily lead to very heated and potentially violent situations.
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ha'anala



Joined: 25 Sep 2003
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2003 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thank you Gordon for being one of the few to realize that I am not talking about "preaching" in my lessons.

As for the others, I am just amazed at your view of religion....apparently there is nothing wrong with my being a Christian...as long as I don't tell anyone? WoW! thanks! But I'm sorry to tell you that Christianity does not work that way. Christ didn't say follow me, but don't mention our relationship around anyone that might get offended.

I will have a responsibility as a teacher while I am there, and that is why I will not be preaching in class. I will also have a responsibility as a Christian, and that is why I will tell anyone that is interested about my beliefs and what brought me there.

If a student asks me why I came to the Czech Republic, I will tell them I wanted to teach AND I wanted to share my beliefs....I will not lie to them.
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dreadnought



Joined: 10 Oct 2003
Posts: 82
Location: Sofia, Bulgaria

PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2003 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems to me that there is nothing much wrong with your intention to teach and also spread the word at the same time. I would perhaps make one suggestion: if you are going to work at a non-Christian school, it may be worth informing the management of your religious beliefs and explain about the fact that some of the students may come to your house and discuss them.

I've worked at two schools (in Africa and Eastern Europe) where we employed teachers who subsequently turned out to be Jehovas Witnesses. On both occasions we discovered that they were using class time to engage students (and perhaps more worryingly, quite young teens) in discussions about God with a clear intention to convert them. Maybe initially that wasn't their intention (though I'm doubtful about that to be honest), but maybe the their sense of duty to their faith was too strong and they couldn't help themselves. In neither case did they inform us beforehand about their religious beliefs, and so it was quite a shock to find out what was going on.

This happens a lot more often than you may imagine, and may account for some of the violent reactions you've got from posters on this forum. A lot of cultural sensitivity is needed when working abroad - not only regarding religious issues, but social and political ones as well. I've worked in 7 different countries over the last 10 years, and still don't always know what is and isn't acceptable both inside and outside the classroom.
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