Totally demoralized

<b>Forum for the discussion of Applied Linguistics </b>

Moderators: Dimitris, maneki neko2, Lorikeet, Enrico Palazzo, superpeach, cecil2, Mr. Kalgukshi2

Post Reply
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 8:42 am

Totally demoralized

Post by wanttolearn » Wed Jan 02, 2008 12:06 pm

Hi to all,
The subject of this topic is actually how I am feeling right now - totally demoralized! I will explain why. My degree is not in English but I recently took up a keen interest in teaching English and decided to do a CELTA, which I obtained a few weeks ago. Before embarking on an EFL job search, I thought I'd study the English language/grammar in more depth. However, after having read the kind of questions posted on this forum, I could do nothing but to think whether I should give up on teaching English! Are you all professors of linguistics? Or am I supposed to know and understand all these intricacies of the language spoken of in this forum? I was so excited at the prospect of a new career in a field which I thought was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life but now I am totally demoralized!

Posts: 3031
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 6:57 pm
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

Post by fluffyhamster » Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:16 pm

I'm not sure how many are actual professors, but there are at least a few who have formally studied linguistics or foreign languages, and there must be a fair number who have decades of experience in ELT if nothing else (me, just a CTEFLA and a PG Dip Chinese, plus about a decade now of experience, gained mainly in China and Japan). So it would be "natural" that a number of discussions (sorry for the emphasis but a recent newbie seemed averse to if not completely incapable of it!) will seem to be excluding you until you've gained a couple of years' experience and/or read around somewhat more (preferably both); that's not to say however that people won't rephrase things, for those who dare to join in if only to ask questions (rather than provide answers or further theories). But why trade terminology at first with some "know-all" (done-it-all?) when you can try your humble best to simply answer student/non-native learner queries (not that these are always distinguishable from native teacher queries LOL; plus there have been dwindling numbers of every sort of post over the past few years).

Luckily, by the time I became more aware of and then felt like joining Dave's, I had just about enough experience and reading under my belt to guess that I wouldn't be too out of my depth; and even now I still sometimes ask 'But what about teaching this?' when topics seem to be sinking under a ton of abstraction or argumentation.

Anyway, rather than stand there shivering in your revealing swimwear, I'd suggest you take a deep breath and jump in somewhere to "test the waters" (there are very few shark attacks this time of year in Dave's Creek). It could prove invigorating rather than "demoralizing"! :) :wink:

Posts: 947
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 11:30 am
Location: Spain

Post by JuanTwoThree » Wed Jan 02, 2008 4:28 pm

Nothing discussed on this board has very much to do with your first steps in TEFL, or even your second, third or fourth.

All you need is M and S: Murphy and Swan. "Intermediate Grammar in Use" and "Practical English Usage". If it ain't there, you don't need to know it, not for a long time.

The books have their faults but don't worry about that. They'll do the trick for years, or even for ever.

Have fun. Any questions, put them here.

User avatar
Posts: 1374
Joined: Sun May 18, 2003 4:14 am
Location: San Francisco, California

Post by Lorikeet » Wed Jan 02, 2008 4:47 pm

I've been teaching ESL for 38 years. I think I do a good job, my students learn, I enjoy myself and they do too. I couldn't answer half the grammatical inquiries in this section. Stay out of the Applied Linguistics forum for a while and put "Sally Olsen" in the search for authors. Read the first 20 of her posts and come back and tell us when you feel better again.

Posts: 3031
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 6:57 pm
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

Post by fluffyhamster » Wed Jan 02, 2008 5:20 pm

Oo-er! So it's official, then - all you need to satisfy your customers is a bit of S&M! :twisted: :lol: :P

Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 8:42 am

Post by wanttolearn » Wed Jan 02, 2008 6:07 pm

Thanks to you all!

I do feel much better now. I was starting to get real worried. I want to do a good job too which is why I decided to study English grammar in more detail before I hopped into the classroom. The grammar we learnt in the CELTA course was quite basic and I felt that I needed to do some self study.

I will be posting lots of questions relating to grammar and I hope you will be able to bear with my very basic knowledge of the English language. However, I am going to work hard at this and I hope that I will be sufficiently equipped and fit to stand before a class of students and teach!

Thanks again for your encouraging remarks - certainly a trait of a good teacher!

Posts: 947
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 11:30 am
Location: Spain

Post by JuanTwoThree » Wed Jan 02, 2008 7:42 pm

Glad you're feeling better. Don't forget that "grammar" is a fraction of the job. Days pass without doing explicit explanations of grammar. Error correction can be:

"You said/wrote X. What would have been better?"



Nobody asks the question "Why?". Me, I like to know the answer but that's something of a hobby.

Posts: 208
Joined: Wed May 31, 2006 1:46 am
Location: United Kingdom

Applied Linguistics - The know it all part of the site

Post by eslweb » Wed Jan 02, 2008 11:48 pm

Seriously, this is the linguistics part of the Website and most of the TEFL teachers I know wouldn't have a clue about half of the things being discussed in here. In fact I'll readily admit sometimes I don't have a clue what's going on here, because sometimes things being discussed are for academic fun rather than things that will really help the students.

However if you have some strange grammar problem that you just can't figure out this is definitely the place to go! I'm not ashamed to admit I've asked the odd question myself, just look at this thread ... ght=#36028

The regulars who answer these queries are very knowledgeable and
I think some of them are underselling themselves, because if they don't have a doctorate in linguistics they certainly deserve an honorary title.


P.S. For the more basic stuff check out:
(It's got what you need for teaching and links to the other key sites)

Stephen Jones
Posts: 1421
Joined: Sun May 18, 2003 5:25 pm

Post by Stephen Jones » Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:23 am

What wanttolearn should do is visit the job forums. He will be equally depressed but for the opposite reason - finding out the abysmal standards of a large minority of his colleagues, many of whom are incapable of spelling or punctuating to eighth grade standard.
Last edited by Stephen Jones on Mon Jan 07, 2008 12:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 533
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2004 8:21 am

To the point

Post by revel » Fri Jan 04, 2008 1:41 pm

Hey all!

Ay, Stephen, your posts are always right to the point.

I myself have had to shut up and listen on more than one occasion when trying to take part in these forums. I think they should be taken with a grain of salt, especially when you feel attacked for your point of view, wherever you are coming from. I do believe that what is discussed in "Applied Linguistics" is often a bit of nit-picking and that's where I've learned to just browse over comments and not share what I think.

Otherwise, teaching ESL has been a rewarding activity for me for 26 years and will be so for as many more as I can get to class and satisfy my students. No reason to become demoralized!


Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 8:42 am

Post by wanttolearn » Fri Jan 04, 2008 2:48 pm

Well, I must say that you've all been great in giving me the boost I needed to pursue a career in TEFL. My most sincere thanks to you all!

Posts: 108
Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 3:38 am

Knowing - It all, or what to?

Post by Heath » Tue Sep 01, 2009 3:30 am

Some teachers enjoy exploring linguistics a bit more. But there's not too much to worry about 'wanttolearn'. The key isn't knowing it all, it's just knowing what to help your students with.

That's why the CELTA grammar/functions/lexis is fairly basic - it's the stuff the Elementary or Intermediate students will (hopefully) benefit from.

But the more you explore the language yourself, the more you'll be able to make better choices for your students (above and beyond the simple, and partially economically motivated, decisions of course-book writers, etc).

Post Reply