Thursday, August 24, 2006


Since the suspect in the child murder case in the US was arrested in Thailand, there have been articles written about how poor little helpless schools in Asia are at the mercy of people coming over here to teach. The claim is that it is so hard to check the credentials of teachers that many schools---most---don't even try. Why, many "teachers" have credentials that are fake!!!!!

This is pure horseshit. These schools often don't check because they flat out don't give a damn. They want a warm body--well, dead would be fine if it could speak English. In Japan, I have heard of a large school chain in Tokyo which will happily create a university degree for those who don't have one. They used to offer a free black suit to new teachers too.

The only reason a degree is needed for most is for immigration law compliance. (Berlitz, for example does not require a degree as long as you can legally work here. If a degree were required, they'd lose a lot of teachers.)

If schools/companies were serious, they could simply insist on an official transcript from each teacher.

Teaching credentials are basically worthless. Some schools require them---those which work with children---and a few others do. Most do not. In fact, as I have mentioned, if you are silly enough to actually try to teach as you were trained (you know, teach students who have the time and desire to learn outside the classroom instead of look forward to an hour or to a week of fun.) you will make more enemies than friends.

TEFL credentials are often garbage anyway. You can get them in a few weeks on the internet. Many recruiters don't seem to be able to know the difference between real TESOL certification and the junk. Why? It doesn't make much difference in the bottom line. It also makes little or no difference when the school is pushing its own ridiculous method that a drunken monkey has come up with. A teacher would be trouble there, because he/she would tend not to want to use nonsense from a drunken monkey.

Public schools? Look at the JET program in Japan. What percentage have any teaching credentials? Yet the Japanese government knowingly recruits people without them, then whines and complains and blames the young teachers because they don't know how to teach. I do know of some high schools and junior high schools which do require that teachers are really certified. They are few and far between.

Background checks certainly are possible. They aren't free. I suspect the cost has as much to do with the lack of checks as anything else. I have always wondered about a system in which children are put into the classroom with someone who has had no check. I had thought that at least the government had checked for arrest records, warrants, criminal histories etc., but after some recent incidents (not related to teachers) in Japan, and the arrest of Karr in Thailand, I doubt even that now.

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