Working Against My Beliefs

September 24, 2014

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One of my struggles in deciding where I should go next lies in the work itself. If I were simply independently wealthy and able to travel 365 days out of the year, I wouldn’t have to worry about what occupies the majority of my time. Since I’m not, most of my career – and I use that term loosely – prospects have been ones of necessity: I needed money to be able to live on my own, and I needed work, any work, to do so.

As I’ve come to realize, all this work was completely contrary to my personal beliefs.

Consider teaching English in Asia, an industry that hires anyone and everyone. Do I believe in taking advantage of the demand for English-speaking buffoons abroad to further one’s experience and expand his pocketbook? Of course. However, I am completely against sending immature unprofessional louts overseas just for the sake of having a white face at the head of a classroom. More to the point, I’m not in favor of doing anything to promote the idea that Japan, Korea, China, and Thailand have the right approach when it comes to English education.

Can a properly trained professional teacher still make an impact when working in this system? …maybe. But even those who know what they’re doing are implicitly condoning a false premise: that Korean students need English for their careers outside of entrance exams; that Japanese children are guaranteed to absorb the language when confronted by a foreigner an hour a week. I’m not saying that the right person couldn’t come over and truly improve conditions for students and the industry as a whole, but even if he were to do so, his performance would only feed the idea that the frenzied approach to education is effective, and should continue.

That’s not the case. Asia is getting more bad than good when it comes to ESL teachers, and eventually something is going to give.

What I’m doing back stateside isn’t any more in tune with my beliefs. After being reminded of America’s pitiful standards on healthy eating from seeing Fed Up, I’m one to be pushing more sugar on our youth. Granted, the products I’m promoting are as “pure” as they possibly can be – organic, local, and lacking preservatives – but the fact remains there are millions of companies out there marketing cheap calories to children, and I don’t want to be a part of it.

What does this leave me with? Not much. I’m certainly not the first to sell out for the sake of security, but I’m less and less willing to do so as more time passes in my life. This isn’t really meant to be whining, just more of a realization. Making the time count instead of feeding a system society at large would benefit from having eliminated.

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