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January 21, 2006

ESL Life - When ESL Teaching Gets Lampooned!

It seems true, based on the numbers of self-important ESL websites out there, that we belong to an extremely "proud" and apologetic profession, always en garde to defend our raison d’être. However, as ESL instructors, do we sometimes take ourselves too seriously?

Sorry, but I just can't help but shout out a good laugh after discovering this new parody website about the ESL career-field. I don't mind laughing at myself, but I realize that some people find it painful to examine themselves critically.

I never thought the likes of The Onion would come to ESL.

Patricia Dean's excerpt from her latest newsletter [here] about robots replacing teachers in the ESL classroom got me to thinking about R2D2 and C3P0 and in a sidelink on "droids" I saw on my Alexa toolbar [available here], I came across this absolutely hilarious new(?) website that pokes fun at our industry. After all the serious talk that's been going about lately, I figured this is just what the industry needed: a satirical approach to what we do. Have these guys gone too far though? Here's an excerpt from the page on "teaching":

"As every teacher knows, but Directors of Studies have long forgotten, we English language teachers are in the entertainment business. Anyone who really wants to learn a language saves a lot of time, hassle and money by buying a book and taking it home and reading it.

So why do people come to expensive English classes?

* Their parents or boss made them.
* They are too lazy to study at home.
* They have nothing else to do on Monday and Wednesday evenings.
* They wouldn't mind shagging a native English-speaker or another student (or both).
* They still believe that by turning up to English lessons twice a week they will somehow master the language.

In these circumstances your priorities are as follows:

1. Keep the students amused.
2. Keep the DOS off your back.
3. Give everybody concerned the impression that the students' English is improving."

Sounds a lot like the type of talk that goes on everyday in ESL-Jobs-Forum anyway!

The creator of this site, who itself claims to be a robot named Glotolog X513, has another interesting feature called "the Devil's dictionary." Here are a few samplings from the "revised" glossary of words from our nomenclature:

"academe, n. An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught.
academy, n. [from academe] A modern school where football is taught.


English, n. a language unsuitable for international communication and excruciating to learn or teach.
droid, n. a human-like robot that performs mechanical, repetitive tasks."

Which explains the reasoning underlying the title of the website: englishdroid.com

If you need a laugh, check it out. It's worth a visit for the pics alone (I just love it when photo-shoppers marry the "incompatible" elements of the Star Wars and Star Trek universes, lol)

Have fun and let me know what you think about this robotic blasphemy.

As ever,


Posted by msimmons at January 21, 2006 03:58 PM

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» Is English Language Teaching a Real Career? from ESL School
At first I did just fall into it rather than make a conscious career choice . . . the theatre of English language teaching can open up a all sorts of career opportunities and bring you into contact with a wonderful cast list. Your early globe-trotting ... [Read More]

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