Teachers as workers

I recently joined a Google+ community on this very topic. The founder of the community page, Paul Walsh, wrote this about his and Nicola Prentis’ rejected proposal to set up a Teachers as Workers IATEFL SIG. One thing he said particularly resonated with me:

A lot of us are fully-paid up members of The Precariat, a term first coined in a book by Guy Standing in 2011 to describe a new class that has little social protection, low or unsecured wages and no trade union representation. This precarious work  leads to precarious life, with individuals unable to form stable occupational identities.

If you also feel that we need to do more to make ELT teaching a sustainable career path, I recommend signing up for their newsletter, following them on Twitter or joining the Google+ group.


4 thoughts on “Teachers as workers

  1. davidkaufher says:

    Thanks for the post, Ben. I think this is something that’s on everybody’s mind, but isn’t talked about enough here. In Berlin, the English teachers association organized a survey that went out to all teachers in the area asking what their qualifications and experience were, and how much they were paid. The results were surprising because prior to that, there had been no transparency about wages.

    This is surely a topic that will spark a lively conversation.


  2. paulwalsh says:

    Hi there,

    A big thanks for mentioning TaWSIG! The more teachers come together to do something about this, the sooner it will change.

    As well as joining or supporting TaWSIG – it’s really important that local groups of teachers get together to support each other and share information.

    Local teacher associations are mainly geared towards professional aims, e.g. training, networking – but will not take on an advocacy role of improving working conditions.

    That’s why it’s important that teachers from their own grassroots groups – like our group in Berlin: http://languageworkergas.com/

    If WE can do it – so can YOU!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for commenting, Paul! Our group is just getting started but I think it’s an important topic and people are starting to talk about it. We’ll keep moving forward, wishing you the best of luck in Berlin!


  3. I am teaching English full time but it is only now that people are starting to take notice of the fact that without English, good English most young engineers and such just do not have a future in the market place. In view of the responsibilty we have transmitting a necessary and difficult skill and need all kinds of personal qualities to make it work we are paid peanuts. It seems that in the minds of managers teaching business English is like teaching people how to make tea and apple crumble and the words to a few old Beatles songs. It’s a cultural thing in other words. To say that managers, at least many of the ones I know are behind the curve would be an understatement. They need to be told man-to-man …


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