(44 of 50) Fifth Sign About a ‘Teacher’ Which Should Make You Worried [Part ii]

Is it the truth.png

(44 of 50) Six Signs Which Should Make You Worried About a ‘Teacher’: 5th Sign [Part ii]

Let’s finish the 5th sign: about the ‘I got IELTS 9 and I’ll show you how to do it’ person.

Here’s the truth about these magic ‘IELTS 9’ people.

IELTS is a test of your English ability, and someone who gets a high score gets that score because of their English ability. This ability doesn’t rub off magically onto other people. You have to work on that ability yourself. Whether your teacher claims to have IELTS 9 or not is irrelevant.

The teacher who claims, ‘I got IELTS 9 and I’ll show you how to do it’ is probably lying. You need to ASK FOR PROOF. If they can prove it, that’s a nice start. At least you know they are honest people. However, if they show no proof, they are people you should avoid. They only want your money, and they know how to get it, right? You, the student, run a very grave risk by listening to them.

However, as I mentioned before, it can get much worse than this. Remember, these ‘I got IELTS 9; I’ll show you how to do it’ people are usually not trained TEFL teachers. You give them all the money, and these people, in order to prove they are worth your attention, recommend dubious IELTS sources, bad advice and embarrassing ‘tricks’, and weird and unnatural spoken and written memorisation that they claimed ‘worked’, all of which can take your IELTS mark down!

Real Qualifications!

So, having an IELTS 9 (even if it is true) is not a ‘qualification’ for anything. The actual qualifications should be based on teaching, and it should be based on ….

Teaching English as a foreign/second language = TEFL or TESL

Of course, the self-proclaimed ‘IELTS 9’ teachers do not have these. But TEFL qualifications are a start. They are not a guarantee that the teacher is good, since many teachers …

  • get the TEFL qualification from bad institutes [by the way, you can download them now!].
  • get the TEFL qualification, then ignore everything they have learnt.
  • get the qualification – for example, a Masters in TEFL – from a reputable institute, but don’t try hard at all during their studies, don’t learn much, but pass the course because, sadly, that is the way universities are, these days.
  • lie about their qualification. They simply invent it all (‘degree in TEFL philosophy from Harvard’). This is happening a lot now. That’s why you should ask for proof.

Having said that, if the teacher has, and can show, TEFL qualifications – such as the Cambridge CELTA certificate – from a reputable source, then that’s a solid beginning. You need at least such a beginning. A better beginning is when they show proof. But most teachers show nothing.

This wouldn’t matter so much if there was a culture of honesty here, but unfortunately the motivation of the ‘bushiban’ industry here is that of a business, not that of education. In other words, their goal is to make money, not educate you – and thus, the industry uses anything to convince you to part with your money.

But I’ll say again something I have said before. Teaching English is a very special skill, requiring very special training and a lot of experience. Here are three examples to think about.

(1) If you had a medical problem, would you go to person selling sandwiches on the street asking for treatment?

(2) If you had a bad toothache, would you go to the person in the next apartment asking for him to look at it?

(3) If you needed financial advice, would you go to a person feeding pigeons in the local park?

The problem in Taiwan is that the (1) person selling sandwiches on the street, the (2) person in the next apartment, and the (3) person feeding pigeons in the local park can all ‘teach’ IELTS. They can even claim, ‘I have IELTS 9 and I’ll show you how to do it,’ and get away with it.

The weird thing is, none of these people have to prove anything at all. They just claim everything.

Why do these people do this?

The answer: because so many students don’t seem to care, and just give them lots of money.

The next post will consider the 6th and final sign about a teacher which should worry you.

Now, check that you know the meaning of the underlined vocabulary (also repeated below).

  • to be grave (adj)
  • to be reputable (adj)
  • proof (n)
  • to be solid (adj)
  • to be financial (adj)
  • a pigeon (n)
  • to be weird (adj)

If you want to find out more about me, go to aisielts.com .