Thursday, July 13, 2006

Speaking, Frankly.

This week had me thinking a lot about the whole native speaker debate. I've spent time trying to organise my thoughts into a cohesive whole about the thing, considering that it technically affects my livelihood.

Frankly, I felt insulted the first time this whole thing came up. After all, they were hiring "native" (read: ang mor) speakers to come to Singapore to teach English (presumably for higher pay) just because that was the language that they used all the time. I felt that being primarily a speaker of the English language I was being shafted just because I had the bad luck of being born on Singaporean soil and therefore not considered a native speaker of the English language. Ask anyone and they'll tell you that I've got the practice because I AM monolingual.

It's not the first time (nor the last) that I've ever gotten gypped*. I don't think that I felt cheated in any way. Not really anyway. I wasn't really insulted because in my heart of hearts, I think that there are local (English) teachers that do not speak well at all. What I did feel is betrayed.

I know it en't (notice how I code switched there, like only a good English speaker can do?) personal and that the whole scheme's probably going to mean good things for the country's young, but I can't help feeling that somehow or another, I've been cheated on. I've worked hard to teach. I've put in my heart and soul into my work but all of a sudden, despite all that, my ministry's taken on a mistress and the mistress, well she's getting all the stuff I want and she'll be placed higher on the priority list when push comes to shove.

Another comparison that I could bring up (that doesn't make me sound like a woman) is that I feel like the Corolla after the owner's bought a Ferrari. Which brings up some very interesting value judgements right there: Ferrari > Corolla? Here's the thing, though. A Ferrari in Singapore's going to need to undergo monthly servicing to keep its engine running smooth. Singapore is simply too small a country for it. A Corolla will last forever and a bit through whatever our tiny island throws at it because Corollas are built for small places.

I think that inevitably we'll be getting our native speaking teachers in here whether we like it or not. I really think that it will be a good thing. The feelings of betrayal stem not just from this one incident but a string of betrayals like the refusal of MOE to support the initiatives we the teachers wanted, no, needed from the start. Where are our smaller class sizes? Where are the lessened workloads? What about the teaching assistants? In other words, why are you spending all this time, effort and money wooing your foreign mistresses when we've got our own domestic troubles at home that we have not settled yet?

Betrayed. Yes, that's what I feel. *shrug*

It shure en't easy bean local.

*Most Singaporeans have, in one way or another, been gypped. But that's not my gripe.

3 Comments:

Anonymous gecko said...

DId you know know that in the advert placed by MOE in UK, applicants need not have had classroom teaching experience?

That means that they didn't have to be teachers already, didn't need knowledge of classroom management, didn't need foundation in pedagogy and practice.

That is what galls me.

Tue Jul 18, 09:58:00 am 2006  
Blogger di said...

ey feel ya dude.

so frustrated LA.

(p.s. changed bloglink)

-di

Tue Jul 18, 10:56:00 am 2006  
Blogger Packrat said...

Gecko: Any chance of dropping a link for the image of that ad?

Thanks. :)

Di: Will update my blog for your link soon. Was wondering where you'd gone. :)

Wed Jul 19, 05:25:00 pm 2006  

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