Six villains in English language teaching


Every profession has its bad guys. For doctors, it may be the evil pharmaceutical companies. For soldiers, it’s the enemy army or the “top brass”. What about English teachers? Well, I think there are six kinds of villain that are invoked at our conferences, in our methodology books, during workshops and especially on blogs. Here they are, in no particular order.

1 The old-fashioned teacher

Curious that the first villain is actually a teacher. Now, of course I don’t mean teachers like you dear readers. Never. No, I mean the infamous “old-fashioned” teacher. The kind of teacher that bores his/her students. That punishes them for no good reason. That beats students (thankfully these teachers are not so common now one hopes). That humiliates them. That is inhuman (as opposed to the good “humanist” teachers). And even more unforgiving, the kind of teacher that uses old-fashioned methods. Recently, this villain could be the kind of teacher who refuses to incorporate technology into his/her teaching. That old-fashioned teacher is one who we love to hate or, at best, pity.

2 The backpacker teachers

Our second villain is another teacher, but this time of a different ilk. The spectre of the backpacker teacher is often raised as part of the lament of lack of professional standards in English Language Teaching. And many of us have met (or, gulp, were) backpacker teachers in the past. The worst kind of villain in this category is the teacher with no qualification, no teaching experience who will give classes for just enough money to cover beer costs. Needless to say, this kind of teacher is favoured by villain number 5 below.

3 The publishers

The ELT publishers, and especially the really big ones, are always a good target in a blogpost or general rant along the following lines: They’re commercialising education! They’re moving in on “our” social networks like Facebook and Twitter! They’re giving away too much (flooding us with junk!) They aren’t giving away enough (why can’t I have another ten sample books and CDs to pilot?)! They put on a practical workshop at a nice hotel, gave a free lunch and then had the sheer audacity to try and… sell us a book at the end of it! They ignore too much raw talent (especially true if you’ve been turned down). The publishers are sometimes viewed as bottomless pits of money, making “billions”, and really just out there to hoodwink honest-to-goodness hardworking teachers and the poor students. They are our very own version of Big Tobacco, the Arms Industry or Big Pharmaceutical. Choose your metaphor!

4 The coursebook authors

These are more a villain of the lesser kind, perhaps only lackeys to the real culprits above. The more villainous the coursebook author is tends to be in direct proportion to how successful they are. Which means that the authors of books such as Headway or Interchange are sometimes thrust in the role of arch-villain in our ELT pantomime. Their work stifles teachers’ creativity, imposes a foreign world-view on classrooms around the world, or are simply out-of-touch with students’ reality and needs.

5 The private language school owners

The small-time crooks of our profession. They are really just interested in “bums-on-seats” and make huge gobs of cash by fleecing the students and cheating teachers at every opportunity. This is combined with trying to sell fake visas (if they are based in the UK) or evading tax (if they are based anywhere in the world). Finally, they don’t really know anything at all about education and tend to neglect or exploit the raw talent that works for them (when they aren’t trying to get in bed with them).

6 The grammar syllabus and exams

Not human, these twin evils are more akin to monstrous demons that control language courses everywhere. They frog-march publishers, coursebook authors, teachers and students through their all-powerful totalitarian system and make us dance to their tune. Like death and taxes, they are the inevitables in our world. And are often loathed for it.

Now, are there any villains I’ve left out of our pantomime? Education ministers perhaps? The Common European Framework? Certain kinds of student? Post a comment!

Published in: on September 12, 2010 at 8:15 am  Comments (67)  
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  1. Hear, hear!!!! KUDOS to such bravery voiced 🙂


  2. You’ve forgotten the marketing people who try to sell standarized tests (Toeic etc.) to language departments.

    • Ah yes. Perhaps they belong with the publishers? Or they are a cross between the publishers and the exam boards…

      • You might like to add parents to the list of villains? 😦


  3. Few spectres loom as horribly over UK institutions as.. the British Council inspection. Unfamiliar smell of fresh paint? Bunch of flowers in reception? Monet’s ‘Waterlilies’ strategically placed over that crack in the wall?It can only mean one thing!

    • LOL. You sound a bit like villain number 5 there though, although I can imagine even the good guys (the noble hard-working etc teachers) also tremble at this.

    • Monet’s ‘Waterlilies’ and the crack in the wall image made me laugh hilariously this end

      Belgrade, Serbia

  4. Oh Lindsay you have really picked up on a few classic villains here.
    I would like to add the Personnel Managers at companies who insist the teachers uses one of the Course Books mentioned above because then the know the classes will be good value for money.

  5. How about the really charismatic substitute teacher?That week off you enjoyed so much doesn’t feel so good when you get back to class and – something’s changed.They don’t laugh at your jokes the way they used to.The spark is gone.. How was the teacher last week?Really good?So funny?Oh..

    • Oh god, yes that one. I wouldn’t say it’s a villain… just a bastard!

    • Ha, ha, good point, but in my case it rarely happens , have to add shamelessly though 🙂


  6. Great post, Lindsay! You’re obviously firing on all (six) cylinders after your break!

    You haven’t mentioned the Native-Speaker teacher – often conflated with The BackPacker Teacher, of course – who is, in turn, related (distantly) to The BANA (Britain, Australia, North America) Academic. Of course, the villainry is compounded if either party happens to be male, too.

    • Thanks Scott for dropping by! Yes, the Native Speaker teacher is shamefully missing from the list. They have been cast in the role of villain on more than one occasion. And all the variables combined do make, as you say, a super villain: the Lex Luthor of ELT?

      • My God, Lex Luthor! 🙂 One has to be cruel to be kind once in a while

        Great! Keep it up! Why do I get the feeling that nobody will care even if we post on the thorny topic?


    • Wow, Scott I wanted to say that! You’ ve ‘stolen my thoughts :)’ over the net. I have to add that I was too afraid to bring this up myself for fear of retribution

      /to steal one’s thoughts is a Serbian idiom that I simply translated, hope it comes across nice as it is in Serbian meanings/

      Belgrade, Serbia

  7. And what about the “Inauthentic Grammar Example”: “Are these your hands? Whose nose is that?” Or, more recently, the less funny but much reviled: “I was having a bath when the phone rang”. Or: “Look, black clouds. It’s going to rain!” I’ve been to many a talk where much mirth has been created at the expense of these innocent examples. (Come to think of it, I’ve given a few such talks myself!)

    • True true. Michael Swan always raises a laugh when he picks on this villain in talks too. Not really a villainous as the native speaker teacher or publisher though. A hapless villain perhaps (not a good collocation I know)

    • Now, reading what you wrote , Scott, have to admit that some time mid August I thought of a wonderful Pecha Kucha thing that nobody but Scott would do perfectly :). Then again, I never pressed that ‘send’ button. 😦


    • I once ran a seminar for teachers entitled ‘Teaching Grammar’ 🙂 and they were supposed to fill in the gaps …blahblahblah and immediately when they spotted ‘Never’ in the sentences they put verbs in Present Perfect without even thinking. Needless to say what barrels of laughter followed when they realised that it doesn’t go without saying that ‘never’ is only used in present perfect. An obvious example of teachers who must have been subjected to Headway for decades 🙂


  8. An interesting look at our profession and I agree with some points. One area you could include could be accredited examinations and the backwash into our classes.

  9. Nice article Lindsay – a great read on a Sunday morning.

    For me one of the great villains is the non-native speaker “expert” teacher. they learned their craft in a university thirty years ago and left the institution knowing that there was nothing more to learn about the language. They have a supremely over-emphasized accent based on a stage version of Etonian displaying all the national trademarks of their own native language. Their specialty is a smirking correction of any native speaker who has the temerity to say, “If I was you…” and this is only topped by their ability to wow new students with their academic CV.

    Ok, my pulse is returning to normal now. Have a great day, and thanks again for making me smile.

  10. Great post , Olaf! I’ve recently put up a questionnaire on surveymonkey for teachers who will attend my seminar soon. I put ‘yes,no and dunno options’ on purpose 🙂 just to see whether they will google the blended ‘teenage’ spelling and to see what reactions , if any, this might provoke


  11. Great comment about your pulse. Thanks Lindsay for starting the thread. Pulses ‘rushing and raging’ this ‘early’ Sunday morning /midday

    You all just made my household chores and tidying up more enjoyable 🙂


    • Ooooops, Olaf’s pulse it was but Lindsay’s thread it was


  12. Great list Lindsay!

    I’d just want to add all the bureaucrats who make us waste time filling in forms like individual learning plans and course overviews. Teachers have to spend so much time writing about what has been learnt, what’s being learnt, and what’s going to be learnt, that there’s no time left for anyone to actually learn anything!

    • I don’t have to do all these things you mentioned but I sympathise with those teachers who have to.
      I sometimes in hours of dispair tend to think that some teachers just love doing it! I d be pleased to know that I am mistaken. Otherwise somebody out there would rebel against it?


  13. Welcome back, L-boy, so good to see you up to no good again.. 🙂

    I’m glad this whole post is tongue-in-cheek, otherwise people like you and me and the people we work for, are going to go down even further in people’s estimation, and finish up somewhere between abusive Catholic priests and estate agents.

    Assuming it IS tongue-in-cheek, I wish you’d left back-packer teachers out, because the ones who have no intention of making a career out of ELT really ARE villains, not just pantomime villains. And if we can sub-divide language school owners into good and bad, the former should be praised for encouraging us on our career paths. The latter need to be vilified properly, but I guess we can rely on Sandy McManus to do that for us.

    But I still get a BIT irritated to see teachers who don’t/can’t use technology being vilified (and using the loaded expression ‘refuses to incorporate’ really helps press home this vilification). I love the advantages that technology brings, but I do believe there are good people out there who are, for whatever reason, teaching low-tech. And their students don’t mind stepping back in time for the duration of the lesson, even if it means switching off their cell phones.

    • Good point about the technology-free teaching, Ken. Although I’m known as a technology freak in my circles, I certainly don’t force it into lessons where it’s not necessary.

      The only thing I would wish is that those teachers who don’t use technology would give up on preaching that it doesn’t bring anything to the lesson. Live and let live, eh?

      • Well, it was tongue in cheek, but only a bit. Like anything, I think there are some of these “villains” who are rightly criticized for being so and other times when it’s a bit exaggerated.

  14. TEFL bloggers probably would’ve made it onto the list a couple of years ago, but probably only the aforementioned Mr MacAnus now that the rest of us have all gone respectable and TEFL Blacklist is no more

    How about the superkeen teacher who makes all the rest of us look bad? And I’d narrow the publishing one down to their marketing departments

    • Oh whoops, it looks like Alex got there before me… note to self: read all comments before commenting!

      • TEFL Bloggers seem to be the heroes these days I think, but I spend too much time in the blogosphere. Nice point about narrowing down the publishers to marketing but I personally would shove some editors in there.

  15. A great read with many indentifiable points. I feel one group of villans involved in the language learning cycle has been overlooked in the post and the comments though: the students!

    You know the ones I mean: the lazy student who apporaches you on exam day with a plea bout how they ‘have to pass’; the releuctant student who has been forced to attend evening classes by their even more evil boss and have no energy or enthusiasm for your well-prepared enjoyable classes after a hard day’s work; the pendantic student who tries to put you on the spot with awkward questions about obscure/obselete grammar points; and worst of all, the student who asks you pointless questions but demands an answer (“why is this past simple form irregular?”, “why can’t I use passive in this sentence?”, “why is ‘I’m lovin’ it’ wrong? I’ve seen it on McDonald’s posters!”

    Our lives as teachers would be so much easier without this particular group of villans ruining it all!

  16. Can I add certain government-produced teaching material (COUGHCOUGHskillsforlifeCOUGHCOUGH) – perhaps they are particular to the FE sector in the UK, but perhaps others might like to see how fun they are. Happy to provide weblinks to anyone interested.

    Also, glad to see you cleared up your evil laugh/air kiss confusion ;o)

  17. I should think that naming and chuckling about these so-called villains is not quite as important or as useful as perhaps having a careful think about WHY they are commonly labelled villains, and who feels so inclined to label them so (and settling on those who might be characterised as rejects or bearers of sour grapes does not really cut it with me!). We also need to be careful of people insinuating that these labels are fair or unfair vilifications, especially if these people no longer actually teach full time, or do not teach at all in fact – and havent for quite some time – and do in fact represent or directly profit from one or more of the groups mentioned.

    Sorry, Lindsay, I thought these so-called villains were that little bit too easy to laugh off, as a bit of a sort of in joke around a posse that have moved on and up in the industry. And yes, it IS an industry in more ways than it isnt, and critical debate about the effects of corporatisation of our field in particular should be encouraged, not mocked.

    (Sorry – just wanted to post a comment that was a little different from the *hear hear!* or *you are SO right, Lindsay!* types – which are a slight blight on the impact of ELT blogging!)

    • So with you Jason…

      I’m surprised that the bloggers who would rather not pretend that there isn’t a problem with

      1. oldfashioned teachers who can’t be bothered to do any professional development

      2. backpacker teachers who can’t be bothered to learn how to teach (include in that house-wife/husband teachers who ride on their degrees in philosophy as an excuse not to do a CELTA/C.TESOL

      3. publishers who do not reveal the amount of money they are making yearly when a simple exercise in math reveals that in a world where 2bn are studying English, someone somewhere is making some serious mooola

      4. coursebook writers who haven’t taught in too many years to count or who ride on what they’ve done before as an excuse not to keep up with changes in methodology and practice (or we could continue to blame the publishers)and continue to churn out stuff teachers can’t actually use in the classroom*
      (obviously, please, not all… but let’s stop pretending that this doesn’t happen)

      5. too big for me to handle that one… parasites is my favourite name for the ones who ride on the work on the teachers and do not pay them fairly, provide any of the normal services in any other field of education … i.e pensions, health insurance… yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda…

      6. WAY TOOOOO BIG… the relationship between the exams, the grammar syllabus and the publishers who actually run these… and for what – does it help to pass exams proving that the learner has successfully parroted grammar rules?

      Yup, Lindsay, you forgot the bloggers who discuss the problems and don’t pretend we live in wonderland – that would make us the greatest of villans to some and heroes to others…

      • Ouch! Ouch! Let me go on record here and say that discussing the problems isn’t a bad thing! But oversimplification doesn’t always help. Agree that understanding WHY is also important but this was supposed to be a FUN post.

      • re. no. 3, why isn’t some of that money coming my way, damn it! 🙂

        More seriously, my back of the envelope calculation is that publishers of texts for classroom use get about 2-5% of the money that goes into a course (with publishers of self-study materials, granted, it’s a whole different game; they’re seen as selling courses, not just support for courses, and of course charge like they’re selling a course) Take the example I’m most familiar with, private Japanese universities… tuition runs between 1.5 and 2.0 million yen a year – let’s say 1.6 million to keep the math simple. If we divide this by the 16 courses a typical student might take over a year that comes to about ¥100,000 per student per course. The course text is then an additional ¥2,500 so about 2.5% of the total in this case.

        It’s just that if we’re going to be villains, damn it, couldn’t we at least be evil, swaggering villains like say banks? I’m certain they take a higher % of my money every year with their various charges and am not quite sure for what.

    • “Well, I think there are six kinds of villain that are invoked at our conferences, in our methodology books, during workshops and especially on blogs”

      That part in the introduction sort of led me a bit away from the idea this was just irony/fun!

  18. Oh Karenne I am so with you especially with number 5. We suffer so badly from them here in Germany but the companies love them .Why because … I don’t know. I hesitate to suggest kick backs????

    • don’t hesitate… we know it happens… not to mention the “special relationships” :))

  19. Whoa, thanks to all for the replies. In case it wasn’t clear though this was meant in irony and does not mean I don’t think that some of these villainous labels aren’t justfied at times. Err, I mean to say they ARE justified at times!

    • Hear , hear 🙂 even though some find fault with hear -hears.

      So, Linsay, you see where a bit of fun and irony can get you 🙂 . Been there, done that and still do 🙂


      • oops, missed a ‘d ‘ in Lindsay 🙂


  20. Some gems here, and we do name so many but so few of us do anything about it. A voice is strangled if it does not act as well, innit.

    Let me add two more to the mix:

    The monolithic BIG biz schools, like Berlitz and Wall Street here in Germany. They have the money to pile up on the rubbish they try to sell to the client. They abuse and use their real superheroes, have few principles and when you object to anything they do they fire their big legal guns. Not sure if they are as bad as No 5. or fall into the same grouping.

    How about the comfy comfort zone dwellers who are maybe good teachers, but are scared to try anything beyond their tied and tested ways. These are ones that real get my back up. They are good at what they do, but are cruising when they could be soaring.

    I would like to add two superhero to the villains.

    The first is private schools or companies, even teams that can be run by active trainers, this is where you may get the exception to your number 5. An owner/ manager, team player who still is at the chalk board.

    Or a teacher/trainer who will pay out of their own pocket to help a learner where schools etc wont. This can be simply meeting at a cafe to solve a problem they have come to you with or lending/ donating some resources to them.

    Maybe six superheroes could be your next blog 😉

    • Haha, good you mentioned Berlitz! They are a real shame over here but the polished and done up, fancy sort of a shame . Enough cash to simply buy the franchise, nobody ever bothers to check on them, the owner/s being involved in really ‘hard’ business and politics to ‘offer personal cash contributions’ in return for a tender won and not in the least bothered about teaching , using their school for all sorts ‘shelters’


    • Looking forward to that the superhero blog 🙂


  21. […] Six villains in English language teaching « Six Things […]

  22. Oh, yes, so many villains! Anything worthy needs a villain, any director knows as much.

    Good as any these but top of the heap for me is TIME (though any villain will do). Shakespeare sonneted it best in #64. We are always stealing time from students, time is stealing from them and us. We’ll all be dust and without much that language can do for us. Time gets my vote.

    Insightful in any and all cases!


    • I really like that quote David, thank you very much for that! A measured and philosophical answer. It’s also a villain that I agree with – and think will be more and more in my thoughts as I get older!

      Very insightful indeed.

  23. I don’t know if there is a specific villain responsible or if it is complicated web of interdependence between, clients, schools and the economy.

    Teachers who do all they can to further themselves, invest time and money on higher qualifications, (DELTA etc) attend workshops, give their best in class, work above and beyond their “hourly rate” yet remain in an insecure, lowly paid, lowly regarded job where their salary is insufficient to buy a house and support themselves in an average way – the way say, state school teachers are able to do.

    Many efl teachers are real professionals – but can you imagine the state of affairs under which they work in any other profession?

    This I suppose does link in with the idea that anyone who can string a sentence together can become an “English teacher” and some “English teachers” are prepared to work for as little as 8 pounds an hour.Why is there not a law against this?

    Until the fundamental pay, conditions and regard for EFL teachers changes dramatically a cynic might say that everything else is just lip-service. It’s the thing that pains me the most about working in this field – that so many teachers are working with pay and conditions that would be unacceptable anywhere else (no sick pay, no holiday pay) yet they are expected to deliver top-notch service.

    • You are so totally right about this, Steph. Rose Senior in her excellent book The Experience of Language Teaching said it best (and here I paraphrase) when she said the world wide profession hurts its most valuable assets itself: teachers – words to that effect and sorry if I got it a bit wrong. It’s a sad state of affairs and even if I was a bit flippant above it is of some worry. I really don’t know what could be done though, on a world-wide scale, apart from encouraging teachers to ditch the worst abusers of this system (am thinking of villain number 5 here). But here we get onto another idea for a post perhaps.

  24. What about the ‘freeloader’ teacher? The one who puts no thought or effort into his lessons but will happily take credit in class for your hard work.

    You know the type, he turns up shortly before his class is due to start with questions such as, ‘What did you do with this unit?’ or ‘Got any games?’ (a catchphrase at a private language school I know as a certain teacher would say it every, single day).

    He’s the staffroom equivalent of the ‘friend’ who turns up at a party without any cigarettes and proceeds to smoke everybody else’s.

    Finally. to add insult to injury, sometimes when you explain your carefully-crafted idea he turns his nose up at it and goes in search of something ‘more interesting’.

    I’ve now learned not to indulge him and have long since given up smoking 🙂

    • LOL, although is this person a villain? I feel another list coming on of six jerks you don’t want in the staffroom. I’ve met the freeloader teacher myself, and confess in the past I have been the cigarette moocher. The ideas freeloader is worse perhaps, at least with the cigarette moocher you know you’re killing him bit by bit.

  25. back to the point of improvement of pay and conditions.
    How can we really start the ball rolling with this one?
    Are orgs like Iaeftl even interested in this?
    And how will governments react if the EFL/ESL teachers actually get their act together and protest?

    Unfortunately ditching the worst abusers is not always possible for teachers, especially if they are new to the market, or have become dependent on said abuser.

    Not sure how it is in other countries but in Germany the government taxes the freelancer to hell, and then does not even ensure they are given a decent wage.
    After all as freelancers we can always negotiate are wage, innit.

    I guess this is also why many end up doing their own thing, but they will always be replaced with the less aware. So the circle tirelessly continues.

    • Thanks for the comment. I always thought conditions in Germany were better than for example in Spain where I work but I have never worked in Germany. Maybe another post “Six ways to get out of the mess we’re in”? That’s an idea worth pursuing – Jason Renshaw at English Raven and Alex Case at TEFLtastic have already posted on this btw, I recommend them.

  26. The photocopier! It jams. It runs out of paper when you’re in a hurry. It thinks it knows better than you – that you want something printed the other way round on A3 when you don’t. But it fails to realise that you OBVIOUSLY only wanted 20 copies not 200. It melts ‘the wrong type’ of OHTs. And woe betide the teacher who tries to change the toner in a hurry and covers the staffroom in carcenogenic black dust and gets a public dressing down at the next staff meeting (what makes you think I’ve been there?). And, finally, it sends teachers subliminal messages that make us do more copies than we need ‘just in case’ and wastes huge amounts of paper: “What if you run out of material (although you’ve already got 3 back-up activities)?”

  27. After all these explosive ‘outbursts’ on a Sunday today I sort of think another comment is due. So here it is. I was wondering if anybody among seasoned ELT practitioners would be kind enough to share with us what keeps you motivated? I have to admit that I still remember this very question a friend asked another reputed ELT practitioner a couple of years ago. I was all ears to hear the answer but the person just sort of evaded/ignored the answer 😦

    So to cut the long story short, what keeps you motivated after all these nasty ELT related ‘issues and challenges’ we have fired away at today in Lindsay’s thread?


    • oopps sorry, he ignored the question /not the answer/.


      • Hi Natasha

        Gosh, you’ve been very active today! Yours is a good question, but I think it is probably best for another post?

  28. The villain is the learner who allows all these other villains to rule and ruin his language learning world. I say this as a learner who does not depend on these villains.

  29. Dear Steve

    I would say that a learner is a victim perhaps, not the villain. 🙂 They simply are totally confused and dismayed with all the tests out and about, all the course books allegedly tailored to suit their needs :), all the courses they need to attend, all the certificates they need to obtain, all the languages they need to be fluent in in order to land that job or a clinch that deal or to join that college in the Ivy League , all the nasty teachers in their stick-mood rather than a carrot mood they have ‘to tolerate’, and to be subjected to all that with the old fashioned image of a teacher as a dispenser knowledge who does not willingly see eye to eye with an ‘autonomous learner’ tend to be the last straw which reinforces my idea of a victim position and not that of the villain 🙂 .

  30. Yes Natasha, you are probably right. Then there is the odd lucky learner who meets a teacher who is able to start the fire and make him or her an independent language learner. It happened to me when I was a reluctant French learner at the age of 17. Since then I have enjoyed learning many languages (11). The teacher needs to more of pyromaniac if you will, rather than an administrator of tests, curricula and classrooms.

  31. I thought of another villain! My God, yesterday a 14- year old student of mine, who passed Cambridge FCE in May and now taking Cambridge CAE course, asked me for help because they were going to have a pronunciation phonemic chart drill and a TEST today! What teacher in their right mind would put that content in the TEST and in a state school education? What value can that have but be a major put-off for many weak students to not like English even more? I was shocked and very sad to hear this. I have so many lovely student very fluent without knowing all these strange looking signs in the phonemic chart! It may look interesting to know the signs to us teachers as a sort of intellectual challenge, but it comes across as Egyptians hieroglyphs to teenagers!


  32. Brilliant!!!
    You might add supervisors and teachers trainers who are there to controle instead of providing support, help…. I mean those who don’t add anything because they themselves are out-of date…

  33. So many, so many villains…

    The most detested villain that comes to my mind is more a behaviour that villains engage in: gossip. So cheap. So easy to engage in and so very very damaging.

    Image a new teacher, straight out of university. It’s her first job and she is anxious to get some teaching experience. She is assigned to the Self Access Centre.

    “I feel so sorry for you having to work in that place with so-and-so, how can you stand it?”; “…that place is just bullshit – nothing ever happens there…” and “… did you get the job because you are a relative of so-and-so…”

    How would you feel if that was your introduction to your new work place?

  34. Dear Lindsay,
    thank you for very comforting (strange but true :))post. Just right now I struggle to convince some of my students that working without course book can be also good, using internet materials, videos, technology,and handouts prepared by me. Sometimes it is so exhausting not to be trusted. Now I at least see, in your post, that it is not me who is “bad”. Thanks for encouraging words.

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