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A language teacher’s Xmas wishlist

It’s the Christmas…/cough/…holiday season and with it come the wish lists full of toys, games, clothes and gadgets. Although many of the gifts under this tree contain those things, none of them contain the more abstract wishes I have for English language teachers everywhere. 

More often than not, our contracts are temporary (union limited or seasonal). Unless you’ve chosen to freelance (and that affords a definite freedom), those of us that seek positions that offer full-time contracts should be able to get them. Personally, I want to know where my paycheque will come from during the months my academic program doesn’t run.  This lack of security brings about the next few wishes.

I’m not suggesting we be given the royal jewels or even more than the average teacher has, but health benefits, pension and paid sick leave comparable to the rest of the education industry.  That seems fair to me.

The director’s abilities and attitudes make a significant difference in both the environment and mentality of the school. One who is pure business, preoccupied with cost-cutting and lacking in any education background is often the reality. Imagine the opposite. This opposite can positively affect so many parts of the teacher’s life (PD, decision-making, observation and feedback, etc.).

We’ve had our fair share of online professional development this year, but I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say it would be nice to get paid to go. Professional development benefits everyone (teachers > students > schools) so the financial encouragement from our schools to attend (time off with salary, registration fees, help with travel costs) would be encouraging.

Unplugged is super and all, but I’m sure almost every teacher looks to a book or a computer with wifi for ideas from time to time.  These resources should be available as needed or desired.  Smart classrooms for all!

It makes a big difference when you have a staff room and a supportive, sharing staff to fill it. I’ve never related to teachers who are possessive over their materials and suspicious of those that want to work on and develop lessons together. Teaching is a communal effort. And it’s not just teachers; bridging the divide between the teaching and administrative staff can only benefit decision-making and transparency.

There’s probably more, but I don’t want to appear greedy.  I hope the powers-that-be in all areas of our industry give these wishes some thought and maybe by next Christmas, we’ll get the ones we’re missing under the tree.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all of you teachers!



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Naomi Epstein

There may SEEM to be more but I think they all fit under these categories.
May every teacher have these things!

A language teacher’s Xmas wishlist via @seburnt > May these wishes come true! #eltchat @edchat

Vicky Loras

Dear Tyson,

First of all, Merry Christmas – what a gorgeous tree! And the presents are so beautifully wrapped.

This is a very thoughtful and well-thought list of wishes. And very true ones. I feel you absolutely with the first one because I am paid by the hour so when things are very relaxed in August for instance, when everyone takes the whole month off for holidays, that means no pay for Vicky and stress to find something else to cover that month. I absolutely feel you on that one. Some stability in our paychecks would be great.

PD – yes! Super point. Schools and institutes should encourage and support their teachers financially. Lots of it goes out of our own pockets, and it’s worth it, but it would be a great help if we could be financially compensated.

Staffrooms full of enthusiastic educators – yes! I am blessed this year to work in two schools that both have super people. I don’t work there enough though, as most of my work is freelance, but then I have my virtual staffroom – all you guys!

Tyson, this is not said lightly, but you have been one of those people who have inspired me and encouraged me so much this year, in ways you might not even have imagined. I would like to thank you so much for that! I owe you tons of hugs when we meet! TESOL France 2012, right? ; )

All the best for 2012 and I hope you are always happy and healthy!


Vicky Loras

Hi Ty,

Yeah, freelancing can be lonesome and stressful – you have to be on the lookout for work all the time, as the students book packages of lessons, and when those are over, it is not sure if they will continue or not, due to their company paying/busy schedules and so on.

My pleasure, you deserve all the best for 2012! Yahooooo see you in Paris!!! It will be awesome and be prepared for lotsa hugs! (My Greek ancestry means we hug a lot….lol!)

Big hugs,


This sounds like the conversation we had the other night! Nicely said, Tyson. It’s sad that an entire industry (just about) can wish for the same things, but can’t seem to connect to make it happen. I look forward to working toward these things with you in 2012.
Have a lovely Christmas (one of the rare moments I can actually use the word)!


A great list Tyson.I do wish they come true. Whatever bosses do/say, they and the industry, won’t improve or become respected unless people are on permanent contracts and then be let to develop their own PD and have a say in the running of things.

Really, a 4 week CELTA course is not seen as a real qualification for many and so there’s still a lot of ‘having an alternative career’ or ‘I thought I’d teach for a break’ or ‘I have a main job and do this for fun’. And you can’t blame them. But, it’s all due to demand ie schools can only offer perm contracts if they have all year round students in high numbers.

Unfortunately, most do not care about quality as they are using price competition. You pay low you get low and if you don’t pay for prep/travel/meetings then you aren’t the top of employees priorities.

I’m been thinking of posting something similar for a while entitled ‘If I were a DOS’ so when I do I’ll link it to this.

Hope u had a good xmas mate and keep up the great posts. All the best for 2012.

A language teacher’s Xmas wishlist (that every teacher should have)

A language teacher’s Xmas wishlist via @seburnt Happy Christmas and New Year 2 all of us #EAP #ELT #EDCHAT .)))

Can’t agree more–> A language teacher’s Xmas wishlist via @seburnt #HappyNewYear #elt

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