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Automatic English For The People

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Free Agency

by AJ

In sports its called "Free Agency". Talented athletes have no loyalty to a particular team. No one owns them. Rather, they often shift to where the best opportunities and most money are. If a team wants the best, they've got to provide a great team environment and theyve got to pay well.

The education field is beginning to resemble the sports world. Teachers can be free agents too. Forget the days of tenure. Forget the days of working 20 years for the same sorry bureaucracy. While some bemoan the loss of "job security"... I see this as a very positive development. Sure, the mediocre clock-punchers are losing "security". But great opportunities are also opening.

These opportunities boost the demand for and the power of passionate, engaged, interesting teachers.

Here's a quote from Tompeters.com

What BusinessWeek reports about Microsoft—losing "key" talent, reminds us that the same value shifts that change [student] behaviors also change [teacher] behaviors. A growing economy creates opportunity for talent. Great talent has no reason to tolerate work that is not meaningful, organizations that don't value individuals' contributions, workplaces that are so bureaucratic they make innovation nearly impossible. A culture that breeds complacency and leaders in denial can kill a [school], but it's such a slow process that [schools] often don't feel the pain until it's too late. Microsoft is a perfect example of this.


Ive subsituted "school" for company... as I feel the exact same phenomenon will soon sweep education. As I survey the TESOL field, for example,... I find it almost laughable. The standards are incredibly low. The establised field of public and private programs is ripe for destruction. How much longer will boring, grammar-translation based, unpleasant, and ineffective programs be able to survive?

Not long I think. Its only a matter of time before new programs, new companies, new teachers overwhelm the old-school institutions. Im talking about the types of folks at Dekita.org. Im talking about the kinds of folks at The Linguist. Im talking about the design-artists folks at Wisdom 21. Im talking about the break-down-the-walls folks at English 360.

I dont think the dinosaurs at Berlitz, ECC, Inlingua, or most Universities have any way of responding to these upstarts. These boring behemoths certainly represent absolutely no competition.

And as they grow, these upstarts will increasingly attract the best and the brightest in the field. They'll draw the best free agents. And the rest will be left with an inevitable talent drain... a drain few of them can afford, as they are already so talent and passion impoverished.

I must say,... its a trend I find very encouraging.

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