- Education and Science
Teaching English as a foreign language in Peru
I teach "teachers" of English in Peru. The level of expertise is low. While Peru law mandates that a "university" teacher (profesor as it is spelled here) has to have at least a master degree, the majority of teachers have at most the BA or a little teaching experience--and awarded the title Lic. (Licentiate).
Teaching English is difficult. Textbooks are notoriously bad: grammar plays but a small role and expecting students to speak the language outside of the classroom is fantasy.
My last Ph.D. was earned at Carnegie-Mellon--and I am an oddity at best. My job is secure as I have the only doctorate in this area.
Most English teachers from the USA are working toward a BA, I know of none with an earned MA or doctorate in any area.
Research and publication is neither required nor found in any area. Mario Vargas Llosa is hailed now for winning the Noble Prize in Literature--but was ignored previously. Cesar Vallejo was chased out of Peru. He went to France where he wrote and died. Later, his body was returned to Peru--without fanfare. Now there is a university named after him--in spite of the fact that he was soundly and roundly hated for his lifestyle before being posthumously resurrected with the talents of Mario Vargas Llosha.
Peru is poor in every way. It remains poor because of the churches that have a strangle-hold on education: religion is required at every level. Even in degree areas such as computer science, marketing, and foreign languages, religion must be taught. The absurdities in Mel Gibson's "Passion of Christ" are hailed as authentic. True education does not exist.
When Antonio Chang was Minister of Education, he required, in 2007, that all teachers to take a basic competency test. Of the total (the number varies depending on the source: from 180,000 to 200,000 or more), only 151 marginally passed.
All teachers in Peru, including those who scored 1 point were retained and continue to teach vulgar (street) English. This vulgarity can be heard and read in bad English texts. Teachers call children "kids" (it means a goat, but in street English it is accepted) unless the teacher is in Chile where the child is a "cabrito" or "pato" (duck). Sexual orientation is more important than mastering the language, and indoctrination is given preference over education.
I teach university teachers of English. Few of these "teachers"know how many articles there are in the language, none knew how many adjectives or how to use them, and composition was at best at the eighth grade (USA) level. Most argue that English has five vowels, but at USAT there is a course given, with my enthusiastic endorsement, on the vowels "y" and "w" (how else would you pronounce the words "cry" "mythology" and so forth?). Rules of capitalization (most students start a sentence with a lower-case "t") and punctuation (it is usually missing or incorrectly used) are ignored. There is no agreement of tense, style, and so forth. The greatest absurdity is with faculty that wants to use "gadgets" such as PowerPoint. Without PowerPoint they are hopeless and haplessly meandering through the course. I find no teachers who are competent to teach above the fourth grade level, and most students who graduate are as inadequately prepared as their teachers in primary school and in the "university" where they spent most of their time discussing beer, sex, and discotheques.
Those who teach English usually teach at three different schools as the pay is very low (I make about $200 a month at the university where I teach grammar, composition, and philology, putting most students to sleep). I am frequently asked to show movies, and teachers rely on PowerPoint as I have yet to meet a single subject-matter expert.
When I turn in grades, at least 90% fail as the students are irresponsible. They do no homework. They will not read any assigned materials. They ask questions in Castellano, and expect a grade if you do not want to be denounced (fired).
I am denounced every semester, but the university uses the books I was fortunate to have published, and I do edit the new grammar and English books my university is publishing after I authored several published articles on vulgar English, the numerous errors that saturate IB textbooks, and showed why the popular FCE is a farce. I am kept on as an antique (ancient one) and because my publication record lends credibility to the school.
Most students "speak" they "learn ingles hearing rock 'n rol [sic]", Most go on to be teachers, and their students are as weak in the language as their new teachers. Because of my age (67), I cannot go elsewhere as discrimination is real in every Latin American, and Asian nation where I have applied.
In Peru, people think that a TOEFL, ESL, or other certificate is a degree, and waive any requirement of law. Americans can earn up to S/.2000 a month at Roman Catholic schools, but public education pays far less. I teach in Peru because I was considered to be "too old" in the USA. My publication record is liberal and long, and that is the second reason I left the USA.
Being stalked by faculty and students daily, receiving death threats in Iowa because of my education, was too much. The police did nothing, so I retired at 58 and moved to Peru where I could survive on $1000 a month (I took social security at 62, and receive $1200). I would not stay in Peru if I had any chance to go elsewhere--but as David Huang told me when schools turned me down in Taiwan, it is neither my ability nor experience that keeps me from teaching in Taiwan--it is my age. It is the same in the USA where UNT turned me down for an adjunct professorship in Oak Cliff, as it is in every nation where I have applied. I have stopped applying, and when not teaching, I research, write, and publish--including on Hub Pages.