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Child Murder Suspect Hunting Teaching Job in Thailand-YUCK
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unionjack
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Joined: 04 Jun 2004
Posts: 498
Location: UK

PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 6:12 pm    Post subject: Disclosure Application Reply with quote

In the UK, when you have accepted the offer of a teaching job, working with young people, the school will request that you fill in a Disclosure Application form, which they will send to the CRB (Criminal Records Bureau), who will check your background for a criminal record. The $60 cost of this, is usually borne by the school.

However, some of the authorities involved in these procedures are rather sloppy with the rules and therefore, a number of criminals are still able to get into the system.
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canuckophile



Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:07 am    Post subject: CSM article Reply with quote

The CSM article ws pretty good.

It's true that doing a Criminal Record Check is a hassle, a minor expense and time-consuming.

I think the schools will have to be scared into making hires earlier - in Korea it's common to hire people 2-3 weeks before they start (sometimes 2-3 days). The universities only start hiring here 3-4 months out, unlike other countries.

Last minute hires will be a thing of the past if they have to do criminal record checks.

And another problem is that people like Karr (who fled the US when charges were brought, so never came to trial) will not show up on a US criminal record check. (He still doesn't - I also checked his home state as well as CA.)

But the first time anything funny happens overseas, the host country should bring charges and I suspect at some point in the future there will be an international registry.

And it's WAY overdue. This proble m will only get worse, and it will hurt all of us. And again, it doesn't matter what level you teach - if you go overseas to teach, you may teach children one year and adults the next.
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Lee Hobbs
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Joined: 08 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 2:43 pm    Post subject: Let the Good Guys Band Together Reply with quote

canuckophile wrote:
And it's WAY overdue. This proble m will only get worse, and it will hurt all of us.


Thanks for all of your well thought out input on this subject, Canuckophile.

I too believe in personal responsibility, not just passing the buck. Of course, I also believe that a large part of personal responsibility is holding others accountable for what they've done. If I were one of the children's parents at one of the schools mentioned in the article, I would be furious with the school directors even more than the fugitive teacher(s).

However, things rarely get done or done properly when we ask others to fight the fight we should be fighting ourselves. Like any industry, this is one that, IMHO, should begin to be cleaned up from "within." If we wait around for others to take responsibility, then who knows what kind of repressive regulations will be passed and enforced without our majoritorial consent.

Some time ago, a poster--alisonboston, I believe it was--put up some wonderful ideas and arguments for forming a real ESL union. So far, if I recall, Japan is the only place where an effective one exists for ESL teachers. Such a global organization, if it could ever be taken seriously, could do a lot to raise the standards for membership by requiring such background checks as part of the application process.

Even if we are talking about some accreditation council for our industry that professional ESL teachers--who really want to emphasize their dedication to professionalism--could join, it would be a good start. This might be a trade guild that asked its members to provide such data (as, background checks, for instance) might do wonders in the area of, at least, raising the level of respect for this trade. The CSM article was just one of many I've come across that take the opportunity to bash ESL teachers as time-wasters or confidence tricksters. If tattooists and piercers, for example, can form such groups to raise awareness, why not ESL teachers?

Does anyone know if a legitimate organization of ESL teachers exists that can somehow "vouch" for the validity, qualifications, trustworthiness, etc. of a given member? If so, it might help if such job stipulations were added to the already rather lax list of requirements for teaching children.

Perhaps I'm just naive or idealistic, but something practical needs to be put in place to keep press releases coming of how much expatriate ESL teachers are helping the children of the nations they move to: not hurting or exploiting them.

Just some thoughts, for whatever they're worth.

Keep discussing and thanks,

Lee
http://www.english-blog.com

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canuckophile



Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2006 9:44 am    Post subject: Unions Reply with quote

I wasn't aware Japan had any kind of ESL union. What are the details?

It would be hopeless in South Korea - too many one year wonders here, and too many very young teachers (which the Koreans prefer, t hough they tend to complain about them endlessly when they notice that "young" and "immature" are often synonyms. If you are young - notice I said "often" - not "always." There are plenty of exceptions but the young, immature ones who cause the problems can stir up a lot of trouble and hurt the entire profession's reputation - as can pedophiles, eh?).

There has been talk of unionizing in Korea for all the 5 years I've been here, but It Will Never Happen. I've heard people talk about using KOTESOL (Korea Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) as a base for unionizing or at least credentialization - that won't happen either. It's a volunteer organization and focuses strictly on the academic side of ESL.

I do suspect that only country by country unions would work, but I doubt many countries are really ripe for such organizing. I think the best thing would be for the countries themselves to establish guidelines for credentials and require everything be done 4-6 months before the jobs start, and keep an accurate database. That would wreak havoc in Korea - land of last minute.

CANUCKOPHILE
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Lee Hobbs
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2006 5:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Unions Reply with quote

canuckophile wrote:
I wasn't aware Japan had any kind of ESL union. What are the details?


Hi Canuckophile,

Thanks for your comments to my comments.

All valid points you've made. I especially like the phrase "one-year-wonders." Did you coin that or has that been going around for some time? Pretty good.

I need to correct myself about where I heard about that Japanese ESL union idea. It wasn't from alisonboston (who does post here a bit), it was from Scott Sommers. See the comment he left for a blog posting I did here about unions and ESL:

http://www.english-blog.com/archives/2006/01/being_compensated_for_english_teaching.php

I can't vouch for his information at all, by the way. I guess I'm guilty of spreading internet rumors in this case. But, Scott runs a legitimate blog that gets a lot of traffic and peer review. Maybe we should start a new thread about the possbility of unions? Or, at least one about one-year-wonders!

Best and thanks again for your continued input on this forum,

Lee
http://www.english-blog.com

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alisonboston



Joined: 01 Feb 2006
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well Lee - you did read about a global ESL union with my name attached to the article, and it was something I wrote in the context of that sample newsletter I put together in response to the ESLEMPLOYMENT job call several months back.

In any case, I also reworked the article a bit and posted it on my blog, so people can read it here: http://alisonboston.com/http:/alisonboston.com/uncategorized/teaching-english-in-a-globalised-economy.html

With regard to paying for a criminal record check as part of a job application, I maintain that that responsibility should fall on the shoulders of the employer, NOT the employee.

In any case, Lee's suggestion that a global ESL union could help weed out the pedophiles is a good idea. However, rather than focussing on weeding out the baddies, let's focus on making the profession more attractive to high quality candidates.

I think the biggest problem with this field is that we move around, and when we move we incur expenses, and perhaps the greatest expense is all the confusion around our social benefits: i.e. unemployment, health care, and pension. A global union could start to address these issues and help attract and keep better candidates, afterall - the more high quality people we have working in the field, the less room theire will be for trouble makers of all stripes. Let's face it, I think the profession probably has a bigger problem with alcoholics than pedophiles. I'll bet my next job that there are well over 100 alcoholics working in ESL for every 1 pedophile and an alcoholic can create hovoc.

All for now, I'm on my way to my next teaching destination...

ta ta
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Lee Hobbs
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2006 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

alisonboston wrote:
. . . afterall - the more high quality people we have working in the field, the less room theire will be for trouble makers of all stripes. Let's face it, I think the profession probably has a bigger problem with alcoholics than pedophiles . . .


Hi Alisonboston!

Good to see you again! Thanks so much for clearing all that up. I did want to give you credit for bringing up the union idea, but I just couldn't find where you had posted that originally. Now I know! Readers, follow that link so you can follow the thread of discussion here (that is now all over the place).

Yes, despite the complications surrounding the obvious issues of starting a real trade union (always the "stopping" point for many of these discussions), I still think we need to open up a frank and honest dialogue about unionization and how it can actually HELP the industry for both the employees and the students recieving the "services" of education.

With regards to substance abuse, there is, unfortunately, a real stigma attached to being an ESL teacher abroad in several areas of domestic English education (I'm speaking only from my own experiences in North America--I can't speak for the other areas of the world).

We don't discuss it much on this forum but perhaps we should. Because of the lack of standardization with teaching qualifications, ESL teaching abroad is frequently not taken seriously enough as legitimate work experience for teachers returning back home to their countries of origin. I've witnessed many in the field who, after many years of teaching ESL overseas, find that working overseas is ALL they can do since finding a similar job "back home" (that will accept their work experience) is next to impossible. This stereotype is, on the whole, obviously unfair, and probably based on a lot of the mystery and misunderstandings about the profession itself. It shouldn't have to be this way, IMHO.

If (and I emphasize "if") part of the existing prejudice is built on the low quality of many getting into the field, then the "good guys" should naturally do what they can do keep the "bad guys" out of the field so that the industry can retain its place amongst the ranks of the respectable. By uniting our common cause, let's keep the profession, professional!

Discuss and debate. I'll sit back and watch.

Best, as ever,

Lee
http://www.english-blog.com

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esigus



Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 12:48 pm    Post subject: suspicion Reply with quote

I have not heard anything from my employer, co-workers or other friends in the business regarding negative reactions/fall-out from the Jon Benet case. I guess that I've always thought that TEFL would be the prime opportunity for the pedophiles of the world. I'm surprised, actually, that this is the first time I've heard (on an international level) of one getting caught. (Have you seen the nambla website?? It's absolutely stomach-turning! And the worst thing is that these guys are ALL over the globe!)

So many jobs are gotten sight-unseen, even when teacher & student live in the same city! I've gotten tons of private jobs from my ads in classified collumns & over-the-phone interviews, sometimes just because I had the time-slot available that worked for the student. I was hired in a kindergarten in Germany without any history asked for & my current job in a kindergarten/conversation school in Japan was gotten the same way. No back-ground history has ever been discussed.

Perhaps if there was some sort of global standard set, such as requiring college degrees & TEFL certs.; & if one is to be accepted into a TEFL program, one must pass a back-gound check. Maybe putting the weight on those handing out the certifications would be a good idea(?). I mean, if you don't pass the check, you don't get to go through the cert. program. If you don't have a cert, you don't get a job. If employers were to see that the applicant has no cert. & isn't interested in attaining one, then that would be a pretty good indication of there being some sort of problem. Of course, private schools do what they want in most countries, but that leaves the weight of responsibility for their hiring processes upon them as well. Many parents just assume that the school "takes care of all that" & they have no need or cause to even consider such things. There is also the naivete of many parents who think that if someone is in the profession, they must naturally love children & would never want to hurt their child in any way.

Then, there is the cultural consideration as well. For instance, here in Japan, I cannot imagine any one of the parents having the "guts" or "audacity" to ask the management if they ran back-ground checks on the teachers working in our school. It would be like asking if they have done their job & that would be deeply insulting! The administration would throw a complete fit & react with total indignation over such a question. How do we get that sort of cultural thing to go away? There are tons of little, private schools that hire people right off the internet & do not consider such possiblities could ever happen to them.

I'll say this: since the Jon Benet case, I've looked at my own co-workers with a lot more suspicion. I've always been pretty aware, but I believe I am much more aware & watch them closer than I did before. .. maybe they're doing the same with me as well(?). Our school goes on camping trips in the summer & we have sleep-overs at the school as well. Our school tends to be the center of these families' lives. It's supposed to be like a "home away from home" & just as safe. I guess that in lieu of "unions" or "watch-groups," I am taking the stance that we are currently in the position of having to police ourselves & eachother. If there is any legitimate cause to suspect a colleague of messing around with kids, the worst thing to do is NOTHING. If you're not one of those guys, then you should welcome the idea of doing everything in our power to protect the children entrusted to us.
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alisonboston



Joined: 01 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 1:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, a background check a prereq for a TEFL is bit extreme, afterall, many TEFL teachers never go near kids, all they teach are adults....

and remember, one pedophile does not make everyone a pedophile.
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canuckophile



Joined: 11 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 1:31 pm    Post subject: good, thoughtful piece from esigus Reply with quote

While I agree with AlisonBoston that there are likely way more alcoholics (and mental case problems - I ve seen some DEFINITE manic-depressives in Korea) in the ESL profession, I think the pedophile problem is paramount simply because that is exactly WHY the pedophile joins the profession. (And again, no way to just screen those who teach kids - nothing stops anyone from jumping from one contract to another.)

So it's true that watchfulness (not in an Orwellian fashion) or alertness to one's co-teachers may be the only means currently available to keep the "problem" under control.

Yet (at least in Korea) a whackload of foreign teachers are the only foreigner at their school. Who's gonna watch them? (Last year one public high school in my territory fired a foreigner who was messing with the students - presumably the girls - though we never had any details. And the silly school just terminated his contract and let him leave Korea instead of pressing charges. So odds are very high that he's teaching someplace else, likely in Asia.)

Esigus' comments about the timidity of Japanese parents fits the Koreans too. I suspect it fits most parents worldwide other than the Europeans/North Americans.

When I had a contract at a public school, my Korean co-teacher was constantly in a tizzy about the parents - and I never saw one - even once - come into the school to discuss the English program (or their kid - or the weather -or ANYTHING) with us. Why the Korean teachers are so paranoid, I'll never know. Even one rainy day in the U.S. at the public (and private) schools my kids attended would have yielded more parent conferences (with teachers/principals/guidance counselors etc) than you would see in ten years at most of these Asian schools, from my observation.

So I don't see the parents monitoring anything about their children's teachers, which is (again) something that does happen in North America.
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esigus



Joined: 15 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 2:15 pm    Post subject: Nothing to hide Reply with quote

I don't think that a background check for TEFL cert. is extreme at all. True that some teachers do not have contact with kids, but what about other sex-offenders or violent persons? And is it okay for a pedophile to be teaching adults in foreign countries? What about foreign countries where children are MUCH less inhibited than in our home-countries & are never taught not to approach or talk to strangers? I guess the point is that, especially when children are [potentially] involved, isn't it worth it? Isn't catching one before he/she slips through worth the little bit of inconvenience? And if there is nothing in a person's background to prevent them from teaching, then what's the problem? Maybe two different certs... one for kids & adults, one for adults only?

A background check is not necessarily going to only catch pedophilia, but might also strain away those who have the tendancy to be constantly in trouble (since the conversation has touched several times on the idea of professionalizing our image).

I also do not believe in the "Big Brother" or "martial law" scenario of life (YUCK!!), & I do believe in a person's right to personal privacy, but children have no voice & are not able to protect or defend themselves. There are so many nasty people out there able to "get at" them... now more than ever with the globalization of almost all economies. Just think about this: What if it was YOUR kid? Wouldn't you want there to be some sort of screening process SOMEwhere? And what if your kid was 16 or 17? Isn't he/she still a kid? Many cultures teach their children as well as adults to keep their mouths shut & not cause trouble. Who looks out for them? That's the question the pedophiles are hoping will solicite the answer, "no one" or "it's someone else's job/responsibility."
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Lee Hobbs
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 5:18 pm    Post subject: What would the children say if they were asked? Reply with quote

esigus wrote:
. . . children have no voice & are not able to protect or defend themselves . . .


I agree with Esigus on this point (quoted). I think that this particular issue transcends all of our other concerns, whether they be about culture differences or not.

Anyone know off hand what percent of the ESL trade overseas has to do with teaching minors as opposed to working adults? Which area is the majority?

Lee

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LeslieW



Joined: 08 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will gladly pay for a criminal backround check. I have no issue with that at all. I dont know about Americans trafficking women in SK, BUT 2 Canadians threw Asia a curve ball by been caught offering ESL lessons in exchange for sex. They were tossed in jail and last I heard they are back in Canada. I think they deserved more time in a SK jail. They give teachers a bad name and it caused a lot of riots in Seoul and foreigners receiving warnings about travelling around Seoul at night as all foreigners were targets.

The rules have been tightened and I don't blame them. Then throw in the idiot that falsely confessed to the Ramsey killing and it highlights the need to know you're not hiring a child molester, killer etc. It's not just for the students' and schools' protection but co-workers as well. That child molester was probably having his version of a field day before he was caught. Imagine the damage he could have continued doing if left unchecked. He certainly gets off the hook in the US enough and then takes his sick show on the road.

I have over 20 years of esl experience and the last 2 years in Japan. I am now looking at jobs in Thailand and most want the background check. I have no problem whatsoever to pay 50.00 and have the check done by the local police in Canada. It benefits the school and myself.

I want to continue working overseas and police background checks are becoming the reality for working there. So what if it costs me 50.00. I couldn't care less.
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jordan



Joined: 10 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I haven't checked the price of a criminal record check in Canada - but I'll be surprised if it is as little as $18.00 U.S.
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Jenny1



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

canuckophile ? At one time, I worked for the police, so you can bet I don?t have a criminal record.
I wholeheartedly agree with the others that it isn?t up to us to get police checks done on ourselves, just because someone else broke the law. That someone else should have a conscience and we cannot be their conscience.
Furthermore, surely the school faculty, supposedly being learned individuals read the newspapers, watch the news on TV, or hear the news on the radio and a criminal?s name/face would/should alert them to the fact he/she is a danger to their students and shouldn?t be employed in any capacity, teaching either adults or children ? it?s like ?setting the cat among the pigeons? and what ever happened to educational institutions taking responsibility for the children in their care, whose parents are, in many cases, paying a good amount in tuition fees? Don?t they owe parents/students a duty of care?
Before you ask, I teach in a university, so teach adults, but I also have a part-time job teaching teenagers and sometimes also teach young children, but I?m a responsible and dedicated teacher, as I?m sure many of us on this forum are and in my opinion, it?s up to the schools to do the checking and paying for the checks, no matter how paltry that sum might be; because some schools expect us to pay for absolutely everything and I?m most certainly opposed to having to put my hand in my pocket yet again!.
Also, as another member mentioned and I agree with him, if someone has done something stupid in their youth, which hurt no one else but themselves, why should they have to go on paying for their mistake? They?re already punishing themselves enough, remembering how they stupidly hurt themselves and are probably still regretting it every day, so why add to their misery?
With regard to teachers/head masters/head mistresses/clergy, molesting children or trafficking in youth in their care, surely you are aware of the media reports? and as scary as it is, these individuals are happily married and have supposedly had no prior convictions or criminal records.
Furthermore, the issue of schools raising teachers? salaries and improving living conditions for teachers is a very important one; because if they offered better salaries and living conditions, they would attract better teachers. As you know, ?If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys?. I hasten to add, this, doesn?t apply to all of teachers. Some teachers, like myself, are dedicated, qualified, teachers and enjoy what we do, so are content to put up with low salaries, poor living conditions or below average working conditions, but that?s a choice we willingly make.
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