So You Want To Be An ESL Teacher?


Yes, this is a real screenshot.

Sadly, this is also not a terribly gross exaggeration of the certification process.

For brevity’s sake:

Who’s – ALWAYS a contraction for “who is” or “who has”. The above Facebook post should read: Guess who’s a certified ESL teacher?

Whose – A possessive adjective. As in: Guess whose students aren’t going to learn a damn thing?



About Boggleton Drive

I teach things to people and sometimes draw comics.
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49 Responses to So You Want To Be An ESL Teacher?

  1. Richard Voza says:

    I don’t know what state you are in, but that is very much a gross exaggeration of how it works in New Jersey. So much of an exaggeration that it is silly for you to even suggest it.

    • It’s also silly to assume everyone is from the US. I live in Canada, and have taught here, in Australia, and Japan. Unfortunate as it may sound, the ESL teaching market is flooded with bad teachers everywhere. The certification process has, for all intents and purposes, a zero percent failure rate: you pay, you show up, you get certified. It’s that simple. I should know– I taught a TESOL certification course for two years. Is my comic an exaggeration? Yes (it is, after all, just a comic). Thanks for your comment.

  2. Well, whatever the certification process, someone who would like to teach English *should* get his/her grammar right. At least in public.

    • I would hope so! The thing is, teaching ESL involves teaching grammar explicitly. Certification courses need to place an emphasis on this, but they don’t. It’s unfortunate.

      P.S. Happy Holidays! 🙂

      • And the same to you, dear sir!
        Maybe you can rejoice in the fact that these offenders most probably know right from wrong and are just too lazy to think about it when they don’t have to.

      • Shhhh! I need to get my material somewhere, right? 😉 The only thing that really irks me is the laissez-faire attitude a lot of ESL teachers have. A lot don’t bother to attempt to learn ANY of the meta language, and students deserve more than that.

  3. I think I might love you. Cartoons, grammar, you have the whole package!

  4. Heh, yep that looks about right. Currently I’m in a GradCertTESOL programme at my university, but I’ve spoken to people who have done non-university ‘qualifications’ and I’m amazed that these people are allowed to teach!

  5. I remember playing that parachute game!! I loved that. Check out a post I recently read: The way of achieving certificate status in Thailand is not dissimilar (also read the comments that provide more explanation)!.

  6. Maybe they should have spelled out their grammar lessons with macaroni! You taught in Australia? Did you see a kangaroo? I have a theory that kangaroos were made up to boost tourism. They just look so unlikely!

    • Actually the first kangaroo I ever saw was roadkill. Pretty common occurrence, actually. They are very odd things, and often so comfortable with human interaction that it can get a bit scary…

  7. I would weep. If I weren’t so damned pissed off…


  8. Bwahahahaha. Thanks for the laugh. I know there’s always something better to do than to wrap all these bought-at-the-last-minute presents around me lalalalala.

    If people get “whose” and “who’s,” I’m almost scared to know their level of understanding when it comes to the conditionals (especially the third one)!

    Happy Christmas!

  9. mj monaghan says:

    Awesome, as usual. But who’s counting. 🙂 hehehe

  10. krismerino says:

    Haha! So funny…and so true. I had to do a certification course to teach gifted students where I had to make collages…. Not write papers, but make collages… It still makes me want to cry.

    • Good to know it’s not just the ESL cert courses. I understand companies’ desire to pass everyone — the headaches that I’m sure would come with complaining failed students would be too much of a headache (and bad for marketing?)

  11. Russ Nickel says:

    At least now I’m not so worried about my plan B. I used to be afraid I wouldn’t cut it as an English teacher, but I kick ass at the parachute game.

    • I’ve covered classes for high school ESL teachers whose idea of a worthwhile activity is a word search. Not even a crossword. A word search. Quite honestly, the parachute game would be better for their English.

  12. Merry Xmas and have a great New Year! Looking forward to reading your posts in 2012. keep up the great work 🙂

  13. gealach says:

    My God, that looks exactly like teacher training here in Sweden. I hoped it would be different in the rest of the world. Apparently, I was wrong… 😦

  14. Tosh says:

    I would consider working with you

  15. If I read this right, your company offers online TESL certification? Forgive my skepticism, but how could you possibly determine whether prospective teachers are fit for the classroom? I’m not knocking the process; I am just curious.

  16. foxyhan says:

    I know I sound harsh – but if people are going to teach English, they need to know how to speak it properly first!! An awesome comic once again. Happy New Year from New Zealand (where it should be the middle of summer but instead is pouring with rain). 🙂

  17. Beth says:

    Bless your heart… tackling one pet peeve after another. And with humor, no less!

  18. One of the frats on my campus had shirts made that said “Who’s House?”. So, obviously, the rest of the Greek houses spent the next year yelling “WHO IS HOUSE?” in their general direction. It was awesome. It would have been even better if the TV show House existed at that time.

  19. bmj2k says:

    I’m laughing because it is funny and crying because it is true. I worked with a lot of ESL teachers who would have flunked that process.

  20. Richard Voza- Aren’t your 3 teaching certificates actually revoked by the NJ State Board of Examiners effective Dec 19th 2011?

  21. I thought I read it correctly. Mr Voza’s certificates ARE in fact REVOKED by the State Of NJ.

    Click to access 0910-166.pdf

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