English Australia Journal : English Australia Journal 27.1
EA Journal Volume 27 No 1 28 realms of education, I thought there’s a lot of things which are awfully wrong with... the English education system, and that’s why I’ve remained overseas for as long as I have. (Ed) Ed’s comments show how, as a product of a particular education system, his values were shaken by contact with other cultures. A kind of ‘reverse culture shock’ was experienced. Deborah gives an example of disorientation on returning from Africa, back to the consumerist Western world and its more rapidly-changing fashions: I remember getting off the plane and being driven through the streets of London and thinking I don’t fit in here. I felt really... it took me a few months to even feel I was back home, and weird things had happened like the miniskirt had come in... and I just felt like something out of the bush. (Deborah) Ian gives a final example of an experience of cultural redefinition on returning home after ten years in Korea. In his case long immersion in another culture has actually resulted in disruption to his linguistic-cultural behaviour: I was waiting for a bus when I went back to Sydney in ’89... I saw a gentleman standing there, in his early 60s, and I went up to him and suddenly realised, how do I address this guy? Here I was in my own culture saying ‘what do I say?’ ‘hey’, or ‘excuse me’, or ‘g’day’, I thought this is crazy, this is my own culture, what am I doing? (Ian) Disruptions to earlier forms of behaviour are seen by most teachers here as positive, if unsettling. They no longer belong completely to one culture or the other. They have entered a third culture, which transcends geographical boundaries, but the trade- off is a sense of loss of grounding, the play of disjunctures within the ethnoscapes (Appadurai, 1990). Discussion These ‘moments of disruption’ discussed here are challenges that have modified the worldviews and attitudes towards profession and home culture of a group of TESOL teachers working in diverse cultural contexts. The narratives explored in this paper reveal a number of trends; in general, the teachers corroborate Mullock’s (2009) claim that stress and dissatisfaction experienced overseas is more often due to experiences outside teaching. Their physically and mentally disruptive moments have generally resulted in positive re-evaluations of the nature of teaching in a globalised context. The teachers attest to lack of power in their professional contexts, but also report feelings of exhilaration, and the gaining of personal and professional development through such moments.
English Australia Journal 27.2