Further Adventures in Teaching English

Posted: February 13, 2023 in Blog
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I’ve realized something about myself that I think I already knew – I love to teach. Something deeply satisfying lies at the heart of helping others, and that is what I strive to do. I’m not just blindly throwing information or methods at someone, I’m trying to help them. Most of my students are learning English in order to open more doors for themselves in their lives. They want to work or study abroad, or they just want to invest in the potential of their future, and it feels so satisfying to help them. I’ve been thanked profusely and told how much I have helped someone or their child. It’s an amazing feeling.

But they are not the only ones learning. I’m learning.

My two youngest students are nine and ten years old, and both are from China. They are brimming with confidence and energy, and they love to tell me the history of China. I have learned from and been inspired by these two young teachers more than I ever did during my time in the education system of the United States. Of course, we don’t spend much time, if any, on the history of China, so I was ripe for learning.

It’s also continually interesting to get different perspectives about world events. Lately, the news in the U.S. has been overflowing with talk about Chinese spy balloons and other “foreign” objects flying high in the atmosphere over Canada and the United States. What are these things? Are the Chinese spying on us? Why would anyone be surprised that the major powers of this world are spying on each other? The Chinese have been told something different, and who would be surprised at that? The interesting thing to me is to talk to these people and see how very similar we all are in the face of the games our leaders play.

There has just been a horrible earthquake in Turkey. I have some students from there. I was, of course, worried about them, and I have been able to talk to them and find out that they are okay. I also get yet another very real perspective on a tragedy that has happened across the world from me. I also get to see the obvious – we’re all people. We’re all here together on earth. We’re not that different.

 The sad reality about all this is the minimal paycheck. I hate to be mercenary, and I am far from greedy, but I do need to make a living. Teaching is not really doing that. I hate to think that I may have to give this up and go back to corporate America, so I can make a decent paycheck. I’d rather teach and help others than while away hours at a desk making some rich person richer. Teachers are in one of the most crucial roles in life, yet they are rarely treated or paid as such. It’s disheartening.

I’m trying to get creative and think of other ways I can use teaching to fill my bank account the way it seems to fill my soul. So far, nothing fruitful has emerged, but I am hopeful. We’ll see what happens.

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