Wednesday, February 12, 2014

What Teaching is Like

"It's not what I expected" is the short answer. I haven't had to work this hard in years. When you're a teacher, you're always 'on'. If you're having a bad day, you can't go to work and shut your office door. You have to take a breath, smile, and walk into the room ready to pull English out of your students - even if it's like pulling teeth. Non-native speakers will look at you and say, "It's easy, all you have to do is talk for an hour." To which you'll smile, shake your head and let the bags under your eyes show your disagreement.
In the NALCA program, you work with more than one teacher. Which means you deal with more than one teaching style. Some teachers have the whole year planned out. Some haven't even planned to wear the same socks when you arrive to work. Some are kind and warm, and you'll become good friends outside of work. Others are like drill sergeants whom you secretly loathe.
The students are all different. Some, who you thought were full of promise because they did well in class, will quit halfway through. Some, who you thought would never pass, find an inner motivation to start answering your questions and do extra exercises at home. If they're adults, you'll begin socializing with them during conversation classes, finding out bits of their life story. Some will even be generous enough to invite you to family dinners!
This job is definitely not what I'd imagined in Canada. But the NALCA program has been a wonderful opportunity so far. I hope if you're reading this, you decide to take it on as well!

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