Today’s article is written for the Reach To Teach Teach Abroad Blog Carnival, a monthly series that focuses on providing helpful tips and advice to ESL teachers around the globe. I’ll be posting a new ESL related article on my blog on the 5th of every month. Check back for more articles, and if you’d like to contribute to next month’s Blog Carnival, please contact Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he will let you know how you can start participating!
Here are ten perfectly decent reasons to become an English teacher:
1. You’ve always wanted your nickname to be “Teach”.
2. You’re an incorrigible grammar nerd. You have a personal vendetta against dangling modifiers and comma splices. And you want to make sure the next generation knows the difference between there, their, and they’re.
3. At the end of the day, you want to feel the satisfied exhaustion of really doing something, even if that something was refraining from bursting into tears in front of your students.
4. You care more about contributing to the world than about making buckets of money.
5. If you’re teaching little ones, because kids are funny — even if it’s more of a ‘tear your hair out’ or ‘only funny in retrospect’ kind of funny.
6. Exposure therapy for a fear of public speaking.
7. If you’re teaching English abroad, it’s the chance to live abroad, become immersed in another culture, and make yourself useful in the process.
8. You know that the best way to learn a subject, to really understand and gain proficiency in it, is to teach it. To teach is to keep on learning.
9. You’re addicted to that feeling you get when you see the light go on in a student’s face, that moment when a topic clicks for them and they really understand it; it’s like watching Isaac Newton getting bonked on the head.
10. You are good at the following: crowd control, mediation, soliloquies, stand-up comedy, being on your feet all day, spending hours of your free time marking and prepping lessons, tightrope walking between having a fun class and having a disciplined class, singing, dancing, acting, generally making a spectacle of yourself — bonus points if you’ve had actual clown training.
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“The main reason I became a teacher is that I like being the first one to introduce kids to words and music and people and numbers and concepts and idea that they have never heard about or thought about before. I like being the first one to tell them about Long John Silver and negative numbers and Beethoven and alliteration and “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” and similes and right angles and Ebenezer Scrooge. . . Just think about what you know today. You read. You write. You work with numbers. You solve problems. We take all these things for granted. But of course you haven’t always read. You haven’t always known how to write. You weren’t born knowing how to subtract 199 from 600. Someone showed you. There was a moment when you moved from not knowing to knowing, from not understanding to understanding. That’s why I became a teacher.”
― Phillip Done, ’32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny: Life Lessons from Teaching’