Much has been written about a teacher’s life. Perhaps, this article may appear trashy or crappy to many but just the same, I still insist on sharing my latest realizations about the many downs and some “few” yet fulfilling ups of being English as a Foreign Language -Teacher.
After teaching English to students who already are eloquent speakers of the language for quite a time already made me think that, I am more than capable of moving to a new teaching environment. Based on those bits of information I have collected from some generous friends who have been here ahead of me, I was confident I could hurdle the job with no sweat at all. “A piece of cake” so as I thought.
However, the real turning point was my first day of work as a teacher. Not just a teacher, but an English teacher, but oh, not just an English Teacher but an English as a Foreign Language – Teacher. Truly, reality bites and it did bit me leaving excruciating pain almost unbearable. Back home, I refused to move to a public school mainly because of the number of students in the classroom reaching to more than 50 to 60 heads. I have always thought that it would be a very tough job managing a very large classroom which until now I still hold on to. In my previous school, I had the luxury to have only a maximum of 25 students in an air conditioned classroom. I remember, getting upset about having two or three students misbehaving and not paying attention to my discussion. My first day of work, confirmed my long time belief about the number of students in class but it made me appreciate more than anything else, my previous students back home. It made me love them all the more.
Imagine this: You are greeted with more or less 50 students in a jam packed classroom. When you opened your mouth to greet them, they too opened their mouth in awe as if they were bounded by a spell. Then, you began to talk some more and they began to talk too – but not to you but to their seatmates that created a holocaust ambiance. Then, some boys began to run around hitting each other and the girls started to yell at them. You shouted to no avail. After sometime, they settle down, then, you asked them, “How are you? But all of them turned so quiet and looked at you as if you have said something wrong.
Then, it dawned on me that this job is a pretty tough one. This is much more challenging than teaching Sibika at Kultura to English speaking Grade 1 pupils, so much more demanding than directing a three – hour variety show.
But looking at the brighter side of it, being a Foreign Language teacher made me appreciate every little thing that came my way. For one, it made me more patient, more loving, more appreciative, more creative, more congenial, and more innovative. What a joy to the heart when you see your students try to mimic the way you utter the word which is totally foreign to them. How my heart melted when I see students try to sing a simple action song you taught them the week that had passed. Then, there is the mutual learning. As you teach them the English language, you also learn from your students, the Thai language. You see, some foreigners come here for some missionary works and they have to enroll themselves in Thai Language lessons but for me, I am learning it for free. But of course, that is aside from the less number of hours of working and more time for facebooking…and the most awaited envelope I receive every end of the month.
Anyhow, teaching will always be a challenging job. It is more than just a profession, it is devotion. Wherever we may be, if you are a TEACHER, then a TEACHER you will always be.