You know, I really, really, really love my job. But why do I absolutely adore my job while other teachers and colleagues maybe don’t? Is it because I’m an exceptionally enthusiastic person and see teaching as a calling rather than a job? Maybe. But let’s be honest this time. There are other reasons too. Some of them have more to do with outer factors and the situation I find myself in:
- I’m an English teacher and teaching English is fun. It’s gratifying because you mostly chat about stuff you and your students are keen on.
- Point 1 implies that most students like English (or at least don’t hate it). This is the default state and we English teachers just take advantage of it.
- The groups of students I teach are smaller than in other subjects. While a traditional class consists of 30+ students, I teach 14 -19 max. This makes a huge difference: less noise, more one-to-one contact, better classroom management, more opportunities for fun activities as well as less/easier preparation and correction.
- Being proficient in English means that apart from teaching it at school, I can do other things: I can take part in international exchange programs, have classes outside of my regular timetable, translate, interpret, you name it. Not that I do all of these, but I know I can and this gives me an immense sense of freedom.
- I teach at a secondary school (combined with a grammar school). This means that the students who come to our school are mature and/or talented enough to be able to follow me. This makes my work much easier and my classroom management skills rock.
- Related to that is that fact that there’s actually not much work left for me; the students learn English on their own, mainly through watching English movies and listening to English songs; I only watch their progress. If a student is exceptionally talented (read: done a lot of work on their own outside of school) and wins a competition, for example, I’m the one who is given the credit.
- My students’ levels of proficiency range from A2 to B2. So if I make a mistake or don’t know an answer to a tricky question, there’s still a chance I will get away with it. As far as the C1 learners are concerned, if I don’t know an answer, I ask them to help and everybody is happy. Alternatively, we go on Facebook where I ask my PLN. This looks really cool because we take advantage of technology to learn. Aren’t we fabulous?
- The fact that I have many English-speaking friends (mostly online) who I can always ask for help makes me look even more professional (I think).
- I can share stuff about my job in English and thus reach a bigger, international audience. I’d say that the ELT community is probably the biggest online international community of teachers you can think of. I don’t think there are as many connected biology teachers, for example, as there are English teachers. This makes me feel safe and really proud of my job.
- Finally, I can blog about my job and my international audience helps me reflect on it. This form of therapy is one of the things that really keeps my head above water. Also, the fact that I blog in English proves I really know my stuff, right?