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English Teaching Info

Some Perks of Being an ESL Teacher

I think there some really great things about being an ESL teacher that maybe is not available to teachers of other subjects.

For me I have made some of the best friends I have ever had through teaching ESL. It affords me flexibility to teach what I want. Also, you can delve in so many different subjects with your students, discuss almost anything in class and it will be valid because it's English.

In addition when you teach people from other countries you get exposed to different languages, different cultures, different ways of looking at things. It's a great opportunity to see your own country from another culture's point of view. This can be very valuable and can really help expand your view of the world.

I think this helps with being more open-minded and accepting of others. Also, it's good practice in being able to listen to criticism about your country and not take it personally. Consequently, I really think it helps develop one's sense of maturity and self-expression.

Learning to be flexible, spontaneous and creative...

Another thing is it gives you ongoing practice in being able to express yourself in English since you are a in front of a class everyday getting practice in public speaking. Also, you learn how to keep a class' interest up and learn how to be spontaneous.

There is a great amount of creativity I think that comes with being an ESL teacher. You are always looking for ways to teach differently, and do things differently, looking for new material, new articles, new slang, idomatic expressions and all that.

Also teaching English makes you a better English speaker since you will learn things that you never knew about the language. You'll learn how ridiculously English is spelt and revel in the language's bizarre idiosyncratic nature when it comes to spelling and pronunciation. It really is truly amazing.

For a laugh, check out English is Tough Stuff.

Opportunities to increase your patience level...

You will also learn patience especially with dealing with pronunciation. So many times I have wanted to pull my hair out when I am faced with a student who just doesn't get it.

We've had a student at the school who has stayed in level one for over a year. She is not stupid, in fact is very smart but when it comes to English she just doesn't get it. She can barely put a sentence together.

And it frustrates us that she has progressed so slowly and no matter what we do, what we try she just does not seem to advance.

It is times like these that your patience really gets tested because you might start feeling frustrated and want to yell at the student. So another perk is you get opportunities to learn how to control your emotions.

(I see no problem with raising your voice in an instructive manner but yelling at the student is just not Kosher and if you ever do it apologize immediately.)

So there are those people who just seem to advance amazingly rapidly and others who just seem to plod along. Some just have a natural knack for English, others don't.

Meeting great people, making great friends...

Another great perk is being invited to visit one of your student's countries and letting them show you around. This happened to me with my Turkish student Ismail. We started as teacher --student and then very quickly became very close friends, in fact one of the best friends I've ever had.

And he persuaded me to come to Turkey with him and to my surprise would not let me pay for anything. It was truly an amazing experience. Turkey was not on my list of places to see in my life and this friend and this opportunity came from out of the blue.

Had I not been teaching ESL this would not have happened.

So I think the biggest perk is the amazing and sweet people that you meet as an ESL teacher. I am constantly blown away by how sweet and beautiful my students are.

I mean, really, that's why we do this anyway, cuz we love teaching and we love people. There are few things that are better than this.

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