Jul 11 2008, 6:12 pm / Tired
I remember how I felt the first time I taught an English class. I was literally walking on air, it was so exiliarating.
I knew pretty soon that I had found my vocation. When I was asked to write a letter explaining my reasons for wanting to teach before a teaching course, the words fair flew out of the pen - nothing had ever felt so right.
Even in my darkest hours of depression, I could teach and forget everything, it was remarkable and probably what kept me sane at that time.
I teach English to Swiss adults and for the first time since I've started teaching, one of my students said she wasn't motivated. I took it really hard and have been asking myself where I went wrong.
The reality is that this student works a 10-hour day and then comes to me for 2 hours. She's exhausted and not a lot is going to go in at that point.
But when I started to think about all my other students, I felt like none of them had really progressed. I've begun to question my ability and whether it is even possible to teach a foreign language abroad. When people ask me these days which the most effective way is to learn a language I tell them to go to an English-speaking country - nothing works faster or better.
My experience with English schools abroad is not good. The quality of learning is poor but the cost is high. Students learn most effectively when they interact - groups can play games and the learning becomes more fun.
I've been essentially teaching individual students half of my career. It's limiting (very little interaction or possibilities with games) and it's intensive which is exhausting for the teacher.
This is the longest job I've ever had but I'm beginning to dislike going to work and really need a break. I'm hoping a break is all I need...!