When I started teaching, I knew it was going to be challenging. After all, I’d be shaping young minds and helping them tap into their potential, and I knew that the way I went about it would make a difference in whether they’d learn anything or not. I wanted to do a good job and be the best teacher I could possibly be, but it wasn’t until I actually started my first class that I realized just how life-changing this experience was going to be. Right now, I’m very glad I took the plunge and started teaching English as a second language.
I love children, and working with them every day has always been a dream come true. It’s lovely to see a young mind opening up to knowledge, and I’m glad I have the opportunity to help them with that. Most of the kids I teach are really sweet, and even the mischievous ones bring me a lot of joy simply because they’re so clever. There’s something so sweet about becoming their confidante, about watching them come in every day, eager to tell me about their favorite cartoon and to ask me how my own day went. Oftentimes, we become attached to one another, so giving them language lessons is a very personal experience—I want to see them succeed, and I want them to do well in class.
I’m also glad that my own language and teaching skills have thrived. London-born, spent most of my youth in Hong Kong, and now I’m a teacher in the US—I know, I’m a strange blend. I was constantly moving around when I was young, and getting the opportunity to travel actually helped me not only sate my wanderlust but improve my own teaching and linguistic prowess. The Monkey Tree TESL course I took while in Hong Kong proved to be extremely useful because it polished my skills and helped me get a job with ease, so now I have a lot more confidence in my abilities.
I enjoyed training, and enjoy the fact that I got the chance to challenge myself and become better at this means the world to me. Especially because teaching is so difficult. I often work long hours and I have to be constantly smiling, so if I’m having a bad day it can be emotionally draining to come to class and pretend I’m in a great mood. It’s also a challenge to always have enough presence of mind to make the right decision, to be patient, and to figure out which child just needs a little extra attention, and who is intentionally being disruptive. It’s not easy, it’s not perfect, but it’s very rewarding. Let’s face it—a loving smile from a kid is more than enough to brighten even the darkest of days, and there’s a great sense of fulfillment after I come back home from a long shift.
Another thing that makes me happy is that I’ve become a lot more independent. Moving often was hard, but in the end, it made me who I am today. It was a little lonely in the beginning, but I quickly adjusted, made friends, and most of all, learned how to enjoy my own company. I became self-sufficient and capable, and now I know that I can overcome any challenge as long as I set my mind to it. This also gave me a good supply of positive energy, something I find pretty essential for a teacher. Going abroad simply pushes you out of your comfort zone, and I can recommend it to anyone who wants to learn how to be brave.
My colleagues are also amazing. Being surrounded by other teachers who also love their job really helped me thrive in this environment, and I know that they all have my back. We help each other manage time and find interesting material for classes, and everyone is very friendly and eager to step in whenever someone’s in trouble. They’ve always made me feel welcome, so I’ve grown close to many of them and often see them even outside of class.
Simply put, I am happy with my own life, and I’ve finally found my purpose.