Monday, November 21, 2005

Oh yeah, I forgot. I teach English.

Although I guess everyone I know is aware that I'm teaching English, I wonder if people might not misunderstand a few things.

First, I teach in Taiwan, NOT Thailand (Taiwan is the country that the tsunami did not hit). I am sure that there are still a few people that believe I am in Thailand.

The second point is that I really do live the life of a teacher day to day. I teach a mix of children's, high school, and adult English classes six days a week.

I write lesson plans. I mark homework on my own time. I give kids stickers when they do their homework well, and I take A's away from children who don't do their homework at all. I have spent hours considering and discussing how to discipline students. I intentionally embarrass myself in front of high school students to break the tension. I regularly make stupid jokes that only children find funny. I play good cop/bad cop everyday with my students (though in my case it's nice teacher/not nice teacher, and they are both me). I YELL at kids who don't pay attention, and I scare children with threats to report unfinished homework to their parents. One or two children probably really don't like me very much at all (although 99% of the kids really do like me).

I like almost everything about it.

I think it's that I love being with kids that I have stayed teaching this long. Being around children and interacting with them on their level has a way of keeping ones perspective on life fresh. Kids laugh and get excited about things that adults don't even notice. They don't hold back their feelings.

While the grown ups in a foreign culture might seem very different from grown-ups from back home, elementary students are, in my experience, the same everywhere. Enculturation, if that is in fact a word, doesn't seem to start kicking in until junior high.

That being said, I've realized that teaching is not my calling in life. Originally it was a means to an ends. A convenient way get out of Canada after university at a time when I didn't have much money. A way to see the world, and make some cash while doing it. It still remains, to an extent, a means to an ends. Right now I am still working here to save a bit more before I head out into Asia proper early next year.

But, until then, I will teach and teach again. And anyways, living in Taiwan is not so bad, either. ; )

Don't worry though, I will stop someday.


Thomas Dyck said...

I think this is my favorite post yet Aaron. I guess I can relate. Funny thing is, I moved back and well, I am still teaching.

Love ya man.

teach on...

lynnie said...

Hi Aaron,

Found your site on the web as I was looking up possible teaching positions in Asia.

Can you tell me what company you went through?

Caroline (