Being an English Teacher Means …

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  • Finding yourself speaking slowly even when you don’t need to. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve done this to poor Mario, who speaks impeccable English.
  • Pronouncing certain words differently without realizing it. I am almost 100% sure I now pronounce certain words differently. Why can’t I stop this?!
  • Constantly analyzing why we say things the way we do. Is it “at” or “in” or could it really be both? The skateboarding competition will be held at the park. The skateboarding competition will be held in the park. They both sound okay, but “at” sounds slightly better. What do you think?
  • Getting sick frequently. Yep, I’m under the weather again, this time with a lovely cough and mucosidad.
  • Talking a lot. Prepare yourself for those early mornings when you don’t want to say a single word, but have to take for an hour straight.
  • Getting frustrated when the students still don’t add the “s” onto the end of third-person singular verbs, like when they say, “She speak” instead of “She speaks.” Come on, Spanish verb conjugation is infinitely harder and I still do it right most of the time! You only have to do one “conjugation.” You shouldn’t forget it every single time!
  • Having to be constantly creative. There is usually a fun way to teach a subject, but it isn’t always fun to plan that fun activity. Capiche?
  • Loving it when the students (in my case, sixth graders) try. I can’t tell you how much it warms my heart to see them struggling to explain things to me, just because they could so easily slip back into Spanish, but they don’t. I love that they want to learn!

So, what about you, fellow English teachers? What does being an English teacher mean for you?

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13 comments

  1. Hello from the other side of the Pyrenees!

    I’ve recently discovered your super blog…and have been enjoying discovering Spain (and Spanish!) through it!

    This post just made me laugh a lot – it is very true!!
    For me, being an English Language Teacher is all of the above…and also…

    – trying to get my (mainly French) learners not leave off their /h/ sounds i.e. “I hate” and not “I ‘ate”…or add them in when they shouldn’t i.e. “happle” instead of “apple”…

    – that awkward moment trying to stiffle a giggle when a learner (often a beginner) has made a very funny mistake…my most recent favourite was a surfing-mad student who told me they enjoyed going “smurfing” !

    Fran

    1. Thanks for the sweet comment! I never thought about that /h/ struggle, but it makes sense. Spanish speakers tend to say “Espain” and “Estates” when they mean “Spain” and “states,” so they have their own unique set of struggles too!

  2. Now that I’ve done it for five years, teaching for me is pretty much an extension of what I love – being paid to talk, delving into the language (thank goodness for FCE and CAE prep classes) and great vacation time! I’ve been asked to be the Head of Studies of my academy next year, so it seems that teaching really is my thing. Going to fight like hell to make blogging my thing, too!

  3. “Constantly analyzing why we say things the way we do. Is it “at” or “in” or could it really be both? The skateboarding competition will be held at the park. The skateboarding competition will be held in the park. They both sound okay, but “at” sounds slightly better. What do you think?”

    I find myself doing this constantly, I think anyone who’s learned a foreign language does this. You soon realize how many illogical aspects there are to the English language–how many times have you found yourself, Kaley, saying “Why the hell do we say it that way?!”? Haha.

    Cheers,
    Andrew

    1. Good to know I’m not alone. Like Tiana said, I might drive my husband crazy with my constant questions and analyses of why/how we say things. Good thing he’s just as big a nerd as I am!

  4. It must be funny to catch yourself doing these things. I don’t teach English in Italy, but I do find myself ‘constantly analyzing why we say things the way we do. Is it “at” or “in” .’ Sometimes I think about it too much that it makes me more confused or my husband crazy. lol.

  5. For me it’s a little different than teaching kids I think, because I teach only adults! In some ways it’s easier (for one thing they’re all motivated, unlike kids who have to be there) but there are also different challenges…
    I agree with all your points though, and also:
    -I find myself with no ideas for lesson plans when I’m trying to prepare them, then I randomly get ideas when I’m in the shower/waiting for the metro/etc. You can’t switch it off sometimes!
    -I have to be careful not to automatically correct mistakes when I’m talking to a friend! It becomes such a habit
    Fun post! :)

    1. Haha, yes, I am so bad at automatically correcting. But with Mario, for example, he hardly ever makes mistakes, so it drives me crazy and I love correcting him!

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