Monday, February 04, 2008

Teacher - Who am I and where am I at?

Most ESL teachers are lecherous booze hounds, some have delusions of grandeur and others and just the epitome of what you would expect a native speaker to be.
I have met my fair share of degenerate asshole teachers and I am blessed to know a very few that are worth their weight in gold. I was lucky when I first started teaching I had a great mentor, albeit on the lovably scruffy side, he helped me a lot in the beginning.
I live in a small town where everyone is related or is married into your family. You get that with a town of about 35,000 people. When I first arrived here I realised a few things the most important is to keep your reputation above board. No lie, students here have told me every move I have made in a day, not from them but friends and friends have told them about seeing me where and when, Spooky.
I have seen the downfall of a few teachers in to severe alcoholism and degenerate behaviour and I did not want to even go anywhere near that. Rep is everything especially to your students, within 5 mins a bout of bad behaviour can lose you the respect and cooperation of your students.
Second most important is to smile and say everything is great and keep to yourself most of everything you think. I have some nice friends here in town and even know some hotties, but when someone asks you -" how do you like Poland?" there is a well rehearsed answer and it is full of positive praise for my adopted home. Personally if you ask me, I will tell you of the many things that completely shit me, but for students and the locals, its all smiles and superlative.
Third, don't be seen in bad places or with bad people - you get tarred with the same brush or shot dead. To the general population I am seen as innocuous and non threatening. But I was in my local last year and swore 2 guys I had a drink with the day before were going to shoot each other there and then. I saw the vodka fuelled anger and the nice shiny pistols in their hands and I ducked out really quickly. Not knowing the entire town’s history and the history of people in it can be detrimental to your health but the irony is - no one will tell you anything.
I am an English teacher, I am much better at it than I was last year, I know my complex grammar and how to teach it... mostly.
Lastly I inspire my students. I was told by a Polish co-teacher the other day when I was subbing for someone else that the students were quite happy that I was teaching them for a few weeks and they were really inspired.
So, to close. My personal life is on the borderline of sucking greatly, I am often frustrated by the system and my lack of workable Polish. I spend too much time alone and don't eat regularly and no I haven’t taken up the stereotypical English Teacher hobby of drinking.
I am hoping this year I will be able to throw myself into my economics degree from an Aussie University and find myself a job in Spain or Italy. 2 great countries to teach in and very difficult to get jobs in because I am not an EU citizen, there is quite the discrimination these days - most employers are just too lazy to sign a contract and a visa sponsorship. Even if you organise the lot and they just have to sign it twice... We will see what I can do! I have 6 months. If all goes badly then its back to Moscow or maybe Kiev
Obi Update Over & Out...


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