I’ve begun to hate the English language. Day in day out, I’m explaining the different rules and ways of speaking English over and over with very little effect. It is especially painful because my end goal was always to learn Spanish. Now, I spend all my time teaching English to people of all ages, planning lessons in English or else in the little free time I have, speaking English. Unsurprisingly I am too tired and ashamed of my terrible pronunciation (and order) to even give it a go when I’m asking for my Soya Chai Latte with a shot of espresso (It’s acceptable in winter ok?).
In reality, I am usually bluffing every time I answer one of the many reasonable yet complex questions of one of my students. Because, from what I can see, the English language has many, many rules for no good reason. And just when you think you’ve discovered a pattern to base it off, there is one big fat exception to the rule. Or worse, your student points out that exception and you are left stammering like an idiot to try and make it seem like you might know what you’re talking about and they are not paying a silly amount of money (which I only get a percentage of) to a company that gives its teachers complete free will over how they teach.
I come home every evening mentally drained from trying to explain why why means why because the word why is the only way to explain what why means. I seem to have an amazing talent of describing what a word means by using an even more difficult word. On top of explaining and learning rules in a way that makes sense to me, I then have to explain it to someone who I barely know in a way that makes sense to them without them being able to explain how they learn best.
And I know you’re thinking that as a teacher this is literally what I’m paid to do. And you’re right, this is what I am paid to do but it is so exhausting. I used to think being run off my feet in charge of the standard of service for 25+ tables for 10 hours was exhausting, but this is like a 60 hour week of work during floor service, on my brain.
Before, I would finish off the shift with a few well deserved pints. Now, after a shower and dinner I am nearly asleep by 10. I feel like instead of the coffee kicking in at 6pm before a busy night shift, I now turn into a zombie by 7pm.
There is that 5 minutes in every lesson where the lightbulb goes off and I feel like they are getting it and I am doing a pretty good job and getting the hang of this teaching thing. And then the next day its gone again and I feel like I’ve imagined it.
Every day I feel like I am battling between the two perspectives. Is there such a thing as a bad student or is the teacher always to blame? Am I a complete hypocrite considering I can barely string a sentence together in the native language of a country I have been living in for nearly three months?
For once I have the answer to my own question. Instead of ending the post with my pondering thoughts, the answer is a simple ‘yes’. At the end of the day they are doing their best to learn a second language which is more than I can say. I need to buckle up, learn the rules of my language, work on my patience skills and pick up a goddamn Spanish book.
Un café latte con leche de soya por favour?
(yes I googled this to double check)
And to all my fellow teachers out there, I feel like a bad teacher all the time too. (I probably am but lets pretend I just need to feel like I’m not the only one)