While some people complain that Valentine’s Day is too commercial and others ban the holiday altogether, I can’t help enjoy the way that English learners embrace the topic of “love”. They enjoy writing poems and sharing favourite love songs and seem genuinely interested in the history of the holiday. For the youngest of English learners, writing out their classmates’ names on a heart-shaped card is rewarding in itself.
In honour of Valentine’s Day this year, I’d like to share a little list to show my gratitude towards a profession that I love.
10 Reasons I Love Teaching English
1. Writing: I love helping humans all over the world discover that writing is enjoyable. Until they learn English, many don’t realize that writing is a great way to learn about one’s self.
“Write like you tie your shoes-don’t think about it, just do it.” Elizabeth Berg
2. Laughter: Through teaching I have realized that laughter is a universal language (most of the time). Though one student didn’t like this joke about the Bra and the Hat.
“Laughter is an instant vacation.” Milton Berle
3. Expression: I love discovering new ways of expressing something that is usually written or said in a universal way by native English speakers. Elizabeth Gilbert describes this so well in her book Committed. She writes about her boyfriend Felipe’s “almost perfect English” and how his unique way with the language makes him irresistibly loveable.
“In a sense, every form of expression is imposed upon one by social factors, one’s own language above all. ” Edward Sapir
4. Motivation: I enjoy motivating language learners and seeing students put their plans into action. In recent years I have realized that motivating a person to practise English can spill over positively into other aspects of their lives as well.
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” Zig Ziglar
5. Freedom: English learners remind me each day how fortunate I am to have been born in Canada where women are educated, and are free to work and even balance a home life while still doing a rewarding career such as teaching English online.
“Our freedom can be measured by the number of things we can walk away from.” Vernon Howard
6. Friendship: My job allows me to meet amazing teachers from all over the world who have the same passion for the English language and the same hopes and dreams for students as I do.
“Teaching is leaving a vestige of one self in the development of another. And surely the student is a bank where you can deposit your most precious treasures.” Eugene P. Bertin
7. Flexibility: I love that my job has never been a 9-5 position that follows a set routine, but instead has allowed me to branch off into various specialities from curriculum planning to initiating a school newspaper to teaching English while kayaking to writing textbooks and online materials and creating a community for disconnected learners.
“Be clear about your goal but be flexible about the process of achieving it.” Brian Tracy
8. Appreciation: I love that English learners are so appreciative. They thank you a million times over even when you are explaining a simple error such as the fact that they are using the word appreciate as a noun instead of a verb.
“The way to develop the best that is in a man is by appreciation and encouragement.” Charles Schwab
9. Authenticity: Teaching English has allowed me to bring real life to my job and vice versa. Students adore a true life story from a teacher and my own family enjoys tales about my students. Thinking of new ideas for teaching the language often feels a lot like playing. It is during moments like those that you feel you have chosen the right path.
“The closer you come to your core, the greater is your joy.” Torkom Saraydarin
10. Inspiration: Teaching allows me to lead a richer life beyond ELT. As a fiction writer, blogger, and mother who hopes to raise globally conscious children, my work life often inspires my material. This week I participated in discussions with Egyptians who just made history. Now that was inspiring. I love that I was able to be a part of it.
“Live one day at a time and make it a masterpiece.” Dale West