Teaching English is a rewarding profession. You get to meet some really interesting people from all walks of life, while playing a part in helping them get into university or finding a job abroad with their improved level of English. But, it’s also mentally and physically draining, with little financial reward.
Teachers are expected to be knowledgeable, professional and available all year, yet not know how much they’re going to earn the coming month because the amount of hours depends on the number of new students. Fun.
Here are but a few things EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teachers are sick of hearing.
1. ‘It’s A Summer Job, No?’
Yes, and I pick pebbles on the beach the rest of the year.
People want to learn English all year round. Some students even come for the full academic year in order to pass English exams required to enter foreign universities.
2. ‘Uwijja, Mhux You Just Play Games?’
Yes, professionals pay thousands to play OXO and Spin the Bottle.
3. ‘Illa What A Good Hourly Rate You Have!’
Yes, per hour, EFL teaching pays more than most office jobs. What people don’t realise, however, is that unlike other jobs, EFL teachers only get paid for the hours they are in class. Which means the hours spent before class/breaktime/after class photocopying, preparing, correcting and doing admin work do not count. And that can range between one to three hours a day of unpaid work, depending on the schedule and how much of a shit the teacher gives.
‘Reġa’ weħel daż-ż**b ta copier!’
This damn photocopier has got jammed again! [Present Perfect Simple].
4. ‘How Hard Can It Possibly Be?’
Being an EFL teacher sometimes requires going to work on the drip in your hospital gown, having to teach with no voice, and having your stomach doing acrobats. As much as you want to crawl into a dark hole and pity yourself, you still need to stand up near the board, make grammar interesting and keep that Russian – Oleg, who looks like a serial killer – entertained.
‘Żgur qattiel dak Oleg.’
That Oleg must be a killer [Modal Verb of Speculation.]
5. ‘You Can Take Leave Whenever You Want!’
Apart from peak season, which happens to be 4-5 months of summer, which happens to be the time we actually want to take leave. Oh, and many schools don’t pay leave, so going on a week’s holiday means having to save up from months before and eat packet noodles for a month after.
‘Dak il-public holiday ġej jew, qabel ma ngħolliħ ‘l dak l-os**u Oleg?!’
6. ‘Mhux Students Just Want To Go To Paceville?’
If you’re teaching young learners who were sent by their parents so they could have a break from their shitty teens, then yes. If not, no.
In one class, you often find a range of 18 to 70-year olds, from Italians to Thai to Saudi Arabians. From students to engineers. Try finding an interesting topic all ages/nationalities/personality types can relate to, without offending anyone, at a level they can keep up with.
7. Grammar Mistakes
Being in class most of the day and having to watch every word you say means becoming a grammar Nazi in your personal life, much to the annoyance of everyone around you, including yourself.
Friend: I’m so sorry your leg had to be amputated. If I would have known, I would’ve visited you in hospital.
Teacher: If I HAD known. [Third conditional.]
‘Jekk terġa tgħid Thanks God ħa ndaħħallek snienek’
[The 1st Conditional – Threat]
You’ve been warned [Present Perfect Passive].