The Joys of ESL Teaching
Teaching may just be one of, if not THE MOST, rewarding jobs out there. I have been teaching English to Koreans here in the Philippines for quite some time now and I have been rewarded in so many ways.
1. Children are eager to learn something new
It's usually the kids who are just so thirsty for more knowledge. Their brains are still like sponges and they absorb almost everything you tell them. I've had students who would talk endlessly even if their English skills are still zero to none. Children love to use what you've taught them and that's the most rewarding thing to hear.
2. You will hear nonsense that makes sense
Sometimes, kids say the darnest things. I've had a 12-year-old student before who was studying vocabulary with me. I asked him to write a sentence using the new words he has learned on a piece of paper. I didn't know I was in for a surprise. One of the words he has learned was "hangar". This was his sentence: "My mother hangar my t-shirt". Hmm! That put a smile on both our faces. Well, the words 'hanger' and 'hangar' DO sound similar, so I can see why he made a cute, innocent mistake.
3. Children make you smile
Once my students start to be able to compose long English sentences on their own, they tend to write me letters or even poems about our class or about me. It's a wonderful feeling when you read sentences like "You are the best teacher I've ever had".
4. Children have the tendency to bring out the child in you
One of my ESL activities is to let the kids draw something on a piece of paper and either write/tell a story about it or describe it in a paragraph. Sometimes, especially with younger kids, you have to bring out the childish imagination in you to be able to understand their drawings and their stories. I once had a student who drew what he called a "HydroDinosaur"--a dinosaur completely made out of water that lives on land. Where else can you encounter imaginations like that? ^_^
5. It's great to hear them talk non-stop with their friends... in English
I encourage my students to talk amongst themselves in English. At first, you will hear a mixture of their native language and maybe about 1% English in their conversations. After a few months, however, I start hearing my teenage girls gossip.. in straight ENGLISH. Hey, gossip is still practice conversation. ^_^