5 Favorite Things about Teaching English
1. Language Appreciation
Nothing makes you analyze and deconstruct your language like trying to explain it to someone else. Things I never thought about, like when to use much instead of many, have divulged their underlying structural wisdom to me in a language revelation.
It is incredible how much language constructs worldview. One example is a common mistake my students have. They always use the word ‘people’ as singular, constantly saying ‘people is’ because in Spanish the word for people – gente – is a singular noun. This contradicts my (north) American upbringing of individualism. People – plural – A group of individuals – an exact summary of my independent identity.
2. Free Bird
I’m no man’s worker bee, tied to my desk, subjected to a ringing phone, stuck sedentary in a cage, a ball and chain, literally being a desk and a chair. No! Not I! Freely changing locations as I please, walking around the city, moving in fresh air, taking breaks when I want, eating lunch in the comfort of my own home, exploring the city through never boring public transportation, an spending hours indulging in my favorite hobby: people watching.
3. Mis Estudiantes
I can honestly say that I really enjoy my students. The majority are 30+years professionals working for corporate companies in downtown Buenos Aires. And while I get paid almost nothing, I have discovered that my students are an incredible resource of information, about Argentina, working in different industries, and life in general. And a few of them are hilarious.
A tradition for meetings in Argentina is to have a cup of coffee during the meeting. Many of my students extend this formality to English class – which means I never have any trouble getting my caffeine fix. Some coffee connoisseurs say that Buenos Aires coffee leaves much to be desired, but I like it just fine.
5. Spanish Lessons on the Sly
When teaching new English vocabulary to students, they will often translate the word into Spanish to show that they understand. This isn’t always the most efficient way of learning English – but I appreciate it because I learn new Spanish vocabulary!