Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Why I Love Teaching

by AJ/Skald

I make most of my income as a freelance teacher. And while I have had some dreadful wage slave experiences as a teacher (in Korea particularly)-- most of my experiences have been fantastic. I hate jobs, but I love teaching English as a Foreign Language!

The truth is, its not the teaching I love- but the learning. Teaching English puts me in touch with the most delightful and interesting people I have ever met. I learn about their cultures. They teach me about their food and their languages. They take me in and befriend me.

My best experience thus far was teaching Latino immigrants in Gainesville, Georgia, USA. What wonderful people. Lanier Tech was paying me good money, but it never felt like "work" at all. I was having a great time.... acting like a fool in front of the class, conversing with my students, learning about their lives. Prior to that job, I'd always focused my interest on Asia. But they brought me food and invited me into their homes and tried (valiantly) to teach me to dance. They invited me to their church. They shared their lives with me. My paltry contribution was to teach them a little bit of English. Yet they loved me for it.

This wasn't a "job" at all... though I did get paid. It was a wonderful shared experience-- a meeting of people and cultures. I'll never forget that experience.

Nor will I ever fail to fight for those folks. Those wonderful people were the same ones that redneck Georgians insulted as "illegal aliens", "wetbacks", and worse. They denied them the right to have drivers licenses. They got rich by paying them crappy wages; then attacked them for "destroying" Georgia culture.

All I can say is that my students had more heart, more compassion, and more grace than every goddam white, right-wing, uptight businessman I've ever met: combined.

I love teaching English because it has opened the world to me... and introduced me to lives far removed from provincial America. I love teaching because it has made me a life long student and a life long traveller.

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