Last week, I went to my very first TESOL colloquium in Paris. I have never been to a convention like this before and I was deeply excited, especially to go to workshop and to meet new people.
I met new people, I went to workshop, I enjoyed the convention but I had mixed feelings at the end of the first day (it went better the next day, actually)and it makes me wonder about the reasons I became a teacher.
According to my mother, I started to lecture my dolls when I wasn’t even two. We were living in a high school, so I guess I was just miming, but anyway, I started to tutor people in English when I was seventeen, mostly because I needed money (what a bummer: a teenager who needs money to buy useless Hello Kitty stuff!) but also because I already loved the language. I am now a full time English trainer for about five months.
I didn’t become a teacher to prove something, to gloat or to feel superior to anybody else. I decided to teach English because I genuinely love the language, love to teach, and it means something for me. Being non native is a strength, considering that I had to learn the grammar, and all the fine details of the language. And haters gonna hate, I have a SAE accent, so don’t play the “you don’t know how to pronounce” card with me. Refusing to hire someone because they don’t have a proper name, a proper passport, is something I cannot tolerate. That’s not education, that’s discrimination.
I became a language teacher because I am a language learner. You cannot be one if you are not the other. I didn’t become a teacher because I wanted an editor rep to explain why we should all use his books. I am adult enough to have a critical mind, or I wouldn’t be a teacher. I became a language teacher because of students, who needs a guide to discover another field. Like Marie Hélène Fasquel, I became a teacher because I am a passionate.
I was lucky enough to meet great people last week end, but I had to take a step back after the first day. We cannot be perfect teachers, and we cannot please everybody. What we can do, though, is to admit how we function and how we feel towards our own jobs.