A few days ago, I attended a charity event in France. I talked with the people around me while waiting for it to begin, and some guy overheard that I had worked for years in real estate (you may remember that I studied management before switching to teaching). He came to talk to me later on, and asked me if I needed a job. I said, quite surprised, “no, thank you, I already have one. I am an English teacher.”
His answer baffled me: “I mean, don’t you want a real job?”
I have realized that we we live in a world in which selling fit tea and watches on Instagram is a real job, but teaching a language is not.
The day right after, I saw on Instagram a poll which was asking why people were teaching ELT. The suggestions were: to travel, to save money, to improve the CV and others. I guess I don’t know how to get rich out of teaching, because last time I checked, teaching was not the best way to become a millionaire.
The truth is: we are suffering from a bad reputation. Backpack teachers are the worst publicity we could ever dream of. Let’s be honest, it’s easy to become an English teacher, you just have to do an online certification and BAM! Becoming a real, good English teacher is another deal. It takes a long time, and it costs a lot as well (even if you do it online). Schools, sometimes, don’t even care, and just hire someone because the passport is appropriate.
Being a teacher used to mean something, but now that money is more important than everything (included our own planet), education doesn’t matter. Someone asked me if I am also teaching Italian, since I am petitioning to obtain the dual citizenship. Why would I teach Italian? My level is B1! The fact that my family comes from Italy doesn’t make me an expert.
There is something I want to say to the man who told me that teaching wasn’t a real job. Don’t feel sorry for me, mister. You may think your situation is better than mine, because you make more money than I do. But at the end of the day, I am richer than you.