Helene Combe

Through my journey as an English teacher and a language learner

About hope

As you must certainly (or not) know by now, I had my very first teaching job this summer at BEET Language School in Bournemouth, one of the best in England. I got hired right after my CELTA and felt so anxious before my induction I could barely sleep.

Will I be able to plan interesting lessons?Will they behave correctly? What if I don’t understand my students? What if they decide I am too young to teach so they decide not to listen?

Will they figure it out that I am a non native and decide to hate me?

Since I am still alive to write down this words, you may suppose that everything went well. I decided, at first, to keep quiet my citizenship, mostly because my name and surname sound actually British and then, because I just decided it didn’t matter, I spilled the bean. It really didn’t matter at all. I tried my best to plan interesting lessons, tried to involve students and I enjoyed myself.

I loved every seconds of it and I literally cried on my last Friday (especially because I had to go back home, in France so I had to turn down an extra week teaching there..).

At the end of my lessons, on that last Friday, I asked them what part of our lesson did they prefer. One of them, an Arabic student, was normally chatty but this time, he just looked at me and said: “You gave me hope.”

“Hope?” (that’s my line. Sorry, I couldn’t think of a better one. Remember, last Friday.)

“You proved us that it was possible to master two languages.”

I remained speechless.

Isn’t that the precise reason we become teachers? To give hope to our students, motivation, a goal to achieve? (Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that I should apply for the Global Teacher Prize award right about now, I am not reinventing the wheel.) What I am thinking right now is that, as teachers, it’s a part of our job to set up examples.

I hope that I will become one for my students.



1 Comment

  1. There are numerous advantages to hiring non-natives as well as natives, and it’s always good to hear of a school doing so.

    In an inpromptu lesson on native speakerism (every student had responded that the most importent aspect of a good English class was having a native English teacher) I asked the students if they believed they would never achieve the competence of myself or any other native speaker. They didn’t believe it. Some felt they could speak better English than some of the natives they’d recently met (although we were in Ireland).

    What people don’t seem to realise is, when you put up a sign saying “natives only”, you’re not saying “we hire only the best”, you’re saying “we will never be able to get you to realise your potential”.

    The most baffling thing is how any school, that admits failure before students even arrive to learn anything, can expect to be taken seriously. And they shouldn’t.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


© 2021 Helene Combe

Powered by Jonas ChopinUp ↑

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This