TEACHERS' TALES

WHY DID YOU BECOME A TEACHER? WAS IS SOMETHING YOU CHOSE RANDOMLY? WAS IT VOCATIONAL? ARE YOU STILL HAPPY WITH YOUR CHOICE? EVER WISHED YOU HAD CHOSEN ANOTHER CAREER?

Natalie, recent TEFL graduate, USA:

"My TEFL course was fun and learnt a great deal. At least that's what I thought on my graduation day. One day my teaching aspirations brought me to Shenzhen, in China only to realize that 80% of what I'd learnt about teaching was useless. How do you deal with Third Grade kids who tell you that they can't do homework because they must help their parents in the family business...? What do you do with illiterate parents who want their child to succeed in life and believe the only way to make it is by quitting school...? There's no recipe for teaching. At least not where I chose to teach..." 

Nikos, private school teacher, Illinois, USA:

"I've taught for more than 14 years mainly in private and semi-state schools. Kids enjoy high tech equipment, smart boards, multi-task rooms, wifi connexion, e-learning work stations and lots more. Does all that fancy stuff make me a successful teacher? Do all my kids do well in their tests? Are my classroom management strategies a work of art? Of course not! Tech luxuries do not ensure fast nor effective learning. And if you ask me, sometimes they ensure no learning at all. It's not what tools you have, it's how you use them..."

Sherilyn, veteran teacher, South Korea:

"Our school is a small state school in the far end of a relatively poor neighborhood. I've taught here all my life. I'm 51 now and the truth is there have been plenty of times in my teaching career that I seriously thought of quitting. I suffer from back pains, in fact I always have. I teach 9 year olds and they take up all my energy. I have a couple of problematic kids, three special needs students, many attention seekers and some really high flyers. Yep... all of them in the same classroom... I work really hard to differentiate... Does it work? Not always... I just keep trying new things..."

Belén and Graham, student tutors, Austria:

"There are a lot of discrepancies with parents. Being a student tutor is not easy. You get caught in between school policy and student welfare; and sometimes you have to chose one over the other. We remember a certain mum who demanded her daughter was treated differently owing to the family's high class status. We treat all students as equals which is what we tried to explain... Three months later, the girl was transferred to another school. We heard that in the same school year, there have been two more attempts on behalf of the mother, to change schools again..."

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