All the Things – Including Teaching ESL to Adult Learners

I would love to write more about my writing, but if I’m not writing at the moment (or daydreaming about a story while taking a walk), chances are, I’m not thinking too deeply about it. This may or may not be a problem, but it’s my reality. I keep my brain very busy, out of preference (it doesn’t like being bored) and necessity – I have a job that requires a lot of thinking.

As a teacher, I’m hesitant to talk about my work online (What if my students read my blog? Why am I writing about this when I’m “supposed” to be writing about writing??).

The first isn’t really a problem – my students are all adults, and I would never write about any of them specifically. As for the second, well, that’s a limitation I imposed on myself. Maybe it’s silly. A writer is many things, and not only because we need to pay for food and shoes and sometimes puppy-related items. Sheesh, if all I did was write, I would have nothing to write about! I need to do things not-directly related to writing in order to give my brain space to work with the jumble of thoughts that somehow congeal into coherent stories; but I can’t do things that take up too much “brain space” or no writing will happen. Teaching, I think, will give me space/time to FINISHADANGNOVEL, but it is a challenging profession, especially when you’re new at it .

ANYWAY, did I mention I teach ESL? It’s AWESOME. Every day I teach, I interact with people from various countries, such as China, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, India, Argentina, Taiwan, Chile, South Korea and Turkey (and this is not a complete list of all the countries-of-origin of the students I’ve taught since I began teaching ESL – wow, that was an awkwardly-worded sentence… but you know what I mean, right?).

Like I said, this is AWESOME. I get to interact with people who are basically on international linguistic adventures and help them along their ways. If this were a game, and they were player characters, I’d be like an NPC that helps them level up (yeah, don’t think of this as “homework” – it’s a QUEST). The only differences are I’m sentient and I go home at the end of the day (to try to write – or actually to write).

Now, if we view this from the “World of Audrey” perspective, in which I’m a player character on a mission – well, missions – I am leveling up so much right now in various categories (work-personal life balance, lesson planning, cooking, etc), some of which are, honestly, a little overdue (I used the oven yesterday to bake a piece of tilapia and was pleasantly surprised when it came out REALLY GOOD).

The best part is that I now have a field. No longer am I the little English major who only picked English because she likes to write but has no idea what she wants to do professionally, other than write, which, you know, is hard to make money at usually, or maybe go into publishing, which is hard if you don’t know anyone in publishing, according to the one person I ever met who works in publishing. Indeed not. I teach English as a second language to adult learners at a university.

Sorry (not sorry) for bragblogging, but isn’t that one of the coolest things ever? It may not rank with world peace, but I think it’s somewhere around playing tree rings like records and little chocolate shavings that melt on your tongue. I have a career now, like an actual adult – not that you NEED a career to be a real adult, but it’s one of many helpful indicators – and it feels so much better to say “I’m an ESL teacher” than “I work in customer service, taking calls to an 800 number, at a job so far from home I have no time or energy for hobbies.” Dang, 2007 – I do not miss you. Honestly, I don’t really remember much of you… I was tired.

Also, it makes my educational debt feel worth it, which, in this modern world of “everyone has to go to college whether or not it’s really useful for them, given their individual talents and inclinations, and here’s a bunch of loan money, and oh, what a coincidence that college tuition is rising so much,” feels like an accomplishment itself. (Can a feeling be an accomplishment? Hmm, sometimes. I think, so, anyway.) At any rate, it makes me feel okay about not having a talent for or inclination toward plumbing, or something similarly useful, practical and in-demand – because I’m useful. And, as there is a demand for work in this field, it’s also practical. Dang. A creative day-dreamer has a useful, in-demand job, that she acquired partly thanks to her practical, if expensive and still not-yet-paid-for, master’s degree.


Next step, full-time employment! <(;o_o;)>

What can I say? Life is one big, webby quest chain.

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