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.


Losing a computer is never easy, but it’s particularly difficult in the first semester of grad school.

Goodbye, Alyssa. I’ll miss you, especially your nice dedicated volume buttons. *sniffles*

And now, hello, Miko! She’s so cute and sleek! Cannot wait to play WoW on her… after I find time to install it…

The best part about having my own computer is I can write things and SAVE THEM ON MY HARD DRIVE. Mmm. Warm fuzzies.

I DID write a few paragraphs on my friend’s Mac in some RTF thingamajig, but the feeling of emailing it to myself and tagging it for future saving and backing up just didn’t cut it. This is not to imply that I heart the new Word (You are trying too hard to be pretty – stop being jealous of Mac things!); What is with those menus, srsly. But despite my gripes, it’s at least familiar, and easier than actually using a writing implement to like, DRAW little phonetic symbols, ha ha (I know, Scott Westerfeld, that was a terrible thing to say).

By the way, did you know the English language has 45 phonemes, but only 26 letters?? Speaking of which, I think I have a paper to write… ON MIKO! WOOT!

Life sounds more interesting in rhyme

exhibit A:

On my way home I stopped and picked up some Chinese food.

exhibit B:

Driving down Easton Ave
Listening to Weird Al’s “Eat It”
Rolling down Easton Ave
Weird Al says to eat it
Tummy’s grumbling, better feed it
No time to find an egg or beat it
Easton Ave – it will provide me
Food and I will eat it

Scent of pizza’s in the air
But Tummy wants Chinese
Falafel and Jamaican fare
But Tummy wants Chinese
Sisi don’t like your Cantonese
But I’ve only got my Tum to please
Don’t care about your dialect
My tummy wants Chinese

Following my Tummy’s lead
Going to Noodle Gourmet
Jaywalking in kitten heels
To get to Noodle Gourmet
Don’t have any cash to pay
But the ATMs one store away
Credit card minimum monster strikes
Tonight at Noodle Gourmet

Picking up the menu
What do I wanna chew?
Folding up the menu
Know what I wanna chew
Cookie says try something new
But Taste Buds say the hell with you
California Noodles crunch
They’re what I wanna chew

My life is so boring but I am full. SO FULL.

Aaaaaaaaah, it’s a snaaaaaaaaake!

I did go play* outside** the other day [*play = sanding baseboard heater pieces; **outside = in the garage with the doors up].

While happily sanding (before the electric sander went kaput), my mum tapped the work table to get my attention.

“I found a snake,” she said. In the pile of cardboard and wood scraps next to the house that we let sit there (it was kind of hard to remove from under two feet of snow… and then it was wet… and then we were busy…), a little gray striped snake had made a home/found a mouse hunting ground. It was only about a foot long, but as I stared at it, and it stared back, its head raised, tongue flicking, I realized it did not think it was too small to feel indignant at having been disturbed.

I thought I was brave enough to pick it up with a pair of long tongs, but the tongs weren’t as long as I remembered. The hoe was longer, but not angled conveniently for snake-scooping. I managed to chase the snake out of the pile; it undulated itself against the foundation toward the gate – until it noticed the giant, fanged, clawed barking creature on the other side and folded back over itself toward the cover of the scrap pile. I chased it around a bit more, trying to get it to go out to the woods (it wasn’t poisonous, so I figured there was no reason to kill it), until Mom got fed up with my lack of snake-catching abilities and had me hand over the hoe.

“Don’t kill it!” I whined.

“Why not?” she asked.

I turned away.

But then, a group of six or seven high school boys walked by. Mom called out to them:

“Do you boys know anything about snakes?”

Only one was an avid Nat Geo watcher, but they all decided they’d better come take a look. One of them picked it up while I hid behind the dog, I mean, while I kept the beast calm.

“You can have it,” I said. One boy laughed,

“She said, ‘You can have it!'” Yes, I did. What were we going to do with it? Mom made our intrepid hero promise not the scare any girls or his mother with it, and then off they went, down the street, with a snake.

I don’t know the end of the story. I can’t ask the snake; they don’t have ears.