You all know the feeling. The feeling of hearing your alarm clock rattle off and barely being able to drag yourself out of bed on your busiest workday of the week. You brush your teeth and continue to think of all the pains that the work day is going to bring. By the time you leave the door, you can't believe that after all that thinking, you have yet to even start the day. But wait! It doesn't have to stay like that. I believe Teaching English to children could put a stop those painful mornings.
When I enter my workplace, I am faced with 10 smiling, laughing, elated children. Children who seem to have absolutely no sense at all of being worn out or disheartened. When I enter that classroom after a rough morning, allmy anger and troubles stopat the doorway. Within minutes, I'm smiling and singing along with my students before I even realize what's happened.
In my experience, this is without question one of the biggest advantages of having a job teaching English to children. In the words of former English First international teacher Landon Monday:
“You can be having the worst day, and be completely finished mentally, but when you get into the classroom, it all stops. For one hour not a thing in the world can get to you. You get so wrapped up in a silly, fast-paced world, controlling the class like a conductor, and at the same time putting on a show for them like an actor, as well as making sure they're all learning. Between all this, all your ‘real-world' issues just can't get to you.”
Everybody knows that the world's largest source of creativity lies in the minds of our children. But how often do we really become immersed in this creativity? As teachers and as adults, this is where we learn to just go with their flow. Take a lesson from Beijing English First Teacher Susan Liyang
“I had a game planned where they would start at one wall, race to the other, hit the flashcard on the wall and say a new word they were learning. It was going well, but then one student decided to be naughty and roll on the floor, saying “I'm a slug” which had the class in laughing crazy loud. I decided at that moment that I would bring in some play mats, and would just have them roll instead of run. I still play that game to this day, it's one of their favorites. We call it ‘imaslug'”
Many new teachers I knowpanic when the class turns into chaos. Their first reaction is to punish some of the students for being naughty. Yet, over time, youlearn to let go of this fear and panicand come to realize laughter can only ever be a good thing. Once you do this, creativity will start pouring out of the students, andinto you. And in the words of Jim Henson “The most sophisticated people I know - inside they are all children”.
It's notallfun and games in the classroom, otherwise, it wouldn't be called a classroom. The greatest thing we give to our students is knowledge, and what we get in return is priceless. As a language teacher, it's hard not to get emotional when you hear your student say their first full sentence in fluent English. It's even more special when you know thatit has been taught by you. Many students that come into our classrooms cannot even say “hello”. The feeling inside when you see that student goon to make a speech in English is the single largest advantage of the profession.
So there we have it, a few examples of the hundreds of benefits to teaching English to children. Not all of us have the opportunity to make one giant difference in the world. But the opportunity to change hundreds of lives and change yourself for the better in the process? That is something we all can doif only we're brave enough to reach out and grasp the opportunity.
If you still don't believe teaching English to children is the best job in the world, then why not find out for yourself. Trust me, you won't look back.