So this is what I signed up for. TESOL.
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.
I've always wanted to teach English in a foreign country, (specifically India,) so getting TESOL certified was the natural progression of things.Thankfully, I'm not a complete freshie. I mean, my previous experience teaching English in China proooobably wont save my butt in Spain, but I'm hoping that some skills will carry over.
It was the summer of 2012 when I taught English to the employees of a 5-star hotel in China. The woman who normally taught English had the perfect fool-proof plan to get them to learn...she told me to pretend that I didn't know Chinese, and to just keep speaking English to the staff as if it's the only thing I spoke. If you've ever had people talk about you and assume you don't understand what they're saying, then you know how funny it can be. And it was working! I managed to look as clueless as possible when they would speak Chinese (stifling my chuckles whenever I had the chance.) And all was going according to plan, until....something happened.
The teacher put one employee on the spot, saying how his efforts needed to be improved...and in defense I accidentally blurted out "No, I think he's doing excellent!"...in Chinese......and then the whole room burst into a bunch of gasps and "I knew it" 's. I sunk into my chair in embarrassment. Oops.
Blew. My. Cover.
After that, I continued to teach, but would only translate words to Chinese when necessary. Honestly, I found the most challenging part to be the pronunciation of words, not the grammar. And I have to admit, even though they got the idea, the fact that they couldn't grasp the accent bothered me. I ended up trying so hard to teach them how to mimic and recreate the accents but to no avail. It wasn't until later that I realized how caught up I was, for something that wasn't important. My friends always told me that while learning Spanish, I worry too much about my accent. It took a while before I finally came to terms with the fact that I'll always sound non-native. And I'll have to learn how to apply the same idea when teaching.
I hope that if and when I get a chance to teach in Spain, I'll be able to do a better job.
So....the moral of the story, if you're going to go undercover as a secret agent (okay exaggerating a little,) don't blow your cover! And have fun :)
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