I never post much about my personal life on this space. The main reason for that is because I like to keep my private life private, to a certain extent at least. My main reason for that is my profession. In case you didn’t know, I am a teacher and I have been teaching for more than 9 years by now. If there is one part of my life that you see the least of, it is my professional life. However, I think that talking about my experience as a teacher might be helpful to some people, so I figured I should try and write about it.
Teacher’s life: grading, lots and lots of grading…
For me teaching has always been a first choice when it comes to my career. I knew I wanted to be either a teacher or a journalist when I was 14. I tried my hand at both and I stuck with teaching because it came most natural to me. In the past 9 years I’ve taught people between the ages 12 and 65. I started my teaching career as a teacher of Dutch as a Foreign Language (or NT2) when I was still a student myself. I finished my English MA and then did a teaching degree, which means I have another MA in English language teaching. For my teaching degree I took on a job, rather than an internship, at a secondary school teaching English to Dutch students.
The secondary school was my first real teaching experience. The Dutch job was a good starting point, but dealing with teenagers who could care less about what you are trying to teach them definitely is a beast on its own. I worked there 2 years and dealt with anything and everything under the sun. From students disrupting lessons because they are afraid of bees, to hyperventilation during a test because the poor guy was too stressed out and from eager students to the lackluster ones: I’ve seen many situations and have dealt with many different problems, people and student levels. However, after 2 years I just felt that secondary school wasn’t my mojo and so I applied to jobs in higher education.
And that’s where I’ve been ever since. I’ve been teaching English at two different schools for almost 6 years now. I find that young adults, aged 17 and up, are the age group I work with best. It still has its challenges, as any teaching job does, but I also find it the most rewarding. I am still young, so I don’t know what the future will hold for me, but I can see myself working in higher education for a while to come. It doesn’t mean it is my end station by any means and with job security not really being something that is prominent nowadays I foresee many more job changes and different and challenging situations to tackle.
Like I said, I teach English to Dutch students mostly and that is not without its challenges. I have dealt with many different levels of English: from very basic, learning everything from scratch, to higher near-native levels. Luckily my English is of such a level that 9 out of 10 times, my English will be better than my students’ in any case and so I have to do little prep regarding reading up on grammar rules or explaining vocabulary at the levels I have taught the most. I can just focus on the tasks at hand and I like to get creative and make up my own lessons as much as I can. I dislike teaching from a book as I find it too restrictive and leaves little room for creativity and figuring out yourself how you take your students from point A to B.
Another challenge you face on a daily basis when you’re teaching, no matter the subject I believe, are the different ways in which people learn. Even though all the students are roughly of a similar age, they are still individuals and every person acquires knowledge in different ways. Which is why I like to get creative. I try to come up with different work forms to try and tackle as many different ways of learning as possible. The students who I currently teach need a more active based approach, but I have also encountered groups who can easily tackle long stretches of text without a problem. The trick to being a teacher is, in my opinion, to find out what makes your students tick.
Of course this is only one person’s idea of what teaching is and why I became a teacher. To be quite honest, I became a teacher, because it is something I am good at. I am not trying to brag and claim I am the best teacher out there, but I do think that I have always had that passion to try and convey knowledge. It’s one of the reasons why I started this blog and it’s something I do in every day life as well. Because I am good at what I do, I also enjoy what I do. Even though I have never been without doubts about what I wanted to do with my life, I find that teaching is one profession that allows me to combine some of the things I love most: tell stories, teach people something new, while at the same time learning so much about myself in the process. Because believe me when I say that if there is one way in which you are going to find out a lot about yourself that you would rather not know, it’s by becoming a teacher. But that would be a completely different blog post.
Would you like me to see me tackle some more teacher related topics? And if so, what would you like me to write about?
2 responses to “My teaching experience”
Great post! I think maybe anything English would be interesting to read. My English is very decent, I think my English is, at times, better than my Dutch but I see so many mistakes, so often. It’s so great that you have found your passion at such an early age and you do exactly what you want to do!
Thank you. I could possibly write about English but the field and my knowledge is so broad and deep that I always have troubles serving it up as a bite sized blog that people can actually understand. But I will see what I can do. I did write a few posts about language way back in the day so if you do a site search you may be able to find something already.