Learning through teaching English as a Second Language. Why I choose to teach. by Maylin Billingham - Profesora de inglés

Learning through teaching English as a Second Language. Why I choose to teach.


We have all had to face our own hardships through this Pandemic Crisis. We have all seen holiday plans, and weekend trips be torn away from us. Many of us haven’t been able to see our family since this nightmare began. Heart warming Sunday lunches with Grandma turned into slightly broken whatsapp video calls. 

I myself had my entire life thrown into the fire, just when I needed it most. I had just spent two years planning and saving for my big move back to Thailand, the place I had grown up, and was committed to returning to. I had a job lined up as a teacher at a local school in Koh Samet, I had flights booked and hotels sorted for my arrival. Until all of a sudden, I didn’t. 

 

In one morning I lost it all. A call from the airline to say my flight was cancelled, followed by a call from my school saying the orientation course was not going ahead, with the final blow as the Thai Government politely informed me that my Visa had been rescinded. 

 

I was left unemployed, isolated and heartbroken. In preparation for my departure I had quit my job, left my partner, and for all intents and purposes shut my life in the UK down. So when forced to consider what to do next, I was lost.

 

I couldn’t simply return to my old life. For one thing my previous job as an events technician was obviously not an option, as free-lancers like myself all over the globe faced eviction. But it was more than that, I had made the decision that I wanted more. I wanted to be able to interact with people all over the world, teaching ESL had given me the chance to share my experiences with people and cultures I had never interacted with before, and I simply wasn't ready to give up on that. 

 

And so, after a few months feeling sorry for myself, I decided that I was going to start teaching whether the Universe wanted me to or not. Covid be damned!

 

Making the decision was easy, putting it into practice was harder. I found a market that was full of students looking for help, but I also found a marketplace that was swarming with people like me. I could feel myself becoming dispirited and lost in the pages, I worked hard to maintain optimism. With every opportunity I had to teach I kept proving to myself that this was the right path for me. I am a Theatre Student at heart and adore building classes for my students that are fun and engaging. Working with students brought meaning to my days, and gave me small but meaningful insights into little communities all over the world. 

 

When you teach, you learn. It has become my mantra, a phrase that I repeat to myself before every class. Teaching gives me the chance to share what I learn but also helps me learn what I don’t. In a world where travelling is no longer an option, at least for the time being, teaching ESL gives me the chance to continue exchanging ideas with people from all over the world. That connection to other cultures is what keeps me teaching, it is what calls me back to my laptop day after day. I adore my job because it means that from my tiny room in London I get to keep seeing the world and building relationships, in whatever small way with people who look forward to sharing their culture with others, just like me.

And that is why I choose to teach. 

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