Why teaching, Enya?
I was only 7 years old when I dreamed of becoming a famous movie director. A few years later, I thought of becoming a Lawyer because that was what my Career Aptitude Test in high school suggested. However, I took a different path in college and chose Nursing as my major. I graduated, passed the Nursing Licensure Exam, and became a Registered Nurse in the Philippines. You see, being an English teacher was never part of my plan. It was not even an option for me. But sometimes, life doesn’t always turn out the way we planned it and we always end up doing the most unexpected things.
I still remember it clearly, I was on my way to class when a Korean guy randomly approached me and said, “I need an English teacher.” It took me a few seconds to absorb what he just said. Was he really talking to me? Did I hear him correctly? Anyway, to cut the long story short, I became an English tutor with just a snap of a finger. At first, teaching English was nothing but a source of extra income for me but as time passed by and as I moved from one student to another, teaching became more than just a part-time job. I slowly realized that it was something I’d like to do for a long time.
Maybe a lot of people think that language teaching is as easy as 1-2-3. Some people would even give me strange looks whenever I tell them what I do. Every time that happens, I would always feel sad at first. It upsets me because it only proves that IGNORANT people still do exist on earth (grrrr!). But then eventually, I would feel more motivated. It pushes me to work harder and be more successful in my chosen career.
So what do ESL teachers really do? Of course, we teach English as a second language to non-native speakers but there’s so much more to this job than just teaching. The moment we meet our students, we instantly become consultants, mentors, and most especially, a motivational source for them. Our students have the desire to improve their English communication skills. However, we all know that learning a foreign language is never an easy thing to do. So, it’s normal for them to feel tired, anxious, and even hopeless sometimes. As teachers, it is our task to not only expand their vocabulary or teach them about the grammar rules, but it is also our great responsibility to boost their confidence and make them believe that they can achieve their goals if they work hard for it. It is essential for students to know that they are not alone in this journey. And what do we want in return? A simple “thank you” is more than enough for us. In my case, I feel most fulfilled whenever I see my students accept their certificates and give their graduation speech. It only proves that despite all the challenges they had to face, they never quit and I’m happy to say that I was one of the people who pushed them to not give up.
What else do I love about this job? To be honest, before working as an ESL teacher, I was never the sociable type and I was always awkward around people. But now, I finally have the courage to interact more with the people around me and to even try public speaking which I truly dreaded in the past. Furthermore, I also had the chance to meet professionals from various industries. This has exposed me to different career fields and has helped me gain awareness and better understanding of the relevant issues the world is currently facing. Most importantly, this job has given me the opportunity to explore the beautiful country of Japan and learn more about Japanese culture and tradition.
Now, when I look at myself and I don’t see a movie director, or a lawyer, or a nurse, I don’t really have any regrets. I realized that sometimes in life, things don’t go according to your plan but there’s always a good reason behind that. If something is meant for you, there’s no way to escape it. It will just come knocking at your door in the most unexpected time. I never really dreamed of becoming an English teacher but here I am talking about how rewarding it is to be one. So, whatever it is you do, as long as your intentions are pure and you don’t step on anybody, be proud of it and make a difference in this world!