How time has flown. I’m running on my seventh year in my current job yet it seems like only yesterday when I walked along the hallways of a newly-built academy for an interview, anticipating my acceptance in a field that I barely had substantial experience at and no essential qualifications for.
I had liked my brief stint when I taught bookkeeping to a class of young female adults studying in a finishing school – for administrative assistant hopefuls – in the past. So when I decided to quit the accounting profession (as it’s not my true destiny) at the age of 36, the teaching field had already become an appealing option. On our side of the hemisphere, once you get past the age of 35, you automatically stand an awfully frail chance of undertaking a career makeover or even procuring a level-entry job.
The longest-running occupation I had before this one was my 3 ½ years Accounting and Auditing positions at a leading news publishing firm (before my era of improvident job-hopping). So dissatisfied and insignificant I felt about my work there that I once or twice punched my time card in the morning and went out the whole day to do something else – instead of proceeding into the office. I know, I know, what a horrific thing to do. I was 20 years-old then (It’s the best excuse I could come up with, sorry). At least, I am capable of remorse now. 🙂
My current job has been one of the darlings of my existence largely brought about by my passion for everything English. But things hadn’t been all quite rosy for me. Office politics, you say? Ah yes, I experienced that in the most contemptible fashion hundreds of moonlights ago. I almost got kicked out by my co-pioneers who wanted the non-conformists out of the academy (in which half a dozen of our colleagues fell). What they failed to realize was I am harmlessly and silently invincible. I hanged on. Just like in the many arenas of my life. Besides, my bosses made me stay. Most of the people who schemed for my ouster are gone now. The few that remained I was able to get along by way of civility up to this day. I’ve gotten comfortable with the fact that there’ll always be people who’ll commend my strength and people who’ll be put off by the placid gutsy interiors of mine.
Teaching the English language is easy and pleasurable. I even get a kick out of pronouncing the words and courageously manage a modicum of the British accent every now and then. The straining part is effectively allying with these students who come from one of the most affluent countries in Asia. These people have got fairer skin than most Filipinos, which could only aid in jacking up their superiority complex. They’ve been spoiled by their nation’s wealth and technology the teachers here, almost always, are obliged to dole out concern for their personal well-being. Well, there had been students I couldn’t care less – by reason of misbehavior or ill manners, and there had been students I developed compassion for. My students generally range from 20 years old and above – male and female. Some can be sweet and pleasant and likable you end up doing your very best for them. A perk of this vocation: Once in a while, you cross paths with a student who’d be willing to get molded in his or her English fluency and at the same time be led to a more linear direction to become a better individual. That’s when I feel my most productive while doing my work. You also end up sanguine for these young souls who might find genuine happiness in their tomorrows – despite a culture dictating to them that a plenitude of material possessions is the principal reason for existence.
How do you motivate a class of inhabitants who hardly appreciate the English language? Whose main purpose for learning it is to compete with the rest of their fellow citizens in clinching a high-paying job? That’s the never-ending challenge for ESL instructors like me here. Invariably, the students prefer “free-talking” than learn the rudiments of grammar or render some effort to expand their vocabulary. FYI: they’re better at Science and Mathematics, admittedly. The majority aren’t even into reading any genre of world literature. Funny thing is, they’d request we teach them Tagalog words instead – and as soon as we give in, our deed gets so well-received their faces would gleam in glee. Puzzling.
A popular personal question that’s been asked of me by my close friends: Do I go out with any of my students? Yes, we teachers do that – e.g., going to the mall, go karaoke singing, club-hopping, drinking and conversation – nonchalantly for reasons of goodwill and diversion. But what about in more than friendly terms, you ask? Uh…it happens. Sometimes. Teacher and student (of the same age) engender romantic feelings for each other – even fall in love (“pol in lab” as we filipinos endearingly termed it here) – and start dating. It’s not tolerated in most academies. Yet it happened to me (and to many other other teachers, too) I confess. A learning experience I don’t intend to go through again. Never. Mark my word :-). Why? I’ve had misgivings if it had been worth it (Translation: the sex wasn’t phenomenal. joke-joke-joke)…although we could only normally think this way from a backward glance.
I know not what the future holds for me, as anything can happen, although I ponder that perhaps this is the last full-time job I’d be holding. It doesn’t pay much, mind you, but the Monday – Friday, 8:00 – 5:00 schedule has been ideal and the job isn’t too demanding. I also get to do other things during off-peak seasons when there aren’t many students. Like reading and writing blogs. He he…
Since I’ve been frequenting You Tube more often, I get to find the songs I liked when I was a child. The Philippine English song below not only hit our charts but Malaysia’s, as well. Yeah, it’s mawkish. But I’m sentimental – you already know that. And I was only 10 years old then. Surprisingly, the song is about a father who misses his young daughter after they got geographically separated. I didn’t know it then. Again, I was only 10 years old at the time :-). Two versions of the song down here: The first one is the piano version (by a Filipino talent), the second; the original one.
All I want is
Only to hear you say
That you love me, love me with all your heart, and to say
That you need me, like you’ve never needed anyone before
Except for God and your little dolls and your story books
– Missing You by Rafael Centenera