The recent celebration of English Teaching professional’s 100th issue got us all thinking about the significance of the number 100 and how big a number it is when you think about it. To have taught 100 classes, to read 100 books about English language teaching, to have 100 students, to publish 100 issues of a journal… Despite being very achievable targets, they are no mean feats.
This got me thinking and wondering if I could list 100 reasons I loved my job in English language teaching, and I am convinced that if I could come up with 100 reasons, then I must have one of the best jobs in the world (for me at least).
I must emphasize that these reasons are my own. I certainly hope you can relate to them, but they are not necessarily applicable to everyone’s teaching experiences.
I have separated my reasons into categories of their own, in hope that it makes it easier reading. I recognize that each of these points could potentially be turned into a blogpost of their own. And because there are 100 reasons listed, I am not able to go into details about each one. If there are any that you would like me to elaborate upon, please do feel free to leave a comment or send me a message.
As I said, 100 is a considerable sum and so instead of listing them all in one go, I’ll divide them into three blogposts.
So here are the first 40 reasons! I love English language teaching because…
Things students have taught me
1. I learn more about other countries and where on the map they are.
2. I learn about their lives, their fears, their loves etc.
3. I learn about their different specialist areas, from architecture and art history to finance, marketing, and product design.
4. I learn about their different family backgrounds and ways of living, and how this influences them as people.
5. I learn about their different religions and philosophies of life.
6. I learn to cope with differences in points of view and ways of living.
7. I learn about other languages and their similarities and differences to English.
8. I learn about the different ways that better communication skills (via better English and better soft skills) can improve their lives.
9. I learn about the different things that make people laugh.
10. I learn about myself, about what I believe in, and what matters to me.
Things about teaching the English language
11. I get to learn about English grammar and look beyond pedagogical grammar.
12. I get to think about the meaning of words, where they come from and how they are used.
13. I get to learn about the company that words keep and how words collocate in different ways.
14. I get to learn about different sounds and how they are formed in the mouth.
15. I get to learn about funny things we do when we speak, like connected speech, word and sentence stress, and how we use intonation.
16. I get to examine how we take turns when we speak, how we signal the start and the end of a story, how we respond to greetings, compliments and complaints, and how we learn what is expected of us in a conversation (both spoken and written).
17. I get to learn about how English is used as a lingua franca and the implications this has on the concept of the ‘native speaker’, and the English used around the world.
18. I learn about different accents, dialects, idioms and colloquialisms, and what is and isn’t relevant to my students.
19. I get to get better at talking about how we communicate and use metalanguage appropriately when needed.
20. I get to really reflect on how we use language, how language can affect how we think, and how culture can influence how we communicate.
Opportunities I get to have
21. I get to meet people from different countries.
22. I get to teach students of different age groups, different professions, and different backgrounds.
23. I get to try out different modes of technology (Interactive White Boards, iPads) and different types software, websites and apps.
24. I get to explore different parts of the city I’m in because I’m taking my students to different places.
25. I get to go to conferences held in different exciting locations.
26. I get to form my own Personal Learning Network via social media.
27. I get to meet teachers and students from other teaching scenarios and other countries.
28. I get to have fun with stationery.
29. There's always something to improve on, something new to learn.
30. There are so many ways of advancing my career (teacher trainer, management, conference speaker, writer, etc.)
Ways it’s helped my personality
31. It’s making me more reflective.
32. It’s making me more patient.
33. It’s making me a better listener and to also listen to what is not being said.
34. It’s teaching me about how I communicate.
35. It’s making me more curious.
36. It’s teaching me to be tolerant.
37. It’s teaching me to praise more and see the good in everybody.
38. It’s teaching me to be a better facilitator and forcing me to let go of control.
39. It’s making me more aware of cultural differences and how they can both affect and add to cross-cultural communication.
40. It’s making me more creative and maybe even a bit more artistic!
Why do you love teaching?
What are some of your reasons?
Share them here with your comments or write to me on social media.
Chia Suan Chong is a General English and Business English teacher and teacher trainer, with a degree in Communication Studies (Broadcast and Electronic Media) and an MA in Applied Linguistics and English Language Teaching from King’s College London.
Fascinated by the interplay between culture, language and thought, Chia is also an intercultural skills trainer and materials developer, and is now based in York.