1) When you think that their job is just sunshine and travelling.
One common misconception about ESL teachers is that the job is all travelling and partying and very little work. But in actual fact, the hours worked next to the disgustingly low pay rates makes me want to vomit. Unlike other teachers, TEFL teachers are often paid by the hour and thus all the additional hours of the week that go into planning and marking aren’t subsidised by a lovely pay packet. They don’t get the same lovely amount of holiday off a year and their job is also looked at as a bit more of a joke – all this is topped off by having very little job security. So if they want to get off their faces with their colleagues in the middle of the week, followed by the weekend of either doing the same thing or popping off for a trip then they deserve it god damn it.
2) When you look down your nose at them.
Oooh look at you with your fancy graduate job, first mortgage and puppy. Seriously mate, sod the hell off.
3) When you look at them with hate when they correct you on something.
You’ve come to their class in order to learn – they are the expert. Yes, you might be older than them and you might have been saying “I took a coffee” instead of “I had a coffee” for all of your English-speaking days, but you are wrong. The saying is wrong. Yes, people understand what you saying but it is wrong – and so if you didn’t want to be taught to say things the right way then why on Earth would you come to this class in the first place? Leave.
4) When you judge them for being younger than you.
Dear all mature students,
Your teacher is most likely going to be younger than you are. Accept it and get ready to learn some English. They’ve been hired for this job because they know what they are doing and are going to teach you well. There are thousands of people who apply for the role that your teacher has, don’t you think that if they couldn’t do it just as well (if not better) than someone else then the role would have been given to them?
Every ESL teacher who has ever been second guessed by a student because of their age.
5) When they’re planning to use a great game to take up a lovely chunk of the lesson and it ends far too quickly.
As an ESL teacher you quickly learn to build two very important friendships to help you with your lessons. One of those friendships is with games and the other one is with videos. When your class just up and decide that they don’t like your best mate “Stop the bus” that you’re introducing them to because they’ve already played it in a different class it outright destroys your day.
6) When technology fails them.
So there you find them on Sunday with the worst hangover in the history of all hangovers, when they come to the sudden realisation that their Monday morning is due to start super early and they have absolutely nothing prepared, nor enough energy or pizzaz to set about preparing for such a ghastly hour… And then it hits them. They have Frozen on their hard drive. Yes, yesssss! This is the miracle of all miracles that they were asking for, AND bonus points they already have a worksheet prepared to set the kids for homework that they have used in a previous class.
Monday morning comes around like a cruel mistress, but it doesn’t even faze them as they walk through the halls knowing that they’ve totally got this shit covered. But then, no. The projector’s broken.
7) When you think that empty space on their forehead says “Dictionary”.
I realise that they have taken the job because they are supposed to be the master of their craft which is the English language, but cut them a little bit of slack from time to time. The estimate by the Global Language Monitor on January 1, 2014 had the English language at 1,025,109.8 words. That’s a lot of words. So believe it or not, but there are certain moments when they can’t recall some words – so stop getting your knickers in a twist when they don’t know an obscure enough synonym for ‘grateful.’
8) When you want to know every single exception to when you can use the past perfect, or the present continuous or exactly when a pronoun should be possessive.
9) When you insist on translating everything that your teacher is saying for the other students but you are actually getting it wrong.
Your teacher probably knows how to say what they are teaching you in your language, but is choosing not to because then you will be thinking in your language and not in English which is the whole point in you being in that lesson. So when you are insisting on translating “Bizarre” to “Bizarro” to the rest of the class you are doing nothing but teaching people the wrong thing. Yes they sound extremely similar – but “Bizarro” would mean dashing or brave which is definitely not what “Bizarre means”. The exact translation you are looking for is “extraño” so stop it.