the nikku

reflecting on ESL/EFL and its relation to faith

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Why am I here again? What am I doing?

When I was a same child I made one defining choice about my future: I would NEVER be a teacher. Ironic isn't? I decided I would never be a teacher because I saw how hard my father worked everyday with absolutely no compensation. Underpaid, and over worked with a growing list of government requirements. That was the joke about education majors in college, right?: "The most underpaid and unappreciated people in America."

What's ironic is that I came to Japan thinking that school would be free of that, and of course it's not. But I've got to admit that working with kids is great - although it does have it's bad days. And the pay isn't so bad when you're single. ...I don't know how anybody with a full-time job has the time or money to raise a family.

Which brings us to point #2. Although I'm still not a great teacher (and probably never will be) I find myself wanting to do things like:

  1. build a library of magazine pictures for props
  2. read up on teaching pronunciation
  3. making a library of cards with pictures and vocab stressing beginning middle and ending syllable pronunciation
  4. read up on practical teaching methods and applications
  5. get an ESL certificate

...from the beginning I've been feeling I don't have enough training to be in this for the long haul. Is it true you can get an ESL masters after only one (very hard) year if you have a BA? Wanting to better yourself is almost as good as being the best, right?

I don't really have too many strong likes or dislikes, so I generally look at my previous experience to tell me what to do next. But I found I do like teaching (but not school budgets and politics) and speaking a second language. After this job is over, I'll be ok at speaking Japanese, and have two years of EFL teaching under my belt. So it looks like I should get some more training and teach in Japan again.

But, I can't get too serious about having this particular job become a career. It's only temporary. Most English jobs in Japan are temporary, even some college professors are only on a one year contract. They could easily be kicked out of the country anytime. And even if I did, there's no way I could become a citizen in Japan - without marrying a Japanese woman. And even then, we'd have to pay extra taxes on our mixed children. Whoa, that's too much thinking.

But then again, one of my good friends just told me, "NB, everyone is serious about their relationships at our age." But what if I'm not? I'm working a temporary job and living in a country where I could never become a citizen. How can I be serious?

So yeah, it looks like finding a job at the front desk of a hotel in Guam or Hawaii is still the best idea. :)

Maybe I could just go somewhere and start all over with a third language. I hear people in Malaysia speak Mandarin, Hindi, and English. That'd be cool.

Thanks for reading my blather.


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