24 June 2008

Recovering English Teacher

On Friday I had my last class.

Or actually, I had my last class on Thursday morning, because my Thursday afternoon and Friday morning crews did not show up. Not with a bang, but a whimper, I guess. (I don't blame them, I blame our institute's crazy and convoluted class/exam schedule.)

Yesterday I had my last department meeting, where I provided the champagne and cake and my coworkers provided me with this guy:

Hand-painted Cossack porcelain is pretty famous around here; this is a Cossack porcelain Cossack. The best thing about him is that he's actually a flask (the foam on his mug of beer comes off, revealing a spout). I'm not sure why this was the gift they selected for me – as far as I recall, I was usually sober at work – but I absolutely love him nonetheless.

What all this means, of course, is that I'm done being a Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages.* Forever, if I so choose. I tried to jump for joy as discreetly as possible. It's been a fun two years of teaching (most of the time), but it's definitely not the career path for me.

*One of the little things I find unappealing and/or laughable about this profession: certain terminology-minded English teachers apparently got really into political correctness. It's potentially insulting to the intelligence of your polyglot students to call it "English as a Second Language," and "English as a Foreign Language" has negative connotations of "otherness," inappropriate in our global village. You can't just call yourself an English teacher, either, because that means something totally different most of the time.


Diana said...

hehe he looks giant! but I trust since you don't think you'll have a problem bringing him back that he's actually a reasonable size...

what does "English Teacher" mean otherwise?

Leslie said...

Yeah, he's about 9 or 10 inches tall, I'd guess. Not too bad. :)

What I meant is that usually (at least in the U.S.) if you say you're an English teacher people assume you teach Shakespeare and essay writing to high schoolers, not how to answer the telephone and the uses of the past perfect continuous tense to non-native speakers.