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So here’s what happened with that whole ESL thing

Occasionally Wanda, my fellow 2go-Box escapee, will send me links to jobs on CareerBuilder.com. From there I will typically start browsing all the listings just to see what’s there.

Today I happened upon a link that said “teacher”, and that made me think of how Dad said he thought I wanted to be a teacher. (I’m not sure where he got that idea.) Then I thought about teaching ESL. But that brought back a bevy of unhappy feelings from my last experience concerning TESL.

An acquaintance had suggested I volunteer with a local church that offered ESL classes. I thought about it for awhile, and finally contacted the person in charge of the program. She was very friendly and helpful, or so I thought, but I was still feeling timid, as I had no real classroom experience. So rather than committing to anything, I suggested that I stop by sometime and see how the classes were run. She seemed to agree with this, stating that classes had already begun for that semester anyway. I didn’t go to that week’s class, and by the next week I had decided that since classes had already started, I probably shouldn’t try to stick my nose in, and instead try for the following semester. I emailed her to tell her so, and she wrote back, “I had to turn students away last week. There was no teacher for them because you weren’t there.”

To my knowledge, I had never given her the impression that I was going to be there. I had worked to give her the impression that I didn’t know what I was doing, that I was willing to help but that I didn’t have any experience, that I wanted to at least observe classes before running one of my own. But apparently what I was saying did not get through to her. Apparently my interest was taken as an offering of services, and when I didn’t “follow through”, I was then ripe for the guilt trip of a lifetime.

Ever since then, I haven’t been able to think cheerfully about teaching English as a second language. The whole experience soured me on it. It really shouldn’t. I need to get past it.

But I really can’t believe I was treated like that.