“Teacher!” The word “teacher”, how does it sound like to you? What makes a good teacher? And why did I choose to teach ESL online? Many think teachers aren’t making a lot of money for themselves. Maybe it’s true especially in actual schools. Nowadays, however, things have changed for online ESL teachers. I will not discuss any salary rates offered by different companies in this field on the internet though. This is more of being sentimental. It is all about answering the question “What makes you happy as an online ESL teacher?”
A Happy Teacher
In school, you need to be the second parent of your students. In online schools, you can’t be a parent to a 45-year-old manager nor a 50-year-old businessman. But you can be their friend, son or daughter, or their confidant. Teaching English is not all about helping them become successful because most of them are. Teaching English is like constructing a bridge for them to reach their other goals. It will also help them to widen out. When you hear your student express himself confidently without bothering to have the correct words and phrases, or the perfect grammar, it motivates you to do more for him.
Teaching English is not only helping your students understand grammar rules or correcting their pronunciation. It is far more than that. It is an amazing privilege! You are planting a seed. You are watering it. You watch how it grows to a tall, bulky tree. It grows on its own. And when your job is done, watch how far your words of wisdom have reached the hearts of your students; powerful enough to change their lives. You also get to learn more from your student’s culture and it helps you grow.
One time, one of my students asked me: “If you are in my case, which opportunity would you choose?” This is one of the most difficult questions I had to answer while in this career. The one who’ve asked is in a managerial position. Two competing CEOs are offering her top management position in their respective companies. In all honesty, I feel humbled and honored, though am not certain if I gave her the best possible answer. It is because I think I’m not even qualified to work as an employee in their company in the first place! But the trust she gave me boosted my optimism, to do more for her and to my other students.
The Ups and Downs
Of course, there were unfavorable circumstances I had to go through like accepting the fact that a student doesn’t like you, or you unintentionally hurt their feelings. These are normal pitfalls that you have to deal with. At the end of the day, when you know you gave your best shot, though you failed, it is still a good learning experience. It makes you wiser and tougher, and keeps your feet on the ground. Your perseverance to hardships helps you appreciate the value of your job.
Again, being an online ESL teacher is a privilege. That’s why I’m enjoying it. And it’s definitely not a boring vocation. Actually, it is a profession you can be proud of absolutely!