ESL Teaching is Vocational

30112016122109Hey all.

I’ve been browsing the www, looking at other sites that are like mine and not at all like mine, leaving bookmarks in my “ESL” folder and revisiting sites. Of course, I’m trying to refresh myself, after about three straight years of not having given classes (I retired to sell agricultural machinery, if you can believe that!….) however, how about an anecdote, a side track, if you like….

So, yes, a few years ago, I decided that I would stop working as an ESL teacher, after over 30 years. A student of mine rang me up and asked me if I could help him out with a phone call to an English provider. He wanted to know if a particular combine harvester was available for sale and if he could get a special trade/export price for it. I was intrigued and decided to give him a hand.

A year later, he asked me if I wanted to work directly with him. He’s kind of a disaster as far as organization and I’m a school teacher with a lot of organizational skills and most importantly, I speak English, which is the principle language he needs to do business in other European countries. The pay was ok, the work was regular and so in the mornings I worked with this guy, organizing his office and making phone calls while in the afternoon continuing my ESL classes.

The business seemed to be getting better, so I decided to quit ESL teaching – a bit fed up with parents anyway, and looking for something different to do with my life – and began working full time with the importation of agricultural machinery for its sale. Now, here’s the anecdotal part.

I’ve recently been in contact with a lady in Poland. When I first telephoned her, she made a statement in English which could easily be misinterpreted. I mentioned this to her and pointed out that I was only commenting on it as a former ESL teacher, in the hopes of helping her be more effective with her English – and avoiding such possible misinterpretations. She surprised me by pointing out that she was also a former ESL teacher in her country. When I asked her why she was selling agricultural machinery, well, her answer was the same as mine would have been: steady work, better pay.

I’d also add that I have had my afternoon and evening hours free for over three years now, which was wonderful to experience – we all know that ESL teachers spend a lot of afternoon and evenings working – mornings may be free, but there’s always a class to give in the evening. Turning that schedule over was great for me.



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