People often ask me why I’m so positive all the time. Well, sweetie, I have to tell you the truth. It’s in my blood! My blood type is actually B Positive! So how can I not live life on the sunny side when I’ve got all that joy running through my veins?
Seriously, folks, I was just talking to some students (I have students from 42 countries at the Design Academy in Eindhoven) about why many of them hated English and the struggles they had learning English when they were in high school. They told me stories about how they learned it. And about how it was taught. To my surprise (although I hear this every year, I have a very short memory span) many of them said that they had English for over 8 years at school but never were given the opportunity to really talk. To communicate. To get up and share a story with their classmates. They were forced to translate, to read sentences and write about it, to do exercises, to memorize boring grammar rules. (Oh, if you want to see just how fun grammar can be – because it truly CAN be – do check out Rock Your English!).
They also told me stories about their teachers and their lack of motivation. It really and truly blows my mind how I often hear stories of teachers (and so many others) who have kind of given up. They seem to just want to get through the day and go home. This breaks my heart. Believe me, I totally know what it’s like to have a bad teaching day. And to be confronted with having to correct hundreds of 5- page grammar exams on your first (and only) sunny day off. And dealing with colleagues who love to gossip, and students who show up late or not at all, doodling in the lesson, eye-rolling optional. Life in the trenches, on the front line, is never easy. But who said easy is the only way?
I became a teacher and a coach because I love making a difference in people’s lives and seeing how their vision of English and communication can change when they’re having fun. I also happen to love grammar and everything about English in general. I think about it all the time and am obsessed with finding new ways to make it interesting for others. If you don’t love what you do, don’t do it. Please don’t waste people’s time and try to educate others if you’re not in love with your subject yourself. If you’re not inspired, how can your students be?
Oh, and my darling students – please show up on time. Set 4 different alarms in different parts of your room so that you get up in time for your early morning class. Show up with a smile on your face, even if you missed the train and have a low WIFI signal and ran out of coffee.
Learning is a gift, one that should be shared with others, and aren’t we the luckiest people in the world that we are given an opportunity to learn, to teach, to coach, to help, to master a new skill every single day? I tell all my students that education is a right that millions of others don’t experience. Treasure that. Every day again and again. I know that in my blood.
Wit lof from buffi x
If you want to hear an excellent TED talk on education – check out Ken Robinson and his vision.