These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things…About TEFL
Learning about interesting cultural tidbits, like local legends, superstitions or customs. In Bosnia, it’s not good for your health to have two opposite windows open. It’s also great to see Mr. Clean – in a number of places – billed as Mr. Proper.
Meeting fascinating people and hearing their different stories and experiences. I’ve taught a woman who was involved in university protests during the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia; a guy who, while studying abroad, threw stones at a group of baboons to see what they would do (they threw back). Another student was moving shortly after the end of the class…to Angola where he would work with mine-finding dogs.
Seeing the side of things that a traveler doesn’t. This may translate into working through various challenges, but it’s usually worth it. Going to the local video store gives me a chance to really feel the language barrier and experience what it’s like to be mostly reliant on pictures. The university dormitory laundry room – where I have to call and make an appointment with the woman who works there to wash my clothes – provides interesting insight into both Eastern European university life and socialist architecture and design that normally I would have no reason to see.
Being part of a multi-cultural group where people really use English as a common language to communicate. It’s just neat.
Being in a position to figure out cool connections between languages – I could hardly keep my fascination to myself when I made a connection between skocati (“skotchati”), which means “jump” in several Slavic languages,…and the kids’ game hop skotch in English. I’m aware this interest might make me a dork… and that’s okay.