Does The Novelty Wear Off?

This question came up on one of the Dave’s ESL Café Message Boards, and it got me thinking. Many EFL teachers really do go into the field specifically for something different…but does the novelty wear off? And if so, when? Has it worn off for me?

This will partly depend on how long you stay in a given location or region. This is my first year in the country I’m in now, but many of the things that foreigners find quirky and fun are old news to me because I’ve lived in nearby countries before. So, while many things about Eastern Europe aren’t new to me anymore, they are still different enough to be interesting; often just being in any foreign country requires extra effort to get things done.

Still, when I get bummed out about something, say, being on a slow tram, I really do sometimes remind myself, “but it’s a tram in a foreign country.” And when you can’t understand what people on the tram are talking about around you, you can imagine it’s something more exciting than the stuff you overhear on public transport at home.

Many people do fall into a routine, and I have to say, if your schedule allows for that kind of regularity, you’re luckier than me! A couple of things that seem quite universal in TEFL are a somewhat frequently changing schedule and also changing students. In some cases you will have more regular students than in others, but even if you’re using the same book with multiple classes, the people are different.

But it also depends on you. Some people routinely seem to feel a place is “boring” or with “nothing to do”; I just tend not to feel this way. I have moved, but it has typically been for a reason to go towards something, rather than away from something.

I suppose for me, not all parts of my experience are as novel any more as they once were, but I still enjoy it.