21 signs that I was fated to be a TEFLer

When I left university I had no particular desire to live abroad and absolutely no desire to teach, but looking back it seems that long before that all the signs were there that I was destined to be a TEFL teacher:

1. When I was about five someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and I said “a tramp”.

2. I used to make up board games and force my little sisters to play them.

3. I really really hated my hometown (though even I had no idea I’d need to live 6000 miles away from it).

4. The happiest years of my childhood were living abroad.

5. The only job I ever really hated was my only office job (I’d much rather go back to the chicken factory than work in an office again).

6. I love hearing about the intricacies of accountancy, management consultancy, and a hundred other jobs that I’d hate to actually be doing myself.

7. I mainly read American fiction and so have always produced some kind of personal international English (much to my English teachers’ disgust).

8. Coming from a British lower middle class family of social climbers means I’ve always been super aware of how I and others use language.

9. I’ve always loved correcting people.

10. I was obsessed with the French Revolution when I was a teenager, so using a guillotine still gives me a strange thrill.

11. Cutting up was my favourite craft activity as a child.

12. I got so bored in lecturers at university that I made up a phonemic code to write my notes with, then had to teach it to my even less motivated friends so that they could catch up on lectures that they’d missed. It included a symbol for what I’d later learn is schwa.

13. My conversational style is like that of a therapist.

14. I could never sustain a 40-minute conversation without the aid of worksheets.

15. Marcel Marceau was my childhood hero.

16. I used to start my childhood birthday parties with warmers/ icebreakers.

17. I used to make people play mingling games at university house parties.

18. I used to go round my hometown at night correcting missing and extra apostrophes etc on street signs and posters.

19. Years of cycle touring as a teenager helped me build up very strong thigh muscles (meaning I’m not likely to get the typical TEFL injuries when crouching during monitoring of pairwork).

20. I like to regularly change partners.

21. I don’t mind wearing a suit but I’ve always refused to spend more than 50 quid on one and I don’t see why I should strangle myself with a tie (ruling out just about every other job)

About half of that is true – I’ll leave you to guess which bits.

Anyone else destined to TEFL, looking back?

This entry was posted in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to 21 signs that I was fated to be a TEFLer

  1. eflnotes says:

    hehe no 20 is a cracker you should enter this in the theround iatefl t-shirt compo


  2. Nearly all true for me….I tend to think choice is an illusion – we are destined to follow the paths we are on or do so out of blind luck. Like many I fell into TEFL at a late age after ‘failing to launch’. I remember meeting a few TEFLers in my late 20s and thinking – what – you get paid to live abroad and talk to people in English!!!! Little did I know.

    Still – I’m glad to have ended up where I am now, if the kind of teaching I do is light years away from what I thought I would do after I did my Diploma.

  3. alexcase says:

    Wow, Andy – not nearly all true for me, who wrote this list, so you really really must have been destined to teach Head Shoulders Knees and Toes and the Present Perfect Continuous!

  4. Sammy says:

    Haha… fantastic, I identify with all of these. I can’t say I don’t love using the guillotine. I’m also irrationally excited by fresh new marker pens. Mmm!

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