Archive | June, 2009

A TEFL Confession

5 Jun

Rarely have I pictured myself teaching.  To clarify, you could count the occasions I’ve imagined such a thing on one hand – with fingers to spare.  As someone who never wants children of their own, I took for granted that this meant under no circumstances would a job working with children appeal to me.  (By children, I even include college age individuals with a vivid lack of maturity.)

I wasn’t being entirely honest with myself.  I allowed myself to conveniently ignore the years teaching swim lessons (it was just another summer job, after all), babysitting (the occasions were rare, and I barely survived), and lifeguarding (saving their lives does NOT mean I have to like them).  After my first weekend of TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) training, I can see I was wrong.

Will I come back from Peace Corps service determined to launch into a career in teaching?  Doubtful.  Strike that — impossible.  I am, however, starting to fully appreciate the opportunities I’ll have within my own classroom in Ukraine.  From the day I turned in my application, I knew the Peace Corps could offer me “a lot.”  But what could I possibly offer a country – a classroom of young students – as I flounder in the basics of their language?  I thought I was being realistic and modest by reminding myself that the learning I would witness over the approaching two years would be entirely my own.

I’m starting to think maybe, just maybe, that could be a two-way street.