One of my objectives for coming to Istanbul was to try my hand and teaching and see if I liked it enough to make a career out of it. Alhumdulillah after a lot of help and preparation, I managed to find a teaching position a week after arriving in Istanbul. Right now I’m teaching an intermediate-level English class at Fatih University. Now, this isn’t an English class like the ones that you probably took at university or secondary school. This is a class on learning how to speak and read English properly. The students that I teach are all adults – either teachers themselves or university graduates. This is because, from what I understand, learning English in Turkey is a very common thing and is a must if you want to get ahead in the business world, or get paid more, or get that promotion that you want. Usually students take a TOEFL test after learning English, and based on the score that they receive on that, they’ll have more opportunities or the chance for advancement in their careers. Of course many students also want to learn English because they want to move out of Turkey to an English-speaking country, usually America. So for them to be taught English by someone like me, who lives in America, can be a real learning (funny, I know) experience. Not only do they get the chance to test their language skills, but they can also ask me whatever they want about what it’s actually like to live in the country they want to immigrate to.
I get a real buzz out of teaching. I feel like a performer on a stage with the students as my audience. I’m sure it’s similar to the feeling that musicians get when they play in a concert. It’s also not a bad thing if my students actually learn something from me! I don’t know if they have yet actually, as there’s been no tests since I’ve been their teacher, but it’ll make me happy if I discover that their scores have improved. I think another reason that I like teaching so much is b/c right now at least, there isn’t much for me to do outside of class for my class. The lesson plans are taken straight from a book and I just have to help the students get through them, and answer any questions that they might have.
Having adult students that are actually paying money to attend class also must make a difference. In fact, I remember that when I was a substitute teacher in Dearborn this was a real problem. The students just didn’t want to be at school and some of them would do whatever they could to mess with you and get out of class. It’s not like that here. If you don’t want to be in class, don’t turn up. It’s ultimately the students’ responsibility to do their homework and make an effort so that their English skills improve. I just need to help that process in whatever way that I can, and make my classes interesting and engaging so that my students want to learn and actually look forward to coming to class at 9:30 in the morning.
All this business about Swine Flu is a little annoying. What’s the worst that can happen? We all die. The world comes to a screeching halt. And that’s it.