Are students going to give you a heart attack?
Does the thought of hopping on a plane to anywhere appeal to you?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, chances are good you’re an ESL teacher. Chances are also good that you won’t act on a single on one of those things, and will instead continue to stew in your self-made world of misery.
Hey, I taught ESL for 5 years, so I know all about this. I also know a few tips and tricks that might keep that top of yours from blowing. Here they are:
You know who I’m talking about, that little shit that always speaks up, snarks off, gets his way, or does nothing. He’s a cheeky bastard, and you’ve had enough…like 10 weeks ago. His parents don’t care, and the staff just wishes he would go away. So go with the flow – ignore the prick.
Ignoring students is one of the best things you can do to save your sanity. Oh, it might not win any points at work or improve that kid’s English, but it will keep you out of jail. Yep, sometimes you feel like killing a student, and if you continue to put yourself in that situation without making any changes, you just might. Why not try something different? Cut off their craving for attention.
Leave the Room
Are you about to unleash a torrent of F-bombs? I’ve done that a few times, and it never works out well. It might make you feel good short-term, but after that it’s pretty much downhill for your relationship with that class.
Instead, why not go throw those F-bombs out at the plant in the hallway? How about that guy selling something downstairs, you know, the one that just laughs at all your words anyways, English or otherwise.
The point is, take a walk and leave the room and let off that steam. Punch the wall if you must! Just don’t lose it in front of the students because it sucks for you and them.
Just Play a Game Already!
To hell with the lesson plan, to hell with the boss looking through the small window in the door, and to hell with your job! If you do not play a game in the next 10 seconds, the world will feel your wrath!
When you get to moments like this, just play a game and be done with it. So what if little Tommy doesn’t learn all the verbs on page 24 today – it won’t ruin his existence. It might ruin yours if you keep pounding away at it, however, so play a game. Even a teaser game of 10 minutes before getting back to page 24 might be best at this point. After all…you’re about to lose it, big time!
Show a Damn Video
I know you’re not supposed to show videos, but do it anyways. Hell, show a whole move, and not just today, but over a whole week!
I’m sure your bosses at the school will understand. They’ve been there before, at the edge and looking over. If those students don’t stop annoying the hell out of you, there will be blood. That’s the feeling, and you need a breather. Let go, give in, let them walk all over you – show the video. If you don’t, the consequences could be far worse.
Tell Your Boss
Sometimes you just need to tell your boss that life is shit and you feel like ripping someone’s head off!
This is a really good way to get a little break on next week’s schedule, or lose your job in general. Mostly, though, if you do it right, telling your boss that your job sucks is a good way to making it so your job doesn’t suck. If they just shrug off your concerns, perhaps it really is time to think about a job or career change.
ESL is tricky, and teaching can be a pain in the you know what. Take it easy and remember, in a few years you’ll likely be doing something else and you’ll be thankful you didn’t ‘lose it’ that one time.