blogging gobbledygook and such

Last weekend was the first time self taught English as a tutor. The pay is so freaking good – much much better than current part-time job – and the workload so little that am somewhat guilty for being paid so much to do so little. Yet, that’s the typical rate for personal tutors.

Self’s first ever student, Raine, is a twenty-something banker trying to improve her English for career prospects, particularly her grammar and pronunciation. Got this job through our local community forum; she lives nearby self’s place (and am paid so handsomely at that – can you believe the guilt!). She’s pleasant-looking, and seems earnest in improving her proficiency. Generally like Raine and feel comfortable around her. Her proficiency is rather weak – she has difficulty mastering the present progressive tense – and her speech just as lamentable – she often mixes her ls and rs. It is quite understandable, seeing that she comes from a Chinese education background and mostly uses English in her workplace and little elsewhere.

It was only our first class, but it went pretty well for the both of us, if should say so self. She is a nice enough student to have, though she did moan a bit when suggested that she write an essay to gauge her proficiency level, but she compromised by offering to do it as homework instead. Made her do some exercises for simple present and present progressive tenses for a large part of the two-hour class. While she did that, self read a book. Felt kind of awkward because it looks as if am basically being paid to do nothing at this point! But there really was nothing to do, so read the book self did. After she completed an exercise or two, would mark it and explain her mistakes, which were aplenty and of the same kind. No matter, it was only her first class, after all.

Then, to help her improve her speaking skills, had made her read a random newspaper article from the business section. It would have been quite woeful if she had done it in front of a class – perhaps the reason why she hired self as a personal tutor. She couldn’t read out loud one complete sentence without stumbling over some word or other. Suppose had thrown her off the deep end by choosing a business article to read, but she did say it’s for career prospects, so thought there was no reason to read the leisure section of the newspaper then, right? No matter, it was only her first class, after all.

Before our first class, had fretted a bit – okay, knowing self it’s probably more than a bit – about conducting self’s class. Had seek help from Ms Nut (ex-teacher from secondary school) and Big Jaws (easy-going English lecturer from self’s college), getting advice on how to teach as well as borrowing learning materials from them. On top of that, had asked Strawberry to share her experience as a tutor. So hopefully self’s somewhat thorough planning justifies Raine having to fork out a substantial amount for self’s services, and not even a professional at that.

(Oh, by the way, she has no clue at all that she’s self’s first student. Haha.)

Well, had really enjoyed teaching Raine the first time, and hope that she enjoyed the way self teach (and not suspect that am a novice at tutoring, which may make her question her pretty expensive fees!), and hope that she would not quit classes anytime soon, seeing that she has looooong way to go in improving her English. Entirely possible, though, of course!

Perhaps it is too soon to tell, but feel like teaching is really self’s calling. Have always had this feeling, and this seems to confirm it. It felt pretty good to educate a person, imparting knowledge and having someone appreciate that knowledge self have enough to pay self to impart it!

Comments on: "Have you found your calling?" (6)

  1. Very nice, congrats to finding it!

    I remember helping some pupils many years ago in English and getting some ridiculously good pay for not doing much at all.

    Unfortunately I wasn’t as lucky with the students, I sort of got along with them, but things sometimes felt a bit awkward.

    And as much as I’d love to do something like this in the UK, they only seem to like people with language degrees…

    sulz: is it possible to get rich just by teaching? *hopeful* šŸ˜›

    hmm, in malaysia, they prefer native speakers to teach English, though as a English major, we learnt that it’s a silly preference because whatever your accent sounds like, it’s all English the same around the world!

    if am offered to teach english overseas, may be very tempted to take up the offer and postpone studying for a masters!

  2. haha.. yep. teaching is a very rewarding experience. but quite frankly, i don’t quite like teaching kids (and English)… i prefer teaching undergrads and postgrads discourse analysis. šŸ˜›

    aim for a PhD!

    sulz: wouldn’t mind being a lecturer! don’t think can stand doing a phd… or maybe you need to ask that again if ever graduate with a masters degree. šŸ˜‰

  3. Congratz Sulz for your first student! šŸ™‚ I also experienced how is like to be a teacher. I volunteer to teach pre-school kids in our church every summer. It’s fun, but I don’t think I would want teaching as a career haha!

    I’m also very happy for you to felt that teaching is your calling. That feeling will be the foundation of your career, so please take care of it. šŸ™‚

    Well for me, I’m still looking for my calling. I know I’ll find it soon! haha

    Cheers! šŸ˜‰

    sulz: thanks! yeah, teaching is not for everybody for sure. šŸ˜‰ wise words from you, shall take your advice!

    yes, hope you will find your calling in life!

  4. Woo Hoo! Way to go!

    Seeing as she’s an adult, her r’s and l’s probably aren’t going to get much better. I found here in Korea that if I focus on letter pronunciation while they’re first learning and/or very young, they’re less likely to mix up the r’s and l’s. If they’re older or spent too much time studying English with a non-native speaker who doesn’t have good pronunciation, it’s A LOT of work to break their r/l bad habits.

    I actually make pretty decent money teaching here in Korea. If I had an education degree I could make more in the states. But I don’t have the B.Ed. so I’m SOL.

    I hear you on the feeling guilty part though. The school I’m at has me teaching primarily math and science. The math is so ridiculously easy for the kids that I just turn them loose and let them do two pages a period. There’s nothing for me to teach after I’ve taught the vocabulary. I sit there and grade papers or write report cards or *gasp* play sudoku.

    sulz: hehe, thanks much! oh, good tip, can tell her that so she won’t feel so bad that she keeps mixing them up. you can make decent money teaching english in asia because they love native speakers. šŸ™‚ uh, sol?

    wow, you’re ‘worse’ than self, haha! would love to be paid handsomely to teach though; surely the guilt will wear off in time. šŸ˜›

  5. Good for you, Sulz! I did some tutoring for a while, but mostly with little kids. They are very cute, but prefer teaching adults, and more than one at a time. I agree with katm, after a certain age, it’s very hard for native speakers of Asian languages to get the “l’s” and “r’s”. We had many Cantonese speakers where I was, and it was not an easy thing. What used to distress me about that is that people would make fun of the way they pronounced things. My father was not a native English speaker but lived in the USA for many, many years. There were some consonant combinations he never got!
    You seem like you would be an excellent teacher, and I’m glad your friends are encouraging you. You can go ahead and feel guilty about the money if you need to, but you are providing a real service to your student, so, keep that in mind!

    sulz: so far, it’s not too bad teaching one on one, but maybe may like teaching a group of students when have experienced that. people are easily prejudiced against others who have strange english accents or say things differently; admit that am a bit like that too sometimes. but when you get to know them more, you realise that just because they don’t speak english as conventionally well doesn’t mean they are any less intelligent of proficient in the language!

    well, hope would be a good teacher. have to make sure self’s temper and moodiness doesn’t get in the way sometimes!

  6. that’s lovely, sulz! šŸ˜€ am contemplating taking up tutoring too, to fill my empty january & february. it’s wonderful to think that one has found one’s calling šŸ˜‰

    sulz: well, it was only the first class ever, so may be a little bit premature! but hopefully, hopefully… šŸ™‚

    oh, you should, the money is fantastic! only problem is to get students… wouldn’t want to work in tuition centres because they’d get the bulk of the tuition fees instead!

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