Number one for English language teachers

Saturday 1st January: My other life

Type: Reference material

In her fifth diary entry, Maria Alamanou talks about why she loves teaching

As the year drew to a close, I was found wondering, as I sometimes do, what I could be if not a teacher. Maybe a life-long student, living on my father’s pension and painting the town red every other night? Sounds promising, but no way - I hated being a student! I can still remember crying myself to sleep every Sunday evening at the mere thought of having to wake up to another school-week. When I go by the secondary school where I used to study, painful memories of miserable imprisonment spring to mind and I quickly stride past it, for fear one of my former jailers might recognise me and drag me back inside through the gates of hell. No, no, that is definitely not for me!

What then? My undergraduate years weren’t any happier, either. It wasn’t so much the attendance or the subjects I minded but getting there was an ordeal. Buses, trolley buses, trains and the such like felt like an endless torture. OK, maybe I’m a bit lazy when it comes to moving around, that’s why I dislike travelling, too. So, the jobs of a salesperson, an insurance agent or a diplomat are out of the question.

But there must be something I can do well besides teaching. All I have to do is think carefully. Let’s see. My other qualifications include a post-graduate Diploma in translation. There it is then! I could be a full-time translator. I didn’t get a degree with Merit for nothing! But I’ve tried that. I still do occasionally. It’s safe on the side of motion – there’s none involved – and yet it’s so lonely it could turn you into a lunatic zombie and a burden on your family in a matter of weeks.

I’m quickly running out of options here. Wait! What about my other skills? We’re talking about unbeatable organisational, managerial and secretarial skills that are not to be scoffed at. God knows I could use a 9-5 schedule in my life at some point. That is, so long as there was no distance involved. Much to my consternation, though, I expect I would soon go off a lifestyle with so little action.

I know for a fact I couldn’t be a farmer or a shepherd because, much as I love country life, these are things quite foreign to a city-dweller’s nature. Besides, they’re hard work and you have no guaranteed income, considering Mother Nature’s quirks. Not to mention that you may have to travel long distances, most of the time on foot. Therefore, that’s two more struck off the list of possible jobs I could do.

I’m also a PR freak because I like people and they like me back – at least those who do not know me very well. Maybe I could turn to politics then? On second thoughts, a PR flair isn’t enough for such a high-flying career. I lack proper training, considering that I can’t lie keeping a straight face, I don’t cheat and I’m stupidly honest in money matters. These are talents you are either born with or else spend years to develop. There’s also quite a lot of travelling to be done in a politician’s line of duty.

OK, now I’m on to something for sure. Doesn’t teaching involve quite an amount of acting? If my students’ assurances are anything to go on, I could easily be a comedian or a clown. I hear they’re making quite a sum these days. A clown is more like it because I have a soft spot for young kids and, as far as I know, they have one for clowns, too. I could even be successful! But that would mean working in a lot of different environments, some of which might be unpleasant. And they could be a long way from home.

Here I go again then! Having – for the tenth time this month – ruled out all the possibilities of decent jobs I could do, I’ve once again come to the conclusion that I’m happy I chose to be a teacher, for three main reasons:

i) teaching involves a little bit of most other nice jobs
ii) you don’t have to travel if you don’t want to and
iii) there’s not much else left when you’ve ruled everything else out!

Happy New Year and I’ll be talking to you soon.


 

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