Am not the kind of teacher who throws a grammar book in the face of a student and then goes over grammar exercises for a year or so. Like a drill sergeant. Teaching a student like a chef stuffs a turkey. No warmth, no getting to know the student, no attention for the personal interests and hobbies of the student, his or her background, etc.
An approach like that bores me, is ineffective – students don’t learn to talk like that -, is usually boring for the students as well, and in the best case one learns the language without having a real appreciation of the flair of the language. It’s a dry kind of knowledge, not a living knowledge.
So in one week’s time I have had to give attention to tough stories involving the consequences of a rape, marital problems, the challenge of coming out of the closet as a gay in Slovakia, intercultural relationships, financial problems, career challenges, work trouble, the backstabbing and phoniness that are central to the corporate world, adultery, family relationships gone sour, etc.
Do I mind? Hell no. I feel privileged that so many people wish to share their personal stories with me, almost always in a language that is not their mother tongue. I feel blessed that I can give them some solace just by listening to them.
I think my childhood dream was something like becoming a history professor at university or doctor or maybe a psychiatrist or something like that.
I will never become a doctor, but I do try to mix a lot of history into my languages lessons.
My dream is to have the perfect classroom at home. I have a room at home where I teach, but it’s still missing some helpful tools to make the learning experience more memorable.
It’s true that teaching found me and not the other way around.
It’s a calling.
It’s the closest thing to my ikigai so far.
In the picture you see my favorite part of Bratislava.
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