Up until meeting him that morning, I was sure this job wasn’t for me. I convinced myself that my first teaching experience in Kayamkulam, was a one-off and so, developing any teaching skills was pointless. I felt I was wasting time. But what would I do, if teaching English is suddenly NOT what I want? How will I travel? Had this teaching experience at Ebenezer taken my lifeline? Had it taken away all the opportunities that teaching English abroad can give? Had these 2 weeks closed some doors?
By speaking to Paul I realized that by running away from a job and a profession and mentally closing down all the travel opportunities and experiences this job would offers, at the first sign of loneliness and confusion, I wouldn’t be fully embracing what teaching English is abroad is all about and what it stands for. I would forever be so fixated on that amazing experience in Kayamkulam, that no other school would ever be right, or feel good. As a teacher of English is these countries, I need to realize that every single school is different. I just never expected the difference to be so huge. But that’s the contrast of the Indian culture: there are contrasts in every corner of this country and it’s inevitable for this to also be reflected in the education system. The differences are not only the size of the school. But it’s also the religion, the district, the location, the wealth and the belief and value system they follow and teach to the students. Each school is also shaped by the wealth of the students families and their general backgrounds.
To find myself in school that’s different than I’m used to, is only making me rise to the challenge ALL English teachers in foreign countries are faced with at some stage, which is: to stand strong and be proud of my personality, my energy and my lessons, and to be proud I’m not from India and be proud that I AM different. Also to ignore the discipline the other teachers must follow when being at school, and do as I wish. To know my own values and beliefs and in that strength be aware of how worthy I am as a teacher (even though I’m not as highly educated as the Indian teachers I‘m surrounded by). To then be proud and feel worthy of the human being I am. In turn I can be less harsh on myself when considering how many things can so easily effect me, or anybody else for that matter, in an environment so different without ever having experienced this before. I see that the first 2 weeks of my stay here at Ebenezer were challenging. I’m now rising to it with the help of somebody more experienced. I accept the fact that I’m only human, I’m not a robot and that, really, by choosing to stay and getting as much from this experience as possible, doesn’t mean I’m a failure. I can face all of these challenges and I am rising to them, as I sit here and type!