Before all of the questions come pouring into my inbox, I wanted to post this to explain my decisions even though I should have to explain myself, but I think that this decision is going to be the best for me. I believed that China would be the perfect place to find myself, and maybe be a place that I would never want to leave. You see pictures of China all over the internet, and it seems breathtaking. I had even started to plan travel essays that I wanted to write, places I wanted to take photos, and poems that I could write. My primary focus was never on education. I never once thought about what I could be doing to change the lives of the students that I would be teaching. I never thought that I would be in charge of 1,500 students and have to make them prepared for the English speaking world.
I may have graduated with an English degree from one of the best universities in America, but I still struggle with grammar and phonics is my downfall. If you ask me to tell you the stressed syllables in a word, I will almost always fail (unless it is iambic pentameter! I am pretty good with that. Thanks, Jaster!). The TEFL training focused on phonics and correct pronunciation of words, and that seemed to be the topic that I had to focus on in the lessons that I didn’t get to plan. The lessons were already planned out, and I didn’t have a choice in the matter. I thought that would be amazing because lesson planning sucks, but I would love to have the ability to choose what I am teaching and take feedback from the students to better my lessons for them.
I wanted to take a job that would make me feel like an adult. That seems to be the main reason that I accepted the job in the first place. I made it to the last round of interviews for Teach for America and interviewed for English First. English First got back to me first, and I stupidly accepted the offer. The most frequent thing that I hear when I say that I have a degree in English Literature and Language is that I must have wanted to be a teacher. This must have been in the back of my head when I applied for these jobs. My ultimate goal is to be a college professor and teach what I love to other people.
How could teaching abroad help me in becoming an English professor? Besides giving me experience controlling a classroom absolutely nothing. I would be teaching English as a language, and that would not let me share my love of books or creative writing. I was going to be stuck teaching grammar and phonics. This is not me.
English First is currently rated 3.4 out 5 stars by its employees. It has a 66% approval rating, and there is no room for growth. The turnover of teachers is frequent because it is a one-year resume booster.
A good friend told me that “a year is not that long to gain a new experience and if your heart is not in it a year is a very long time.” As much as I love teaching, I do not enjoy teaching young students. I much prefer a student who has some clue of what they want to do in their lives. I am excitied for the moment that I can teach a college class. And that is why I am returning to school this fall to start my master's degree.
Instead of going to China, I am going to attend Penn State Harrisburg for my master's degree in Humanities with a focus on literature and culture. I am glad that I am going to be able to start this journey in my life at an incredible university that I already have an amazing support system at. Go Nittany Lions!