I want to share my exciting teaching story with you. Earlier in January 2015, I received a text on my mobile phone from a total stranger asking me whether I would be willing to offer private tuition to a Chinese tourist. I said OK, Two Chinese gentlemen came to see me and asked me about my skills and experience. Then they wanted me to do a one hour trial lesson in Auckland with an important Chinese lady. They told me that she is a very special person and I needed to be delicate with her as she was recovering from some personal health problems. I met with her for my first lesson and she "fell in love" with my approach to teaching her English.
After this I met her twice in Auckland only to be told that they were moving to Queenstown for a month and asked if I would go with them. I politely declined saying that I had about six other private students in Auckland and I had to be in Auckland for my live "English for Migrants" Radio lessons.
The next day they returned and made me another offer. They said that they desperately wanted me to travel with them to Queenstown for one month and they would pay the tuition fee to cover for the six Auckland students plus pay for teaching the lady and some of her team, pay my airfares, accommodation, rental car, food expenses and even fly me back to Auckland every weekend. How could I pass on such such a generous offer? So for the past three weeks, I have been commuting between Auckland and Queenstown, staying at a posh apartment within five minutes walk to Queenstown and a fully paid for rental car to travel wherever I wish. I only teach two to three hours on most days. Some days, I don't teach at all. In my spare time I have so far visited Arrowtown, Glenorchy, drove half way up Coronet Peak and meet my students at their rented mansion on the beautiful mountain-side over-looking Lake Hayes (see above photo for the spectacular view from the mansion).
Next week they are moving to Marlborough Sounds and I am taking my wife to Queenstown at their expense. Then I will move to Marlborough Sounds to continue my lessons.
I asked myself how and why did they choose me? Well, they found me by searching for a private tutor on Google. Then they realised that I was better suited as a fellow migrant, I can understand their culture, be very flexible and respect their wishes. They are all Chinese and I am their Indian ESOL teacher. And you know what, they are all Buddhist monks and nuns. The lady I teach is the international founder of their Buddhist organisation based in Canada. My job is to help prepare her for her English test as part of her Canadian citizenship application.
They have hinted that I could be invited to Canada at some point. I am honoured and privileged to be selected to be their "au pair ESOL teacher". ESOL teaching does pay when one goes beyond the call of duty and is willing to enter into the heart and culture of the learner.
Does ESOL teaching pay for you?
Wao Jiao Adon, wao shi ying yu lao shi.
What an amazing journey you have begun! Obviously you have made a connection which has only made your journey better. We need to make connections in order for us to be able to understand why and how we teach. Sometimes it is as they say devine intervention. ESOL teaching is payable by whatever means whether it be by seeing the development of the learner or by monetary measures. You have been able to take life experiences as part of that.