What does my 15-year teaching experience tell me?
It tells me to work hard and improve myself, and always target professional development and never allow any surrounding conditions to let me down! It tells me to respect the learner’s mentality as much as possible and do my best to guide and improve them. It tells me to take much care and caution while dealing with many female undergraduate students at university! You can never imagine how they misinterpret one’s words and behaviours (especially when compared with their serious and active counterparts in Western countries). It tells me that I can never please ALL the group because they’re always some LAZY students who don’t like you! This is not a personal matter in the first place, as they’re generally against studying and hard work…What’s surprising and astonishing about them is that their expectations are so high! They always aspire to pass and get high scores without exerting the expected effort or do any extra work/assignment properly. It tells me that many narrow-minded colleagues/co-teachers are always sensitive (and not straightforward) while dealing with you and will never leave you alone! They will do their best (both explicitly and implicitly) to embarrass and undermine you. They’ll never admit or respect your excellence or try to benefit from you (and this is very common in Egyptian schools, especially if you’re a new teacher dealing with other senior teachers…and I experienced this when I was a new teacher before being appointed at university). Some others will try to use you as a talon or fang in their personal disputes and struggles! Listen to common sense and the sound of reason, and get away from them! Always prioritize your personal peace and tranquillity, and never involve yourself in trivial and cheap battles that might spoil your life.
It tells me to focus on my work and eliminate personal connections with other mates as much as possible! There’re many wicked and malicious people who exploit your kind intentions and drive you to talk plainly and frankly about other people (e.g. your manager, headmaster, or co-teachers)…Surprisingly, they’re the ones who spread your viewpoints on your behalf by telling them (i.e. the people you’ve talked about) what you’ve already said about them! Of course, this is the dirty Egyptian mentality and moral deterioration which will never change (especially at schools). So, beware of those SUPER-INTELLIGENT people who will try to trap you!
As a language teacher, you’ll find trivial senior colleagues who will always look upon the empty half of the glass! For example, they will forget about all your language skills and merits, and focus only on finding spelling and grammatical mistakes in what you say or write…Don’t blame them, just blame the system in which they learned about language from a very narrow perspective. I remember an ENGLISH friend who used to ask me to take care of (or revise) his spelling because he was not good at spelling!!! All of us know that SPELLING is the most difficult and extraordinary thing about the English language…After all, who is perfect??? So, get ready to face those narrow minded teachers (I used to see situations and wars like these, not as a teacher, but when I was a secondary-school student…When I got older and my horizons opened a little bit, I SCORNED them and later on, knew from my brother that they were lagging behind when they were English majors at College of Education).
The last thing I learned is that one should be as much ORGANIZED as possible! In the west, they say, "Work hard…Play hard!" This means that you need to give everything the due attention…When it’s time to work, devote ALL that time to work duties and never let your personal affairs/circumstances influence your work negatively…Try to create boundaries so as to be focussed…On the other hand, when it’s time to play or entertain yourself, do this properly as well! Don’t let your work problems/worries interfere with your weekend, for example! Have pleasure with your family and don’t spend all the weekend trying to do any missed or remaining tasks…Otherwise, you’ll not be able to live your life properly! Try to RELAX properly and never consider it a waste of time…Those who don’t relax will put much pressures and stresses on themselves because they don’t take a break. Taking a break will enable you to start a new week freshly and enthusiastically. My best wishes!