Strange questions are abound in our field so we thought we’d add to the list of peculiar inquisitions we put up with in our most humble of fields.
1.Are you a native?/ You speak very well for a non-native.
Guess what people, not everyone is a native speaker, judge me on my qualifications and experience not my passport. Yes yes ‘student preference’… ‘ EU discrimination’ and so the wheel turns but it is infuriating and inevitability followed with “wow your English is good for a non-native”. Well no shit Sherlock I’ve been studying it for 20 years.
2.Can you work on Saturdays/ bank holidays?
You would be surprised how many times teachers are asked this by academies and private classes alike. Some people want to do it some people don’t. I prefer not to be asked because I spend my weekends planning for the following week whilst trying to defrag from the previous week. A response to refusing this generous offer can often be “well, if you managed your time better you could work on weekends” If I managed by time better I could also finish that book I want to read and get jogging again but…. I am a human too.
3.Do you enjoy your 3 month holiday? (i.e you don’t work a lot do you?)
Firstly, we all have to admit that following the academic year does have its perks. However, a lot of teachers find it impossible to make ends meet throughout summer and often do summer schools or carry on their private lessons. It can be a mad dash at the end of the academic year trying to find that lucrative summer school job that might give you the chance to earn a bit of money over the summer. And if you happen to live in Spain you quickly find out that no one does anything over the summer anyway so they can get on their bike.
4.Can you do a conversation class with my 4 year old?
Perhaps a minor exaggeration but how many times have we been asked to do the impossible? I will try my best but I am not sure I can help you pass your B2 exam this year when you aren’t really B1 yet. Sometimes the expectations put on us are too high and sometimes the learners’ expectations are too high also. Aim for the stars but be a little realistic whilst you’re at it.
5. If you are in our country why don’t you speak our language?
This is a funny one and one I’ve been asked so many times in Spain. My response is a mixture of “did that guy really just ask me that?” and “it’s just as well I don’t have the skills yet to take you down”. I am here to help people in your country learn a language that is vital in the grand scheme of things. I am learning your language, trust me, in Spain it makes things so much easier to get some of the language under your belt; everyone who comes to Spain quickly realises this.