5 things not to ask an EFL teacher (part 2)


Back by popular demand is the ‘5 things not to ask an EFL teacher (part 2)’ but this time with a twist. This time we will be talking about ‘5 things that EFL teachers need to have tattooed on their forehead’… Yes, tattoos on the forehead seem like a painful idea, but for the sinners and martyrs of our most humble industry some things just need to be out there for all to see, and what better way than getting what you really think, and want, tattooed on your head…

1). ‘I don’t get paid enough for this.’

This is a given for any EFL teacher thinking of getting a tattoo in an intimate facial area. We’ve all been there: a long day of students mispronouncing everything and adults boring you in long conversation classes about their lives and jobs. Sometimes we get some golden students that we want to spend all our time with but then there is Pedro crying because Juan hit him, and as you turn your back your boss walks in for an impromptu observation, and Maria decides to stand up, stumble over to the door, and vomit everywhere. It’s at this point that you can look in a mirror at your tired reflection and see your mantra brutally pasted on your head… ‘I don’t get paid enough for this’. We all know you don’t, I definitely don’t, but it’s the camaraderie that gets us through.

2). Subject+verb+noun

How many times have I said’ don’t say… insert infuriating English error…’. You try and try to get it through to the students, you follow your plan, and make sure they practice it in a safe environment, instilling them with confidence , and then for some unknown reason, as they are leaving the class, you hear it… that damn error you had worked so hard on. There is nothing you can do the damage is done, you tried, and today you didn’t make it, but there is always tomorrow. Good Luck

3).’ Sure thing boss’

I’ve been there too many times to even care now. It’s time to leave and the boss comes rocking in with stiff legs, from sitting down all day, and asks you to stay longer to do another class or take the bloody bins out. Wouldn’t it be easier to just get ‘sure thing boss’ put on your forehead so you could simply point and be done with it? I would like that but I don’t have guts or the time to get it done, I’m just too busy covering.

4). ‘When, where, and how much?’

Maybe a tattoo on your forehead is a bit drastic for this phrase but you should at least have a business card that you can hand out when someone asks for a private class. There doesn’t need to be an artful dance or a negotiation, it should be simple and straightforward: tell me when, tell me where and I will tell you how much. Instead of wasting your breath you simply pull up your fringe and their first lesson has begun as they read the cheesy font, and decipher the words through the heavy black ink that made you cry.

5). ‘It’s been a long day can you maybe f… go away?’

I don’t know how big your forehead is but mine is mockingly small so perhaps this one is a bit too long to get it bold and brazen, bang on the forehead, but it does complement the first point, and ties this post up in a neat little bow. My rationale for this is that sometimes nay most days you really wish you could put simply and effectively that is has been another long day, and can people just kindly… fuck off.

To round this all up if you do get any of these tattooed on your forehead post it in the comments below and I will ordain you a level 100 EFL teacher, well done. But as much as I jest, it’s tough out there and through the summer, in particular, we need to stand by each other and help each other as much as possible and remember as Nikos Kazantzakis said:

I hope for nothing

I fear nothing

I am free


Author: Teaching in Spain

Two teachers who like to write about travelling, and you guessed it, teaching. One of us is from England and one of us from Greece. If you like what we write then subscribe and enjoy!

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