Apr 29, 2009

Aha! Focus!

I wanted to give this blog a specific mission statement. Something more general than, say, "Anne's views on varied stuff." So, this blog will be focused in its aim, and discuss a topic that interests me greatly; teaching, traveling, and making both happen at once.

Initially, I went into ESL teaching after university, as a means to live abroad and travel to cool places. I had caught the travel bug as a student on backpacking trips to Europe, and my primary post-graduation goal was to see more of the world. The job was a means to and end, and I gave it little more thought than I would a barista gig at Starbucks, or an assistant's job in an office.

I went to live and work in Thailand, and it opened my eyes. Families with very little money were sending their children to ESL schools so they could have bright careers in tourism, Thailand's main industry. While I had, in retrospect, no idea what I was doing, I decided that I needed to take my job seriously. I needed to respect these students, and the sacrifices their families were making. In the process, I realized that heck, I like teaching.

Some people are capital-T teachers, and though they might live overseas in exotic locations, it's the job that gives them drive. Some people are capital-T travelers, who fund their explorations with ESL teaching jobs, and immerse themselves passionately into new cultures. Some people have a passing interest in both, and find themselves griping about their students at the expat pub, applying to grad schools back home, and looking forward to getting "back on track" after a year overseas. There's nothing wrong with these folks, but the groups that interests me are the ones who are passionate about other cultures, about teaching, and about learning, on behalf of their students as well as themselves.

I would put myself as a teacher/traveler, in the middle of the two camps. In this blog, I will talk about both topics and the way they overlap.

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