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9 Times TEFL Teachers Just Don't Have Time for Your Crap

by Sarah Elizabeth Jones Jan 9, 2015
1. When you think their job is just sunshine and traveling.

One common misconception about ESL teachers is that the job is all traveling and partying and very little work. In actual fact, the hours worked next to the disgustingly low pay rates makes me want to vomit. Unlike other teachers, ESL teachers are often paid by the hour and thus all the additional hours of the week that go into planning and marking aren’t subsidized by a lovely pay packet.

They don’t get the same lovely amount of holiday off a year, and their job is also looked at as a bit more of a joke — all this is topped off by having very little job security. So if they want to get off their faces with their colleagues in the middle of the week, and at the weekend, or if they want to pop off on a quick trip, then they deserve it god damn it.

2. When you look down your nose at them.

Oooh look at you with your fancy graduate job, first mortgage, and puppy. Seriously mate, sod the hell off.

3. When they correct you on something and you look at them with hate.

You’ve come to their class in order to learn — they are the expert. Yes, you might be older than them and you might have been saying “I took a coffee” instead of “I had a coffee” for all of your English-speaking days, but you are wrong. The saying is wrong. Yes, people understand what you’re sayin,g but it is wrong — and so if you didn’t want to be taught to say things the right way, then why on Earth would you come to this class in the first place? Leave.

4. When you judge them for being younger than you.

Dear all mature students,

Your teacher is most likely going to be younger than you are. Accept it and get ready to learn some English. They’ve been hired for this job because they know what they are doing and are going to teach you well. There are thousands of people who apply for the role that your teacher has. Don’t you think that if they couldn’t do it just as well (if not better) than someone else, then the role would have been given to them?


Every ESL teacher who has ever been second guessed by a student because of their age.

5. When they’re planning to use a great game to take up a lovely chunk of the lesson and it ends far too quickly.

As an ESL teacher you quickly learn to build two very important friendships to help you with your lessons. One of those friendships is with games and the other one is with videos. When your class just up and decide that they don’t like your best mate, “Stop the bus,” that you’re introducing them to, because they’ve already played it in a different class, it outright destroys your day.

6. When technology fails them.

So there you find the ESL teacher on Sunday with the worst hangover in the history of all hangovers, when they come to the sudden realization that their Monday morning is due to start super early and they have absolutely nothing prepared, nor enough energy or pizzazz to set about preparing for such a ghastly hour… And then it hits them. They have Frozen on their hard drive. Yes, yesssss! This is the miracle of all miracles that they were asking for. AND bonus points: They already have a worksheet prepared from a previous class that they can set the kids for homework.

Monday morning comes around like a cruel mistress, but it doesn’t even faze them as they walk through the halls knowing that they’ve totally got this shit covered. But then, no. The projector’s broken.

7. When you think that empty space on their forehead says “Dictionary.”

I realise that they have taken the job because they are supposed to be the master of their craft which is the English language, but cut them a little bit of slack from time to time. The estimate by The Global Language Monitor on January 1, 2014 had the English language at 1,025,109.8 words. That’s a lot of words. So believe it or not, there are certain moments when teachers can’t recall some words — so stop getting your knickers in a twist when they don’t know an obscure enough synonym for ‘grateful’.

8. When you want to know every single exception to when you can use the past perfect or the present continuous, or exactly when a pronoun should be possessive.


9. When you insist on translating everything your teacher is saying for the other students, but you’re actually getting it wrong.

Your teacher probably knows how to say what they’re teaching you in your own language, but they’re choosing not to because then you will be thinking in your language and not in English…which is the whole point for you being in that lesson.

So when you’re insisting on translating “Bizarre” to “Bizarro” to the rest of the class, you are doing nothing but teaching people the wrong thing. Yes they sound extremely similar, but “Bizarro” means dashing or brave, which is definitely not what “Bizarre” means. The exact translation you are looking for is “extraño,” so stop it.

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