The TEFL Life: A TEFL blog

a story about bad grammar and non-existent punctuation and my TEFL adventures

the joys of teaching adults

For me, teaching adults is the best situation ever. If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you’ll know I’m not the biggest fan of teaching kidlets and I just find adults a lot more entertaining and interesting. My definition of adults, though, does extend to include teenagers, so basically I guess I enjoy teaching learners that can give me back something intellectual. I enjoy having a laugh and making jokes in class, and so I need an audience that will understand me and my humour; otherwise I think I must be a very dull teacher if you don’t follow my jokes 😦

So on the plus side is the intellect thing, and the fact that we can have meaningful conversations on in-depth topics and not just colour between the lines. Just today my teenagers and I had a good discussion on the Amazon rainforest, the effects of deforestation and how we could try deal with the issue. Very impressed by their young, optimistic minds. As humans with life experience, older learners are able to bring knowledge to the table before we have even done anything, which is awesome because it means I have a pool of knowledge which I can use to teach them language.

On the downside, though, adults have opinions and are not shy to speak their mind, especially when it comes to English classes. Even if a student may not have much to contribute to a discussion on tourist destinations in their country, rest assured they will find their voice if they don’t like the coursebook or their homework is not returned quick enough.

And then there’s the drama. Drama with little kids is usually related to hair-pulling or the bathroom, but adults have a tendency to bring their drama with them into the classroom and it can be quite heavy. In my experience of teaching adults I’ve ran the whole gamut from falling in love to pregnancy to abortion and everything in between. Students seem to gravitate towards their English teachers in order to offload their life problems, as if speaking English gives us wisdom and grace to deal with such issues in a tactful, intelligent manner. Those can be tough days.

But I still stick to my decision to teach only adults. When I have my own kids, I think that’ll be enough to deal with. 🙂


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This entry was posted on July 14, 2015 by in General TEFL and tagged , , , .
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