The Lingo Ledger

A Love for Language Teaching

Alex PergramsLingo Live teacher Alex Pergrams explains why he loves teaching English.

To me, being an English teacher is like being a guide through a gateway to another world. Having the opportunity to influence another person’s life by sharing your knowledge of the intricacies of language is an experience like no other. It’s the feeling of fulfillment that comes with being responsible for improving another person’s life, no matter how gradually. I get this feeling from all of my students, regardless of skill level.

For many of my beginning-level students, many of them have only learned English for testing accuracy rather than actual communicative fluency. It is only through our lessons that they have the opportunity to speak with a native speaker in a natural setting. Seeing their grasp of the language grow and evolve over time is an adventure that constantly brings new surprises.

Teaching advanced students is equally fulfilling. Being able to fully understand and converse in English at a near-native pace, they are able to pick up a shocking amount of English through casual conversation, and the questions that arise from these conversations regarding the complexities of the language are both fun and challenging. Through these conversations, I am able to learn about other cultures in a direct way that would not be possible otherwise. Because even advanced students are often unfamiliar with commonly used English phrases and idioms, it’s always entertaining to laugh with my students about the dual meanings behind these expressions. Humor is always the most difficult thing to develop when learning a foreign language, so I feel it’s always better to start on it early, for both the student’s enjoyment and language development

It’s always a good time when students come to me with very specific, and often strange, lesson requests. For example, one of my students wanted to know how she could kiss up to her English-speaking boss without it being too obvious. We spent the lesson learning various terms of endearment, while also practicing the art of subtlety in English. Another student wanted to know ways he could become more comfortable interrupting and being interrupted during work meetings as well as casual conversations. It is these kinds of requests that make every day both interesting and rewarding.

One of the best parts of being a teacher is, regardless of how temporary the student, the bond you share lasts a lifetime. If they ever utilize any part of your teachings, you have changed their life for the better, if only slightly. I try to keep this in mind, to make sure the student has at least one new language tool after every lesson. While teaching can be time-consuming and a lot of hard work, in the end the satisfaction I receive from it is more than worth it.

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