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Some of you know that I am now living in Saudi Arabia. If you read my earlier post, you know about my "Day Job" during the school year. Now that school is finishing up for the summer I have time to comment on my "Night Job". I still must work four hours each morning, but it is much easier than during the school year.
Every Saturday through Wednesday night, I am teaching English to adults in a Private English Language Institute. People pay to take English classes here after they have finished work. I teach a number of the police through a contract with the Ministry of Interior. I also teach engineers and college students, as well as some younger people not yet employed.
This Blog Post uses some words that you may not know yet. It is mostly at the intermediate to upper intermediate language level, other than the new advanced level words. If you use your English dictionary, you should be able to understand my story.
Teaching adults is usually much easier than children for several reasons:
1st. Many are very motivated to learn English. When people want to learn it is much easier to teach.
2nd. This is not something required of them, they or their employers are paying for the classes. People usually hate to waste money and are more likely to attend.
3rd. Most of these learners already have a better English language background than the average schoolchild.
I really enjoy teaching my adult classes. Most of the students are very good and improve very quickly. There are some thorns along with the roses, so I will point out some minor difficulties so you don't think it is perfect all the time.
Teaching adults also has some drawbacks (difficulties) here in Saudi Arabia. Some of the drawbacks are cultural and others are individual in nature:
1st. A minimum of two hours per day, five days per week is recommended to teach the "Direct English" program properly. Here we have a cultural bias against attending classes on Wednesday night, which is the night before their weekend. Many feel the same as people do on Friday night where the weekend begins on Saturday. These students only receive 4 days of instruction instead of 5 days (a loss of 20% of the class time) even if they are on time for all their other classes.
2nd. Three of the five daily prayer times overlap with the evening teaching schedule. Therefore, even if a student arrives promptly, he can miss as much as 10-15 minutes for prayer during a one-hour class. We do our best to work around this in scheduling classes but the prayer times change along with the day length.
3rd. Some adults are only concerned with getting a certificate, which can help their pay rate. In these cases, they may be very lazy about attending class and only come enough to get a passing mark instead of trying to learn more English. This is more often the case when an employer is paying for the class.
Cultural difficulties are something that only need to be worked around. Every culture is different and I would never expect someone to miss an important part of their religious life. The preference for beginning the weekend early is something that I understand, but am unable to control with some of the students.
The goal of getting an English completion certificate is not bad. I do disagree with the plan of some students who come late to classes or miss classes entirely because they don't actually care about learning English, but rather just want to pass an exam and get a certificate. Laziness is found in every culture and we can also find cheaters everywhere. Please understand that these students are just a few and most students try very hard.
My favorite job is unpaid and I do it just because I love to do it, when I get time on the internet. That "job" is interacting with all of you English Club members. I can't imagine many of the members of My English Club deliberately missing an English class, even if someone else had paid for it. That is why I love my friends here so much. You all really care about learning English, just like the best of my adult students. I hope that some day you all get the chance to have some classes like those that I teach here. The students who come to class and study move very quickly toward better conversational English.
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