Autumn’s Adventures

Cursed by my native tongue
December 15, 2008, 11:56 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Today was my last day of giving English exams and I am oh so glad.  One day out of the blue some woman called me and asked me if I would be an examiner for her English exams because she needed a native speaker of English and didn’t have one.  I didn’t know what to do.  Part of me knew it wasn’t going to pay well and I couldn’t set my own price without looking like the way over priced bitchy girl from America.  Another part of me had no desire to give English exams.  None what-so-ever.  And the last part of me, the weakest part, felt guilty saying no.  I had no strong reasons not to help them with their English tests so  this weak part of me made the rest of my rational brain think that there was no real reason not to do them.  I mean yes, I have my personal commitments to my work, my yoga and just my general well being and happiness but somehow the English teacher who needed my help was overriding my own self-needs.  DAMN IT!  I said yes and knew I wouldn’t enjoy what was to come.  The pay was 10% of the fee that the students pay for the test which was 270 pesos for each of the 2 kids in the test.  This means I would get paid 54.26 pesos or $15-18 dollars in total depending on the exchange rate.  I ended up spending about 3 hours on the test, preparing for it, meeting the students ahead of time and the actual test itself.  So that means I made $6/hour.
After I spoke with this teacher about giving her exams she told me that another teacher who owns a different English institute also needed a native speaker and she paid better than most teachers.  I was thinking to myself “probably not much better than $6/hour” but I said ok, I would talk to her.  Turns out she charges less per student for the exam but she had way more students.  I ended up spending about 3 or 4 days on the tests, one day lasting from 2:30pm – 8:30pm straight.  In the end I got paid roughly 500 pesos from her but I definitely worked hard for that $150 dollars.  I also had to speak in British English because that was what the kids were used to learning. I was like…WTF??? I’m a NATIVE speaker and if they can’t distinguish between British and American English then you are not teaching them properly.  But I did it anyway, wondering what the point was of me being there anyway since they were going to grade them how they thought of them in total and not of how they did on the oral exam or not of how I thought of them.
Half of the students weren’t prepared or had not studied for the test and had to come back and retake the test.  Some students took forever to answer the questions or just sat awkwardly in silence, making it so they went over their time and caused me to stay later than I was getting paid for.  In total, the experience was more a pain in my ass than something I was happy to have done.  I hope they don’t ask me to do this next semester or next year because I will have to decline.  I’d rather sell my body on the street than give English exams.  The one thing I did learn was that I don’t think I would enjoy being an English teacher or tutor at all.  It’s too stressful and I just don’t enjoy it at all. I’m glad I didn’t decide to go that route for work. I’m much better at what I am doing now and I enjoy it.


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