I used to think I could survive in a cave on berries and grass, occasionally re-joining humanity and breaking bread with the villagers like my ancestors did, but that endless frost nipping at my central nervous system proved me wrong.
I was a hermit and missed seeing friends, missed celebrations and holidays. I was teaching a Literacy Level ESL class for the school board. Teaching and reflecting on how I spent 10 years studying French, one summer in French immersion in Quebec and now I parlay du rien. Nada. Nicht. This led me to send my musings on language learning to Contact Magazine, and the nice editor there offered me a column. I plan to do all my heavy thinking in these pieces, working on essays that I can eventually collect in a book called Speaka Da English? As you can tell by the title, I'm looking to corner that lucrative academic market. One foot in the door, the other one to chew on. Stay flexible, is all I'm saying.
Here's what got to me about so many of the textbooks used in teaching ESL: apparently, everyone in Canada plays tennis. Even researching grammar quizzes on-line that I tried to adapt, I came across "How often do you play tennis?" and "________ plays tennis." I've met one tennis-playing Canuck my whole life, but maybe I hang out in all the wrong gyms. By which I mean, if you think that's me on the treadmill or bike, it's my doppelgänger. I've been told we look a lot alike.
The job was amazing, challenging, engaging and exhausting. I knew the stress was getting to me when I dreamt I had to give a presentation on "Foundations that Influence Success in the ESL Literacy Level Classroom," and the audience consisted of a few of my students, my TESL teacher/program director, a site manager from the school board and Sir Ian Mckellen. He seemed extremely interested in my stats about making sure the students were well-fed and comfortable.
Good times, good times. Good life, really.