I once (against my will) had to make a very public presentation about my journey from university graduate to my current job role as an ESL teacher. I was knee-deep in the Shonda Rhimes cinematic universe at the time – or the SRCU, if you will – so I cheekily titled my presentation: “How To Get Away With… Teaching.”

I like teaching ESL to children because they are fun to have in class and they absorb knowledge like a proverbial sponge. What I don’t like, on the other hand, is giving presentations to other teachers and higher-ups, where they get to judge me outside of my known skill-set of teaching but on things like…

  • public speaking skills
  • how to deliver a presentation in public
  • speeches with an audiovisual aid

… do you see a pattern?

I don’t like public speaking.

More specifically, I don’t like being put on the spot and be expected to perform well coherently in front of those who are essentially strangers. When it comes to teaching a class, it follows a very simple order where teachers scaffold vocabulary, sentence structures, grammar, and so on. Each lesson builds up from the previous one, and each year group content builds up from the previous year group’s content.

Easy stuff. Pretty simple.

Talking about something arbitrary like “my teaching journey” is a little less so. Who would even like to hear how I became an ESL teacher? By this, I mean listen to my story with the intention of following my footsteps: graduate university, faff around in the marketing sector, decide to run away to rural Spain, somehow find out you’re decent with teaching and apply for a job in China… it’s not quite a straightforward Point A to Point B road trip.

Just like Shonda Rhime’s hit Netflix show, I somehow managed to get away with murder teaching. I show up to work, write up a lesson plan, execute said plan during class, all the while laughing and joking with my little kids who are Adorable As Fuck. And apparently I do good enough work that I got promoted late last year to a Senior Teacher role.

consider me as middle management, y’all

I’m ran ragged enough as it is juggling twenty classes per week, plus the extra responsibilities of being a senior teacher such as…

  • training new staff members
  • dealing with management meetings
  • organising staff-development activities
  • other things middle-management people do

…that I’m not quite sure how on earth I would find the time to deal with this thing I saw in my email earlier this week.

Remember that “how to get away with” theme from before? I don’t understand how I’m targeted for another promotion a mere six months after getting the role of Senior Teacher.

I like to think it’s because I do good work, et cetera, et cetera – but there’s that evil little voice at the back of my mind whispering, “They’re setting you up for failure.” This is the voice of the so-called Impostor Syndrome, by the way, since I like to personify my little faults and limitations like my life isn’t complicated enough.

I thrive in a fast-paced environment and I enjoy having a varied workday, like how my Wednesdays from this month would be very different compared to my Wednesdays the following month. I feel that this job advert is a little too jarring, however; it upsets the balance just as I’ve gotten my feet under me as a middle-management person.

If anything, I’m not even 100% sure I’ve got the handle on this whole Senior Teaching Thing anyway, so what makes anyone else in my office think I can handle the application and the subsequent interview and possible training that being a Director of Studies requires?

They’re setting you up for failure.

Mr. Syndrome, first name: Impostor

I’m very panicked right now. I’m currently running a (metaphoric) marathon and this hurdle has tripped me up. I’m still running, of course, but in my head I’m thinking: “What the hell? I was doing so well keeping pace and now this happens?”

Smash Mouth was right. The years start coming and they won’t stop coming.

I got fed the rules and I hit the ground running.

I hate to continue this All Star riff I got going on, but I suppose that from here on out, I just have to “get my game on, go play”? Get the show on and get paid?


To my readers: What do you guys think? Am I being paranoid, overthinking things, or something else altogether? Or all three? Tell me in the comments below and please, don’t hesitate to rip me a new one. I need some clarity right about now.

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