Teaching English, Part II



former private here and there
suggest register needless to day
dismiss frozen nonetheless
sign up desperate heart skipped a beat
notion voice speechless
access commute shake/shook
offer academic concerned
awesome real-time demonstrate
stifled choppy articulate


The Private Student

It was the middle of June. Most of our students had gone away on their summer vacation. The number of classes dropped. Since I didn’t have a contract, I ended up substituting for the full-time teachers.

At this point I contacted a former, private student whom I had taught, and asked if he would like to continue having lessons.


“I’m sorry,” he replied, “but I’m taking online lessons now…”

My heart skipped a beat. I just stood there speechless — frozen…

“Why don’t you register to teach online,” he suggested, and gave me their web address.

At first I dismissed the notion of teaching online. But as my financial situation grew desperate, I signed up for the program.

Online Teaching

In the first live class, my voice shook; I had never really used Skype before.

But after a few sessions, I got used to it.

Soon I was getting more lessons and students (and making more money!).

No Boss

What’s more, I didn’t have to wear a suit. I didn’t need to commute to the language center, different companies and schools.

And best of all — NO boss!

I could work when I wanted, where I wanted (as long as there was internet access), with whom I wanted, and as much or as little as a wanted!

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

The Offer

In September, I received a phone call from the director of the language center. She offered me an in-company class.

“Oh thanks; but no thanks,” I replied to her. “You see, I’m teaching ONLINE now.”
“But…but…but…that’s not REAL teaching and learning,” she replied. “The only true teaching and learning is face-to-face…in person…in a classroom…with textbooks by professors from Oxford and Cambridge…”


Truth be told, I had begun having lessons with students who had attended the language center.

By the middle of the academic year, I was earning three times as much as I had in the language center. All from my laptop — from my kitchen table!

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

The Middle of the Academic Year

Then one evening, at the start of a lesson, one of my long-time students told me that this would be the last class we would be having.

I casually asked him why (I wasn’t really concerned; I had lots of students).


“Oh didn’t you hear?,” he replied. “Skype has come up with a program that makes real-time automatic translations between speakers of different languages! Isn’t that fantastic? It’s truly awesome!”

He then sent me a video link that demonstrated how it functioned.

“Wh…wh…what?!? that’s…that’s…impossible! That can’t be!” I said. “No, no, no…I mean…the voice sounds robotic, choppy and stifled. It’s not articulate, flowing or genuine. And besides, it messed up on the idioms, metaphors and figures of speech…”


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6. The teacher contacted his old, private student. Why did he contact his old, private student?

7. How did the teacher feel when his former student said he was taking online lessons? What happened?

8. Teaching online was much better than teaching in a classroom. Is this correct or wrong?

9. What happened when the director called the teacher? Describe her reaction.

10. Describe the reaction of the teacher when his student told him it would be their last lesson.

11. What is the moral or lesson of the story? What will happen in the future?
A. Computers, the internet and high-technology changed the way you work. Yes or no?

B. Have computers, the internet and high-technology disrupted or changed your lifestyle?

C. Are you quick to adapt to new technology?

D. Has new technology disrupted or destroyed old lifestyles?

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