Learning by Accident

Lately, I have been teaching subjects I would have never taught before. At first, this came as a shock, and a little scary to be honest with you. However, and with the passing of days, I started to learn as much if not more than my students.

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I am talking about all those “advanced” names for some subjects. Names such as “critical thinking”, “ personal finance” and so on. Basically, and as the quote says, that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” (Quote from Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, ca. 1600), all these advanced names might threaten your perspective about the way you might teach something as an ESL teacher.

For example, the way we say things and the way they are taught to us. Let’s say I want to learn about writing. Who is the right person for the job, teaching-wise, I mean. You would say that the right person for the job is that one who is an expert in writing methods. Right? Well, not really.

Please bear with me, and let me explain my point. According to Remco Knooihuizenon on his blog “Learning standard English by accident”, he mentions that “minority-language speakers probably didn’t learn standard English in schools, but by speaking to English speakers learned a variety of the language that looked like the standard simply because learning a language in a dialect mixture situation gets rid of “weird stuff”.

This shows my point exactly. When I started teaching “Personal finance” I knew the basics out of my own experience. However, and as I mentioned before, I have learned many things I didn’t know of a few weeks back. This kind of material I would normally never go for has more hidden treasures than any source you can possibly think of.

I have learned about writing the way I never did before. Little things like the use of commas, and unnecessary repetition. I have learned about the “sandwich” wiring method, such as simple concepts with so many ramifications. I have also learned about 401(K) and ROTH IRA. I have realized how much money I have wasted on frugal things; I should be thinking about my future instead of living the day by day.

In conclusion, I have come to realize that teaching these subjects, whatever they might be, is like winning the lottery. Or even so, like finding a treasure waiting to be found, but you never know what you are going to find. It is exciting nevertheless. 

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