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The Tao of Teaching: It Begins...

By Tom Wiseman

Hi everyone.

My name is Tom Wiseman, I was born in Oxford a quarter of a century ago. I am about to embark upon an English teaching career which was born in a classroom on an Oxfordian side street 6 months ago. The gestation, however, was a much longer process, and it all sprung from the seed that is my lifelong love of language.

I am to be teaching for a year (or yearabouts) in the town of San Luis Potosi in Mexico. I wanted to share my experience so I approached the editor of Gradspot about writing a travel blog. He said, "In a word: probably yes"…because he is my great friend Gritz.

You might well be wondering about the title—a bit much from a rookie, huh? Well, true, my wealth of experience adds up to next to nothing, but you must realise that the usefulness of a vessel is in it's emptiness. I'm just here to share what I am growing through.

Since my TEFL course I have been searching the world for a job. I made a little headway with an Argentinean school but was told that they would need to "ask if all the girls were comfortable living with a male teacher". I promptly sent them my picture and never heard from them again!

I finally found a small school in SLP and set about preparing to leave. I can safely say I have never achieved so much in 2 weeks! I had to:

* Exchange life savings for aeroplane tickets, and insurance, and a hundred and one other hidden expenses.

* Have a disease filled needle jabbed into my arm.

* Research my destination.

* Get my certificate “apostilled.” My first thought was WTF?! My 2nd thought was WWJD? But it's not that sort of apostle. No, "apostilled" means paying for my teaching certificate to have a little certificate of its own which certifies that it is in fact a certificate. Bureaucracy at its finest and I hadn't even left England yet!

* Pack! Too many clothes and a small library in one huge bag!

And, of course, say goodbye to my family and friends.

During this time I was also mentally disconnecting myself from my life in England, which wasn't actually so difficult as it might seem and has proved to be a very liberating experience.

I have now touched down in the New World, I doubt I will ever again have such a day as that on which I finally left home. Everything is all so overwhelming, every sight and sound is new. I cannot give thought to anything but the immediate, the now. It is as if a great wave has washed over me.

I am 25 years old, with a loving family. I have many wonderful friends whom I shan't be seeing for a very long time and I am completely in love with my beautiful girlfriend who lives thousands of miles away. I have just arrived in a New World where I do not speak a word of the language. I am to live and work with people I have never before set eyes upon, and I feel...NOTHING!

Join me next time on my adventures in the New World…


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