Internship essay contest essay

I was actually not allowed to enter this essay because I didn’t fill the 120 hour minimum.  But I had fun writing this, and I hope you’ll have fun reading.

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“I’m not really sure what I want to do…I think I’ll just go teach English in China or Japan for now.”

“I want to go abroad…teaching English seems like the way to do it.”

“Well, if all else fails, I could always go teach English.”

I cringe inside every time I hear any of these phrases.  And as a cultural studies major with a lot of cultural studies friends, I hear these phrases very frequently.  In fact, almost every time “career plans” comes up as a conversation topic, I will most certainly be subject to one of these in some way, shape or form.  “Just” teach English? It sounds as if it’s an unskilled, mindless, routine job that anyone could do.  What about your poor students who have to put up with a less-than-enthusiastic teacher? Or worse, one that’s not prepared? That’s not fair to them, either.  I had developed an umbrage for people who said that, and I was certainly not going to be like those people, therefore, I was not considering teaching English.

Man plans, God laughs–I couldn’t find a regular summer job, and instead, I interned for EC San Francisco, a relatively new English language center close to my house.  I was assisting with student services and operations, meaning I filed paperwork, filled in starting and ending reports, prepared folders for new students, and input student information into the computer database.  I also had opportunities to observe classes, which I found to be unexpectedly interesting.  The teachers really enjoyed their work, and they had built good rapport with their students.  I was particularly impressed by one teacher who had been a dissatisfied engineer, thereby enrolling in a teacher training program, and completely changing jobs within one calendar year.  If every thoughtful gift he receives from each graduating student is a tribute to his success, then he is a very successful teacher.

There are ups and downs to every profession. The most important thing is to be happy in my job. The teachers with whom I interacted truly exuded career satisfaction.  Before leaving, most students expressed appreciation for their teachers.  It drew me back to the idea that teaching English would be an enjoyable, rewarding career.

Currently, I’m looking at publishing and editing, public relations, marketing, tourism, hospitality, journalism, and teaching English.

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