Have you ever felt isolated as an English teacher?

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Have you ever missed your unknown colleagues – other English teachers? Have you ever wished you had a nice office? Are the English language books heavy?

Alienation and loneliness versus perfect freedom – possible side effects of being a company English teacher.

The problem I would like to deal with mostly affects English teachers who visit their students who are employees at different companies. These English teachers like me visit the student at their office arriving just before the lesson and are supposed to leave the premises soon after finishing it. This way of working may result in a number of psychology related problems that need to be taken seriously as they might lead to burnout, loneliness and alienation.

Heavy books, 4 to 5 hours travelling a day, English lessons at three to four different companies, very early and late evening lessons without a desk, kitchen and other basic facilities. Is it familiar to you? To a large number of English teachers this is the everyday reality. What to do to make life easier and the day more enjoyable? I can only tell my story and give advice based on my experience.

Lilla Udvarhelyi in BudapestLet me start with some technical and practical advice: buy a good quality cabin-size trolley bag which has room for books, laptop, umbrella, food and drink. Don’t forget you really need everything people have with them on a sightseeing holiday but a backpack can cause bad pains in your back and legs. You also need the best and most comfortable shoes – do not save money on shoes, they are for your well-being. Buy a light netbook with mobile internet access – this way you may replace heavy books. Always take some food and drink and a good book as the student may be late. You may even watch a film on the netbook while the student is in a meeting and you are waiting.

And now some psychology. As an English teacher I had my burnout about three years ago. I almost gave up. But then I realized a lot of perfect things about this lifestyle. For me the most important is freedom. I am my own boss and that compensates for many things. In addition to this, I do not think there is another job in which you can meet so many different people with so many professions. Focus on what you learn from them – so exciting. Walk in the city, listen to music and enjoy the sun and the relatively empty shops when others are working. Find a good cafe and sandwhich bar where you can relax. Take the heavy bag as a way to stay fit – no extra kilos due to an office job. Make a list of the positive things. Believe me there are a lot. If you feel lonely, try to arrange meetings with other English teachers. We work like ghosts coming and going and never meeting but this can easily be changed.

If you are an English teacher and all this is familiar to you, please write a comment. All tips are welcome and all problems can be dealt with.

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