Don’t worry, it won’t be a motivational article 😀 I am quite pragmatic for these things…
- Keep your teaching ID with you at all times. The local one is given by your university, but you can get an international one called “International Teacher Identity Card” and yes, I also feel weird as a teacher using an ID with a grammatical mistake in the name… Anyhow… there might be a new security guard at some building, some police control on the road to your job or an overzealous librarian at some archive… In all those situations you will feel happy to have a document saying: “see? I am a teacher… it’s cool… you can let me pass”.
- Prepare disconnected lectures as an emergency resource. There will be a day when you forget your portfolio at home, in a taxi or wherever and that moment can’t mean Game Over for you. The best way to cope with those situations is to keep emergency contents and lectures on your phone. The lectures need to be able to match the program and, if possible, they should have 10% more quality than your usual lectures. So the situation will be something like: “Yes, I know I said that today we would see irregular verbs in Imperfect of Subjunctive, but instead we will focus on errr… emergency lecture #3 writing business letters appropriately. Where is my portfolio you ask? Errr…”
- Try to have documents of EVERYTHING 🙂 Especially of things you don’t usually do. One professor of Linguistics on holidays, another one on a maternity leave, the third one with a flu and BOOM! You find yourself covering for a subject that isn’t your specialty. Three years later a job offer in a random country sets as desirable criteria to demonstrate the ability to include modules of Linguistics in your Language Pedagogy course and then you will be happy you can provide them with an official document of such ability and not just with a: “yeah, I nail that… we cool dawg?” 😀
- First Aid training. It’s statistically possible in a job where we teach dozens and dozens of people to have a situation where someone faints, cuts, falls, has an episode of spontaneous combustion… So being prepared for such an eventuality seems like a good strategic step. Forty hours will get you the European First Aid certification from the Red Cross, and as a perk you qualify to ride in ambulances if you decide to volunteer with them. Plus, in the event they pick another candidate in a job vacancy or research project, and some accident happens, you can always say: “Do you see what happens when you choose the wrong guy? People die!!! And it’s all your fault, Clarise from Human Resources!” 🙁 (Die, or most likely… faint because the air conditioning stopped working in a summer course or so)
- Food / Water / Breaks. Having food always with you will keep your sugar levels high; give you extra energy etc. which is good for this job. Water is just as important, staying hydrated can avoid fatigue and at the end of the day you dodge lots of bullets. THE BREAKS are really important… If you find a quiet place, close your eyes and disconnect with cool music (if you like piña coladaaaaas…turitutituuuu), you will have renewed energy and make an epic comeback to the class with a fresh mind 🙂