As I come close to my 20th anniversary of teaching English as a foreign language I can’t help but reflect on the nature of this business and the quality of the people that join its ranks. When I started working in Berlitz back in 1995 I did so out of need. I was a struggling artist (guess I still am) and needed a day job. What I didn’t realize was that I was going to find my dharma there.

I love teaching.

I love the sense of purpose, the people you meet, the lives you get to change. I guess that’s the reason why I’ve taken all sorts of courses and certifications to improve my teaching skills and try to become a decent instructor at the end of the day. I believe the only way to enjoy and improve is to teach, teach and then teach some more.

I guess this goes for teachers of most subjects.

Then there’s the other side of the coin.

As a company director I get to meet a lot of people who think this is a transitional job. And perhaps it is, for some. I mean, I can’t judge young folks who like the allure of traveling to tropical lands and get to make some money because they’re native speakers of the world’s current lingua franca.

But are they good teachers?

Some do really well because they’re nice people. But, once again, are they seriously committed to their student’s progress?

For crying out loud, I started teaching because I needed to support my other passion. So I guess I can’t be so critical of others. Maybe they are just starting the road to becoming great educators.

Who knows. Time will tell.