Why TESL? Looking back at the question I asked myself before I decided that I wanted to take on that road, I was reminded of many things:
1) I see the old me in a lot of people struggling to learn the English Language.
2) I want to show that learning language is a fun experience.
3) I would like to introduce a new way to learn the language, since nowadays the English Language and the Islam subject is like a second subject – something most people take granted for.
4) I want to show that passing the subject is NOT EVERYTHING, but understanding it is everything.
Everyday I would meet people who come up to me and ask, “How do you master the English language?” Something that I always recommend is: practicing. Reason why a lot of people struggle with any kind of subject or language is that they don’t use it in everyday life. It is only for the sake of exams. It is not a very good habit, since knowledge learnt but not used is a HUGE waste.
I won’t say that I had it very easy – because my road to English was not on a highway. It was a long 5 years of summer class, learning back to kindergarten books, to simple novels and learning the old English. I am still reading Sherlock Holmes book (for a year now, maybe more) and it is by no way modified. Hardcore old language.
That’s why I wanted to be a teacher in the first place. Maybe a lecturer, but I just wanted to teach. I wanted to show a different side of English, and I want the upcoming generation to appreciate language as much as the older generations did. (Since in today’s age, we look up more to Science and Technology). Since I’m by no means a student of a language course (and no subject I take since this semester and next involve language), I sometimes wonder if I can still take on that road. If according to Amin Idris, if your dreams aren’t CRAZY enough, it isn’t BIG enough. I want to give something to society(and the country), before I cease to exist. For myself, I still love English, prefer English books, most of the time I think in English (that’s why when I try to speak in Malay, the words just don’t come), and I listen in English mostly every day. Even lectures on the religion.
People might say, “You need to appreciate your mother tongue!” or “Japan stressed on their language and look where they are now!” Sometimes I would get the, “You need to read more in Malay,” such and such. And people have the right to say what they want, but I won’t change myself for other people, or what they say. Even if you master your mother tongue, but if you can’t understand what outsiders say, you put yourself at a disadvantage. I know it is a sensitive matter, so I won’t go on about it.
Lastly, respect those who with knowledge, especially those who have given all their life for the knowledge they seek and have. We are in by no means at the level of talking bad about them. Br. Omar Suleiman would say, “At least respect them on the basis of seniority” and I agree with him. Sometimes we love to talk bad about people, about the things they do or did, about what they say, such and such. But we don’t appreciate the fact that those with knowledge are different from those without knowledge. So don’t put yourself in the latter category. Smile.