How often do you hear those magical ‘thank you’ words at the end of a
lesson, a term, or even the end of the year? I’m not talking about
adult students (well, some of them), I’m talking about your average teenager, and even
some of the younger learners.
When I lived in Bangkok the students were so appreciative. Thai kids
were great. They had respect for their teachers. Parents made sure their
children thanked the teacher, and at times bought them gifts. I used to think
that when the students stood up when I entered the class was a bit over the top, but it
was lovely at the end of term when they thanked me for all the hard work, even
if it was with a fluffy pink towel.
I think Chinese students are generally appreciative too. I taught a
fantastic bunch of teenagers in Australia. Fair enough, it took them a couple
of weeks to open up, but they really showed their appreciation and made
teaching them a dream.
So what is it with the younger Spanish students? I’m not saying there a
bad bunch. Where I teach, in a small village on the outskirts of Seville, they are good fun, hard workers and polite (generally).
But they lack that ability to show a bit of appreciation. I’ve been over here
eight years now and at the end of the year maybe two or three students will
take the time to say thanks and wish me a good holiday.
The parents of the children are all fantastic, so why don’t the
youngsters get it? This year I had a couple of emails from my FCE students
letting me know their results and thanking me; I was over the moon. While doing PET examining this week a couple of the adults that I didn’t know thanked me for my
I’m not sure how appreciative I was at school, I can’t remember, but I’m
sure we always used to make effort to at least say goodbye to our teachers
at the end of term and every now and then chip in to buy the teacher a present.
I guess it’s changed these days, but why should it? I’m not in this for the
money; it’s the satisfaction of seeing students improve their English. But when you
put your heart and soul into something and it feels like you don’t get much
back then you start to question things…
Maybe I’m being too harsh. Maybe I should just get on with my job and be
quiet. Or maybe I should start teaching my students more manners, making them
appreciate they have the opportunities to learn English to make their lives
better. Try to show them that it doesn’t hurt to say thanks every now
I'm not asking for a lot. I don't want a new teddy bear, some horrible gloves, or a bull ornament for my garden (got one already), I just want a small thank you, even just a mumbled one would be fine.
I’d be interested to know what you guys think, especially teachers based
in Spain, but also from others around the world. Do you think your students show
their appreciation enough? In what ways do they? Are you even bothered or am I
ranting about nothing?
Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for your comment!
Labels: appreciative students, life as a TEFL teacher, life in the classroom, tefl reflections, why become a tefl teacher