Category Archives: Northern Touch

We Want You!

Hello to the 60 or so people who read Ms.Fitouri’s blog. I am one of her colleagues at Teach for Palestine and when I joked with her about giving me a guest column I never expected I’d have to do it. Now I’m stuck writing this column on her laptop with the s key that sticks. I’ll just treat this column like I did my university work, wait until the day of the deadline and make something up.

How did I become a teacher in Palestine you ask? Well great question let’s run with that. When I was in university there would always be job fairs at the student centre. The usual business companies and what not would try to convince you why accounting was fun or how marketing was a creative process where you picked an old top 40 song to sell hotel rooms. The two that promised travel with little requirements were the military and teaching English abroad.

While Canada’s military might is not on the level of the USA’s juggernaut it still exists. They promised positions in exotic locales like Fort McMurray or Afghanistan and if I reached the rank of captain I may even get to use one of the 10 guns my armed forces own. The only problem with making this choice was the whole following orders thing. Maybe if there was a war in an interesting place I’d of signed up.

Teaching abroad stood out for me because I could go interesting places where I didn’t know the native language and demand that youth and adults alike speak English. Most places just wanted me to be a native speaker and have a degree not really carrying about much else. It was like being an imperialist or signing up for Vietnam. They needed bodies, especially in South East Asia, and if I could string together a sentence with an America, Canadian, Australian, or British accent I was a candidate. Well game on.

I’d encountered ESL teachers before in Beijing when I was there for a semester abroad. They complained about their students, talked politics, and when toasting all used different languages. The few I hanged around with knew all the best places to eat and bizarre vacation spots. Nothing compares to going to a zoo and feeding a tiger a live goat. The life they lived seemed fast and reckless, which I was used to, but done in a foreign setting, which made it seem hilarious. A night out involved; translating strange texts, eating insects, drinking Chinese moonshine, arguing with a butcher about the price of dog meat, entering karaoke competitions and having Nigerians offer you strange powders. Definitely something I could get used to.

Teaching in Palestine isn’t like teaching in Beijing. We do complain about are students and talk politics, but none of the crazy Chinese antics are found here. I’ve started looking at jobs in Beijing. I also might try Latin America or Africa after this.
I think that has killed enough space to make Sara happy. She isn’t around right now so I can’t ask. Let’s just assume it is. The Blue Jays won yesterday 13-3 against the Minnesota Twins which was awesome. Go Jays.