Ed Gregory’s Essay on Tesol, Toronto and TALK
Ed Gregory has been a teacher with Talk Fort Lauderdale since Feb. 2002! Recently he wrote an essay for his colleagues at TALK. entitled “Going to Toronto.’ The essay is partly an ode to TALK Fort Lauderdale school and partly a reflection on how life prepares you for your destiny in unexpected ways. At the school, Ed Gregory is known for his professionalism and his love of the English language, his passion for teaching his students, his gregariousness and ability to find commonality with anyone, and last but not least, for his great sense of humor. He just loves the place, (the feelings are reciprocated by TALK staff, fellow teachers and of course the students) which explains why he has stayed put all this time. Says Ed:
“The first of these reasons for enjoying the job so much is the faculty and staff, their bizarre sense of politically incorrect humor, their delightful sense of irony, their bountiful sense of collegiality and their endless trail of fascinating, albeit generally worthless trivia. The second is the student body. The world comes to us giving us unbelievable combinations and recombinations of ethnicities, languages, and religions They keep me alive, they challenge me, they reward me. It is this my turn to make them live, to challenge them, to reward them, to give them language skills that will enable them to ‘follow their own dream.”
Recently Ed wrote an essay about his failed attempt to go to Toronto for TESOL last year. It’s worth a read because there is so much you get about Ed here – his beginnings as an ESL teacher, his humor, his wisdom, his humility and his love for his students and his job:
Read Ed’s Essay Going to Toronto:
“It is totally impossible to write a short paragraph about myself and my unforgettable and audacious career at Talk English Schools. So let’s start with something a bit more mundane – from my humble beginnings in Western Iowa to Mason City, Iowa, where I entranced students with the delights of German grammar for fourteen years. Those halcyon days included nearly annual summer trips to Europe, you know, the legendary London-Paris-Rome circuit and the cherry topping stint in Berline (West) as part of the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program. There was the six-week sojourn in the Soviet Union, when there actually was a Soviet Union.
“Wait!!! What does all this have to do with me, Tesol, Toronto, and TALK??!! Simple! Everything! Those adventures were never really fulfilling, in the sense that they simply whetted my appetite for, let me quote Bette Midler and Oliver Twist, MORE!
“Somehow, these incredible years at TALK have kept me alive, on my toes, young at heart, both stimulated and (I really hope) stimulating. It is a mind-boggling mix of academic (TOEFL, IELTS), creativity, lapping up the ever changing menu of the world’s diversity. I mean, really, where else can Israeli and Saudi students collaborate to recite limericks? Where else do you have a once in a lifetime opportunity to explain the difference between protestant and prostitute? The difference between co-ed and bi-sexual? You order a cheeseburger, large fries and a large coke, not a large co…!!!
“Life is a great wheel. Sometimes you give to, sometimes you take from the Great Wheel. The years of living and traveling through Europe were, in a sense, a preparation, a harbinger of the last thirteen years. Europe gave me energy and insight. My turn now to give back. Students challenge me, stimulate me to be better, and more creative.
“A resource? An activity? A website? Let’s go with an activity which invariably turns me into Mr. Chips. Levels 8 and 9 give presentations about their own countries or on some aspect of. It is a humbling Mr. Chips moment watching them stand there with their 30 – 45-minute power point presentation, fielding questions, thinking on their feet, dealing gracefully (or maybe not) with the stress. They are really ready to go out into the English-speaking world.”
Ed’s essay is insightful and wise yet funny, and hope it will entertain our readers as it did his colleagues.