Work or Something Like It

Phone ESL Teacher, Life as a Phone English Teacher

Last month I broke the news about some big changes I would be making in my life. And now it’s official! As of last Thursday, I am a part-time ESL phone teacher. I have ditched the split shifts and one day weekends! Now, I work mornings Monday – Friday and have reclaimed my lazy Sundays. Of course, after 2 years of working a split shift I didn’t know what the hell to do with myself for the first couple of days. However, I’m quite adept at turning lazy into an art form, so I allowed myself a few bum days complete with a binge reading sessions and no blogging. Lazy days are pretty much the best days ever!

This week, I am back to blogging and on to my next business venture. However, to celebrate my new work schedule and honor my 2 years as a phone ESL teacher, I’ve decided to share some of the gems I’ve heard while on the job. My students never cease to amaze me.

What I hear the most:

“Your voice sounds young. It means you have pretty voice.”

“What is your job?”

“What do you do for living?”

Uh, I thought I was working. My mistake. I suppose teaching English to people at 6 AM should really be considered a hobby.

I have such a big impact on their lives:

“There are many teachers in my life and Lynsey is one of my great teachers. I will remember your name forever.”

“Hi teacher Nancy!!!”

It’s so nice to see I have such a big impact on some of my student. Oh, and my name is not Nancy.

They are so honest:

“I like pretty babies. I don’t like ugly baby.”

Me: “Did you read the article for class?”
Student: “Oh, no. I drank alcohol last night. *laughs*

Me: “It’s nice to meet you.”
Student: “Yea, I know.”

I suppose some of my students should be given points for honesty. And alcohol consumption. You have no idea the number of hungover business men/women that I speak to on a daily basis.

They are always so interested in my love life:

16 year old student: “Teacher, your boyfriend handsome?”
Me: “Yes.”
Student: “Oooo!”

“If I have a chance, I would introduce you to my brother. “

“You better hurry up and get married.”

Student: “Do you have chidren?”
Me: “No, I don’t.”
Student: “I’m sorry.”

“You have to socialize. You should quit this job.”

Basically, my student told me to get a life. I guess my anti-social tendencies have been shining through in my classes. Now, if only I could find that sugar daddy to fund my unemployed self while I search for this life. Maybe that guy’s brother is rich.

They are also willing to share lots of details about their love lives:

Student: “I think it’s dangerous for me to have romance.”
Me: “Why?”
Student: “Because if I have romance people think I have a girlfriend.” (he is married)
Me. “You can have romance with your wife.”
Student: (after thinking for a while) “That’s true.”

“When my wife is mad at me I can’t stay in any house, not even the doghouse.”

Student: “My wife is just a housekeeper.”
Me: “A housewife. A housekeeper is someone you hire.”
Student: “Maybe that’s correct.*laughs*”

Me: “The person who pulls the string is the person in charge.”
Student: “That’s also my wife.”

Me: “For example, your wife is your ball and chain.”
Student: “I agree there!”

“Men can still have fun like single men after they are married.”

And sometimes they just get it:

Talking about Angelina Jolie: “I think she must be operating an orphanage.”

What interesting things do you hear or overhear while at work?
  • Me: “Did you read the article for class?”
    Student: “Oh, no. I drank alcohol last night. *laughs*“ — I can appreciate their honesty if nothing else! haha


    • Definitely! I couldn’t help laughing and rolling my eyes at the same time. 🙂

  • I’m a social worker and some of these comments sound like things my clients say to me. Last week, I was wearing a flower headband and one of my clients walks in my office and is like,

    “That headband looks so pretty on you! It would look much prettier on me!”


    • Haha! That does sound like something my students would say. One of them went on and on about how handsome he is! 🙂

  • I wish I could remember all of the weird things that my clients said to me when I was a social worker and probation officer but mostly, they’re just sad. Your students, on the other hand, are hilarious.

    For the record, I think there’s nothing wrong with being anti-social. I’m working on becoming a hermit myself. It sounds so appealing.

    • Oh, I hear some sad things too. Sometimes I feel more like a phone therapist than a teacher.

      And being a hermit definitely has its ups! Hah

  • kathy@vodka and soda

    hahaha students say the funniest things but i’m surprised that teens share this with you. usually you hear that kind of honesty from grade school kids (minus the romance or drinking)

    Vodka and Soda

    • Actually, most of my students are adults (business men and women)! And it’s so surprising the amount of things that they share with me. I get all the dirt on who’s having an affair, who doesn’t like their husband, and how they really feel about their coworkers. It definitely keeps my job interesting.

  • Awww those are all pretty funny! At least you still get to hear their silly comments – just a little less often!

    • I’m definitely happy to continue hearing all the funny things my students say. 🙂

  • Haha I remember when I worked as customer support people kept insisting that I had a German accent, no matter how many times I told them that neither I nor anyone in my family had ever been in Germany.

    • Haha! People are so funny. My students don’t believe I’m from Texas sometimes because I don’t have a ‘Texas accent.’

  • These are some gems!

    Congrats on an easier schedule!

  • Romance with his wife? That’s just crazy. Haha these are so funny!

    • Who would have ever thought a man could have romance with his wife?! 🙂 I’m glad that you enjoyed them.

  • HAHAHA. They got Angie down to a tee! Congrats on the more free time thang. I’ve done split shifts before (which I had to leave the house for, booooo) and they SUCKED, so I’m happy you’re free of the evil! 🙂

    • Oh, yes! I’m so happy to be free of the split shifts! I started work at 6 AM, but didn’t finish my 2nd shift until 8. It was just too much after 2 years. Thanks for the support Leah! 😀

  • Amanda

    Bahahaha! These are AWESOME! I work at a hospital… you do NOT wanna hear what gets said! haha

    • Bahaha! Oh, I can only imagine what is said at your work! 😀 Troy brings home a few doozies from his work as an EMT. 🙂

  • I love how honest they are! I think the alcohol one was my favorite!! Congrats on the laziness 🙂 I’m all for that!!

    • Thanks! Being laziness should really be featured on our resumes. It’s a much needed skill. 🙂

  • Omg.. This was hilarious.. Nice to meet you, yea I know..!! Hahhahhaha you work at 6am? On the phone!! Oh man!! Thanks for the laughs!

    • 6 AM is not a fun working hour! It’s so hard to get up in the mornings, but at least I get to work in my pajamas. 🙂 Plus, my students definitely keep me entertained. Thanks for stopping by! 😀

  • Oh man, these bring back memories! Most of my communication is via email (working at home, etc…) but I rode out the Recession working in a police department and got the WEIRDEST phone calls. Once a guy asked for a parking permit for a horse. I don’t think that’s been topped yet.

    • Haha! Where exactly would you even park a horse? That’s priceless! People are just too funny.

  • Hahahahaha! I literally laughed out loud at some of these! I can’t even fathom how challenging this job must have been though! Anyway, thanks for the entertainment! Loved it!

    • The job and schedule definitely have its challenges, but I’m able to work in my pajamas, so that’s a plus. 🙂 I’m just too lazy to actually get dressed! Hah.

  • Telling you what! I work with little ones and they really have no filter! The things that come out of their mouth are precious and hilarious all at the same time!

    • Haha! I love all the funny and awesome things kids say! Your job has to be so interesting. 🙂

  • These are pretty funny! Are your students from different countries? I like how the one called you Nancy 🙂

    • My students are Korean. Most are business men and women, but I get students of all ages. 🙂 Oh, and the one that called me Nancy said with such enthusiasm. Haha

  • Love this post. I used to work as a skills therapist and had similar conversations with my students. I wanted to thank you for visiting my blog. I’m now your newest follower.

    • Oh, you must have heard some funny things as a skills therapist. Thanks for reading! I loved your blog and look forward to reading more! 🙂

  • HA! I love this!

  • That is some honesty! Haha! The doghouse one is hilarious!

  • I think you’ve got a pretty interesting job, your students are hilarious!

  • Ha, these are great! Their sometimes-broken English (is that a bad term to use, seeing as you are an ESL teacher???) and their say-whatever attitude is hilarious! The one where the student said he drank instead of read the article was particularly funny. And also all the stuff about housekeeper, housewife, and ball and chain. Hehe.

    • They are too funny and incredibly honest! Broken English isn’t a bad term to use. 🙂 They also use a lot of Konglish (Korean English) terms in class that confused me at first until I began to recognize what they think they mean. Hah. 🙂