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Living in the Moment: Sort of #MondayBlogs #TEFL #TESL

I feel that I owe you all an explanation. I’ve been … hmmm … relatively absent over the last few weeks. Some of you may have noticed. Some not. No matter.

A few weeks ago, I turned 60. And my husband retired from his state job. And I started looking into a second career. Yeah, pretty much all on the same day.

I am happy that my husband is retired for many, many reasons. The least of which is we have a big trip planned for later this summer and it’s a lot easier for him to work on the logistics from home. Another good reason is his health. His back got so bad for him last winter that he couldn’t stand up straight. He was hinged at his hip, his back flat like an ironing board. The guy is 6 feet tall. I’m 5 feet 4 inches. We are not supposed to literally see eye-to-eye. He has been proactive about seeing doctors (including physical therapists, chiropractors, and now an orthopedic surgeon) as well as developing an exercise routine that has greatly improved his posture and reduced his chronic pain. Reduced but not eliminated. More doctor appointments are in the future but at least he has the freedom to focus on his health and not be sedentary for 7 to 8 hours a day.

My favorite reason for his retirement is he is spoiling me. Most nights I come home from work to find dinner ready. I don’t have to go grocery shopping any more. I don’t even have to vacuum up the cat litter. I still do my own laundry but that is personal choice.

I would probably be more spoiled if I hadn’t decided to enroll in an online program for TESL/TEFL certification.

TESL: Teaching English as a Second Language

TEFL: Teaching English as a Foreign Language

The acronyms are used interchangeably but usually TEFL refers to teaching in other countries like China and TESL refers to teaching immigrants. I don’t have plans to teach in another country, but I’m interested in moving out West where there may be some immigrants wanting to learn English.

Why, oh, why, am I pursuing a course of study when I already have two graduate degrees?

Shortly before I turned 60 (an age, by the way, I had been looking forward to), I realized that I really, really, really didn’t want to continue with my current job past 62. But if I retire then, I’ll still have three years before I’m qualified for Medicare. I’ve estimated that my health insurance premiums would take at least 3/4 of my pension. I need another source of income, at least for those years and possibly beyond.

So my dream is to work part-time as an ESL tutor.

Actually, this isn’t a new interest of mine. I had looked into certification many years ago at my local university. The one class I took was underwhelming in content and inconvenient for my work schedule. I also worked at my local library as a literacy volunteer for a while. But it wasn’t until I started working on my current course of study that I realized that maybe, just maybe, this was what I should have been doing all along. I just hadn’t had the imagination to pursue it when I was younger.

Well, there’s no time like the present. Actually, all we really have is the present.

And I have a limited amount of time in which to complete my certification. It’s self-paced, but there’s an “expiration date.” The course work is very interesting. I’m learning a lot about my own language (us native speakers take so much for granted), and I like the challenge of coming up with my own lesson plans. I have to use my imagination.

Now some of you (well, maybe one person) might wonder why I’m not thinking about self-publishing as a way to earn some extra $$$.


Okay, in all seriousness, I still have a novel in the works, but it’s on the back burner until I finish my studies. I do want to self-publish, but I’ve set my expectations for market success pretty low. I can’t be in it for the money.

So I’ll continue to be fairly absent from social media and blogging for the next couple of months. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t think of each of you often.

I’ll leave you with a few photos I took at the bay side of St. George Island recently. My husband was working on a time-lapse of the clouds, while I sat and sweated.

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Categories: Blogging

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Marie A Bailey

Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.

27 replies

  1. This sounds like a great plan. I’m turning 60 in a couple of months. Then begins my five year countdown, assuming there is still Medicare at 65. If not, that changes everything. And who knows what will happen with healthcare – right now I’m not too optimistic I will even be able to afford it. It’s already costing me about $15K a year (why I work). If it goes up a lot, I will have to drop it and roll the dice with my MS. In which case, I may retire at 62. But I do love the financial freedom work gives me to travel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s amazing how much of our life decisions revolve around being able to afford healthcare. And how so many in Congress just don’t understand that because it’s never been their personal problem. It’s one thing to work because you want to have $$ for travel. It’s another thing to work because you need healthcare coverage.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How exciting, Marie! I think you’d make a wonderful teacher. I’m sorry to hear about your husband. Having had two back surgeries in the past, I understand his pain. There’s really no other pain like it. I had a prominent neurosurgeon in the D.C. area perform both surgeries. The last was in 1997 and since, I’ve had zero pain. Only on occasion, my left foot will go numb while on the treadmill or elliptical. Wishing him the best…and you too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jill! You are so sweet ๐Ÿ˜˜ Although my husband has severe stenosis in a couple of his vertebrae, he’s actually doing quite well. Very active and an exercise routine that has helped a lot. So we’re hoping he can avoid surgery or delay it for a few years.


  3. I love the fact that you want to be an ESL teacher. That shows how giving you are, Marie.
    I’m sorry about your hubby’s back pain. I hope he gets more relief soon. I’m glad you’ll be going on a trip this summer.

    Glad he spoils you. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Linda! My biggest problem with teaching is that I’m such an introvert. I really hate being the center of attention, but my TESL training is very focused on the students doing most of the talking ๐Ÿ˜ Thank you for your kind words about my hubby. Fortunately he’s been able to manage his pain quite well. Our upcoming trip is a great distraction too.


  4. Sounds like a terrific plan, Marie! I can testify personally that self-publishing won’t pay your health insurance premiums, so TESL is the perfect answer. Plus, you might meet some people who will inspire future novels — a twofer!

    Good luck in your studies, but we all do hope to get occasional updates here. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Kevin! Yeah, I’m feeling pretty good about my plan too. Even if my pension was adequate, I’d want to have a cash flow so that I could afford to self-publish … that is still on my list ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ouch! I don’t even want to imagine that kind of back pain. Greg is actually doing pretty well, all things considered. Retirement has definitely helped since he has more opportunities to exercise and rest.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve often thought of doing some ESL tutoring myself, and when my health improves, I’d still like to spend a year teaching English abroad in Prague. When I do that, I would take the TOEFL course over there and then seek placement. From what I’ve read, the fact that I already have a teaching credential in ESL for the state of Idaho doesn’t carry much klout. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, Prague?! Someday you’ll have to tell me why Prague. One of my friends, Linda O’Grady, has a blog Expat in Germany (something like that). She’s from Ireland but has lived in a number of countries teaching EFL. Even Latvia for 4-5 years ๐Ÿ˜ฌ Now she’s in Germany and loves it. Anyway, that’s my understanding too, that you need a more globally accepted certificate. What I am working on would not qualify. Still, your previous teaching experience should be useful.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Prague has always intrigued me, and then when I looked into European cities with a decent cost-of-living and respectable teacher pay, it pulled to the head of the pack of places I would want to teach EFL. I guess Asian countries are typically the best for pay, so who knows? I might spend time in a city there also at some point in the future. If I remember correctly, Mexico and Central and South America pay the least. I’ve also thought about doing language tutoring online, but many places pay a pittance, so I’ll hold off on that for know and focus on behind-the-scenes business matters as I’m getting better healthwise.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! Lots going on for you, Marie! So happy to hear you are making plans for something you love to “tide you over.” I’m a little jealous about the meals being prepared for you! Gosh, the gardener used to be such a good cook, and he now hasn’t really cooked anything except grilling stuff (of which he isn’t all that great, the truth be known) for almost 30 years. Waaaaaaaaaaa. Anyway, happy for you to have the trip ahead of you!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Luanne! I can’t to catch up with all that is going on with you! Yes, I am very spoiled with Greg taking over the majority of cooking and shopping ๐Ÿ˜


  7. I certainly notice when you pop up again Marie. So glad to see a post from you.
    I hope your husband continues his recovery. There is no pain like back pain. It just seems like *everything* ties into using your back some way or another.
    The ESL idea sounds like it will be an exciting adventure as well! Do you already have some locations you’re eyeing so far as heading out west?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Phillip! We’ve talked about Oregon and Nevada. My husband would love to have clear night skies (he’s an amateur astronomer). We really like the basin-and-range area of Nevada. But right now, we just talk. The biggest issue for us really is our cats. We have three and by the time we are ready to make a move, one or two of them might be too old to risk it. But you never know. Our cats tend to be quite resilient ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sorry to hear about your husband, but good luck with your plans. You sound very busy.
    I’m a freelance test writer for a somewhat related acronym, TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Merril! Wow, small world ๐Ÿ™‚ TOEIC has come up in my studies as one of the many ways English language proficiency is tested. I’m hoping that means lots of opportunities to teach ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow! I admire your ambition.Teaching ESL was my first career and in retrospect I wish I would have taken more advantage of its versatility (ie. the possibility to teach around the globe) but raising a family kind of got in the way although much later I dusted off my credentials and taught a course at the university of Ho Chi Minh. I wish you all the best and may many doors open up for you! โค

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Carol! What interesting experiences you must have had. I am definitely attracted by TESL’s versatility and also the possibility of teaching students who really want to learn ๐Ÿ˜‰ My teaching experience is limited to one semester of Freshman Composition and one semester of a graduate-level social work course. In both cases the students were taking the courses because they were required and they made as little effort as possible. Good kids for the most part but discouraging for me.

      Liked by 1 person

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