Monthly Archives: March 2012

Labels

Who are you, Master?”

Don’t you know my name yet? That’s the only answer.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

Father. Mother. Doctor. Teacher. Student. Immigrant. Artist. Fireman. Secretary. Construction Worker. Manager. CEO. President. Christian. Muslim. Buddhist. Pagan. Expert. Professor. Boxer. Football Player. Foreigner.

Language is full of labels. The labels can differ from culture to culture and language to language, but the function is the same: to identify ourselves. Labels are deeply connected with identity. Some people use labels to create their identity and find strength in them.

 

The labels we use

What happens when a dancer breaks her ankle? She may never dance again, but she can still live a very happy, productive life. That is, if she can ever get past the identity crisis. How about the CEO who wakes up to find that suddenly, he doesn’t like his job anymore? It is very hard to make a change when what you do is who you are. That is what labels do for us. I work at an English Village. But for the past three months, I haven’t had any students. Am I still a teacher? Who am I?

 

When we say that someone is an xyz kind of person, what are we really saying about them? A short time ago, I heard a man say, “I am not a natural teacher.” I didn’t understand the statement at all. I don’t know what a “natural teacher” means. The label that he used for himself did not tell me anything about him.

 

What do you do for a living?

That’s the thing about labels. They tell just one facet of a person. They are changeable. They can change by the moment. Labels do not reflect the needs or feelings behind them. In essence, they tell us nothing about the person.

 

To assent to a label is to carry a burden. The labels we carry on ourselves are heavy. We don’t need them. We can choose to define ourselves by our experiences and actions instead.

 

What I do for a living

About livinglearning

Well, my “About” page disappeared when I changed themes. So I’m putting it here:

Welcome! My name is Anne. I teach EFL in South Korea. I will mostly be blogging about life events, cultural differences, EFL education, and linguistics or TESOL related things. This is my first time blogging, so hopefully I will learn more about it as I go along. I hope you enjoy the page!

Some of my interests include hiking (the picture below is from Geumgangsan) and the beauty of the natural world, cooking, and spending time with friends.

I’m currently studying applied linguistics, and always looking for new ways to apply my learnings to my classes. I am also trying my best to learn the Korean language and use it in daily life. 반갑습니다!

An update as 2013 comes to a close: I finished my MA in applied linguistics this year. I hope 2014 sees more time to study Korean and respond to the challenges of my classroom. My newest hobby that I hope to continue is bicycling.

 

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