Teach English in Yanzi Zhen - Enshi Tujiazu Miaozu Zizhizhou

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For any class, I believe that the teacher is the most important part of a student’s educational experience. Having been a student and a teacher, I have seen the benefits of a good teacher and the negative effects of a bad teacher. What constitutes a ‘good’ teacher? Especially for ESL teachers, it is crucial that a teacher needs to be kind, patient, knowledgeable, and most importantly, invested in their students’ learning. A good teacher is flexible and can adapt any lesson plan or coursebook to the needs of his/her students. They should maintain a healthy classroom environment by being flexible and friendly, but also firm to maintain discipline. As a student, I have always looked up to the teacher as an expert in the subject matter and I appreciate when the teacher has already planned the lesson and knows their material well. They are not reading off the powerpoint presentation, nor are they unorganized and wasting time. Likewise, as a teacher, I always plan out what I want to accomplish with my students and the activities and exercises to help them achieve those goals. An ESL teacher should have these characteristics in order to create the optimal classroom learning environment. To help students further accomplish their goals, the teacher’s role must be a flexible, healthy mix of a leader, participant, tutor, or assessor as appropriate. This way, students will be able to stay motivated and build self-confidence in learning a brand new language. For example, when I introduce subject material, I start off by asking questions as an ice-breaker to get students comfortable. When I actually teach the lesson, I act more as a leader and explain most of the time. After teaching the lesson and the students are practicing new subject material, I am available as a tutor in the case where a student is struggling. Lastly, I want to ensure that my students are improving, so I administer short tests. In most situations, the teacher is the first and only exposure to the new language and culture; thus, the teacher must be a respectful and responsible model for their students to respect and learn from. Additionally, ESL students are most likely learning English to move to an English-speaking country where they can have more job and educational opportunities, as well as a better way of life than their native country can offer. This makes it even more vital to not just teach the language, but to also incorporate the culture to familiarize students. Having taught English to refugees this summer, I have seen first-hand how important it is to not just learn English, but also the American culture in assimilate in America and be able to communicate with Americans. For many of my clients who are from Africa or Afghanistan, the American way of life is extremely foreign and as an ESL teacher, I believe that it is also my job to help ease the cultural transition. Lastly, I believe that in order to accomplish maximum learning, the teacher and student relationship should ideally be a genuinely friendly relationship. A teacher should know all the students’ names and get to know them as people. They should also be a source of positive encouragement and support. For example, at my summer ESL internship at a local refugee organization, I was the first and only native English speaker that my students encountered. It is difficult and daunting to learn a language with a completely different alphabet than they’re used to in a completely new environment. Even though most of them had some English class experience, it was poorly taught and not taught by a native English speaker. As a music teacher and a recent ESL intern, I have learned how to be a supportive mentor and model for my students and am learning how to be an even more effective teacher. In other words, I do not just teach the material; I try my best to relate their experiences to the subject matter and get to know them as people. My favorite part of teaching is the unique relationships I build with my students. The feeling of joy that I see on my students’ faces from slowly accomplishing an unfamiliar language, drives my teaching passion, and I wish to continue to spread this happiness in the educational world.