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Teach English in HuAhu Zhen - Ezhou Shi
One teacher: many roles, many functions. The aim of this essay is to approach the figure of the teacher from a wide point of view, as a teacher does not only teach, but also has many other functions and roles, which are as essential as the ‘simple’ act of knowledge transmission. It is generally agreed that a teacher must be able to manage behaviour and attitude issues and organise the students for the set activity. They need to give students feedback on the evolution of their learning. They must act as a prompter by encouraging them along while also be a model for learners and take part in certain activities. They have to tutor them, as obviously personal treatment is essential and be a facilitator and a resource. Finally, a teacher must observe and monitor the class at all times in order to be aware of everything going on in the classroom. Furthermore, the teacher needs the ability to switch roles when required depending on a variety of factors such as task, behaviour, stage of the lesson or the objective of the lesson. That is no doubt an incredible amount of work. However, a teacher, coach, instructor or professor is also compelled to motivate the student. This role is paramount regardless of the level, the age or the nationality of the pupil. I have found that this aspect is essential in order to push the student through during the learning process, as keeping them motivated and self-confident always produces better results. Regarding adults, I would say that most of them come to class feeling exhausted both physically and mentally and unable to leave their preoccupations outside the classroom. When it comes to very young learners, they need regular naptimes and fall sleep very easily. As for teenagers, most teachers would agree that their attitude is that of apathy, laziness and demotivation. Therefore, it is the role of the teacher to keep them engaged throughout the lesson. Young learners between the ages of 5 and 11 are mostly eager and learning is a motivation in itself and when they are not, they are, with some obvious exceptions, extremely easy to encourage. Nonetheless, this is not a motive for the teacher to stop making an effort to keep those levels of motivation. Another quality required is social and psychological empathy, since every single student has a background, which will be reflected in class. We must deal with children misbehaving due to problems at home, adults not concentrating in class because of a bad day at work, or very young learners’ attention seeking caused by the arrival of a new sibling. These are only the most common issues a teacher has to cope with in class. If these issues are not addressed successfully, they will become an obstacle in the learning process, which means that the teacher will have failed as a professional. That is why social and interpersonal skills are imperative to help the student to concentrate in the lesson. This idea is directly linked to another equally important one: rapport. It is my view that a teacher must build a good rapport with the students. This is going to be extremely beneficial for numerous reasons. For one, their level of motivation will be increased, they will pay more attention, they will be more likely to ask questions and interact, and they will feel more comfortable when talking in class and in front of their classmates. To sum up, they will feel safe and confident in the class and, consequently, will be more receptive during the learning process. Finally yet importantly, teachers are educators. I am not referring to English this time but to principles and manners. While teaching English, you should also be educating them as human beings. I strongly believe that respect is the base for establishing a good rapport with them and promoting a good relationship among students. It is also very important in order to create a suitable atmosphere to develop the learning process. For instance, I tell my young learners that they must listen when a classmate is talking in front of the class. In that situation, I am teaching respect, and when they obey, everybody will listen to me too when I correct that student’s pronunciation mistake. As a result, teaching respect is helping me to teach pronunciation. It is a chain of consequences. In conclusion, a teacher has to be able to carry out many different roles within the classroom and although experience makes is easier, natural social and interpersonal skills are essential to a teacher. Both students and teachers will find it very beneficial if the teacher succeeds in the mentioned functions, the classroom will be a pleasant place to be in and the teaching-learning process will be highly productive.