Teach English in Xinmiao Zhen - Ezhou Shi

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As the child of a high school English teacher, I grew up with grown adults approaching my mother when we were out and about running errands and asking her if she remembered them, or introducing themselves to her and explaining that she had them in class x number of years ago. These people were always delighted to see my mother, and, oftentimes, would tell her that she inspired them to become teachers, or that her class was their favorite class in school. While she did not always remember a former student's name, she always remembered their faces and where they sat in her classroom. These interactions always moved me, and I grew up with the conviction that teaching was a noble profession, and teachers were selfless individuals whose positive impact on their students was boundless. I, too, became a high school English teacher after completing my undergraduate and graduate degrees. Once I was actually teaching, I came to realize that, while teaching IS a noble profession, there are, unfortunately, teachers out there who do not treat it as such. Thankfully, the vast majority of my coworkers became teachers for the same reasons I did--they loved their students, and they wanted to see their students succeed, thrive, and, most of all, love learning. I did, however, have colleagues whose reasons for being teachers were suspect--they were in it for summers off, they had been teaching too long, or they didn't like kids overall; these colleagues were as harmful to their students as the good teachers were beneficial. As I embark on a new teaching career as a teacher of English As A Foreign Language, my lessons, courses, and, most importantly, interactions with my students will be guided by my years teaching high school English. One of the first lessons I learned as a new teacher was the importance of prep work. I remember my mother sitting at our kitchen table every weekend, re-reading texts, writing notes, and preparing discussion questions. I remember telling my then-fiancee that I could not go away for the weekend because I needed to create my class notes and lesson plans. I also remember being across the hall from a colleague who never did any prep work, and hearing sheer chaos inside her room because she was not adequately prepared for the lessons she was trying to teach. I firmly believe that 90% of a successful lesson for a student is completed ahead of time by the teacher. The more effort I put into my preparation for my classes, the more my students will benefit. This will, in a way, be doubly true for my TEFL students. While I could not necessarily predict how my students might interpret a passage or paragraph from, say, Lord of the Flies, I can predict and anticipate problems and questions that my TEFL students will have with grammar or a particular lesson--by preparing in advance for those problems, I can make more efficient use of our class time and be in a position to answer questions more succinctly and clearly. Over the course of my high school teaching career, I learned that the most successful lessons were, in addition to the ones being well thought out, the lessons that were fun and interactive. I used to use competitive review games before midterms and finals, and my students both loved them and benefited from them. I used a variety of texts and media to teach--we would listen to some of our texts, we would watch film versions of our texts and compare and contrast the two versions, and we would, obviously, read texts, both silently and out loud. Using games, ensuring student participation, and utilizing various media types to give a lesson keeps students engaged while simultaneously allowing students of varying intelligence modalities to learn in ways that are easier for them. This will be especially true for TEFL students, and using various media during lesson has the additional bonus of allowing students to practice not only speaking English, but listening to it and reading it, thus helping their overall level of fluency. Perhaps most importantly, I learned early on as a teacher that students are, always and above all, human beings with lives, relationships, and conflicts that occur outside my classroom. A former colleague used to never excuse a student from homework or turning in an essay on time for any reason whatsoever. It did not matter if the student wasn't feeling well, had a death in his/her family, or had ongoing trauma or stress in his or her life. To me, that treatment of students is inexcusable, and this will hold especially true for my future TEFL students. I have a deep admiration for these adults who are taking their personal time, of which we all have so little, to learn English and hopefully better their job growth opportunities or even personal relationships. It is of the utmost importance that I always remember that my students do not NEED to be there, and that, instead, they choose to be there. Just as I, as an adult, have things going on in my life that can impact my mood, motivation, or preparedness for a class, they, too, have those same issues with parents, spouses, children, or co-workers. Teachers must treat all students, be they children or adults, with dignity and respect.