Teach English in Yixing Zhen - Huai'an Shi

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This essay will try to answer the question which role the teacher should take in the classroom. There are a lot of different shades to this answer but you may generally boil it down to the 2 extreme options: Should the teacher be an authoritarian leader, maintaining a professional relationship with his students or should he be more of a non-authoritarian moderator who actively tries to overcome the professional relationship and be friends with his students? As finding arguments for both styles of teaching strongly depend on the size of a class and the age of the students (also in comparison to the teacher), we will from now on assume a medium class size of 8-12 students, all of them aged around 16-17 (not adults). Nowadays, especially in western countries, when students and parents hear "authoritarian teaching style" their inner alarm goes off. It sounds like extensive drilling, an exaggerated amount of discipline and little space for individual development. As so often, the reality is different. If strict rules and schedules are are set up that are enforced by the teacher, the working atmosphere can become very productive. Tools for this may be weekly test about the topics covered, homework which is given to the teacher for evaluation and grading and generally a teaching style as a "manager" and "assessor"(unit 1). If a teacher wants to go down this path he needs to be the best example of what behaviour he wants to elicit from the students himself. So he himself needs to have thouroughly prepared lesson plans as well as whole course plans. He needs to always be very precise with his instructions and explanations and make an overall professional impression on the students, for example with the way he talks, uses gestures and also dresses. The other way is taking a less authoritarian approach, slipping into the role of an "organizer", a "prompter" and a "participant" (unit 1). Using this approach, the teacher does not use strict rules and schedules to establish rapport, but rather bases the relationship on an equal footing to gain mutual respect and therefore willigness to participate in the lessons. In contrary to the more authoritarian approach, where esatblishing strict rules and schedules will be hard in the beginning but the teaching will gradually get easier over time, using the less authoritarian approach will be much easier in the beginning, but maintaining the relationship on an equal footing while also maintaining the students' willigness to participate will get significantly harder over time. This is the case because it demands very motivated lesson-planning from the teacher, who will have to always find new, exciting and creative ways of approaching lesson topics. Also, it is a balancing act for the teacher to keep the friendly relationship on an equal footing while correcting and assessing students as well as while handling problem students. So which way to go? I have some teaching experience of my own in teaching environmental education to kids and young adults and I have to say that I definitely used the second approach. And often I ended up having exactly the problems mentioned above. I always wanted to be the friend of the students rather than the "boss". But then when I had to be the boss, it usually didn't work that well. If I think back to my own school career, I immediately have to think about my English and Biology teacher who accompanied me from 5th grade up until my A-levels. I remember that he made at least 5 girls cry in the first week of teaching my class in 5th grade. Sounds very harsh, but at that point we were 30 little kids that came from different elementary schools and just got to know each other and the highschool environment. Of course we thought there was more important stuff to do in class than actually learn and we also were not used to competetive grading. This teacher, Mr. Seidel was very strict, but never unfair. He slowly and steadily became my favourite teacher as I liked the challenge he put up and I liked the confirmation I got from him when I earned it. And it is clear to say he had a lasting impact on me: I ended up studying Biology and here I am now, doing a TEFL course to become an English teacher. Both subjects he taught accompanied me into my professional working career. So which way to go? In conclusion I can say that extremes are never the best option. I definitely do not want to make any kids cry but I know that my approach as an early adult while teaching probably did not teach the kids that much. So, as with most things in life, finding my own path somewhere in the middle will be what I will do during my career as a teacher.