Teach English in Motou Zhen - Nantong Shi

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Many would agree with what F. Sionil Jose says about a teacher’s influence - “The influence of a teacher extends beyond the classroom, well into the future. It is they who shape and enrich the minds of the young, who touch their hearts and souls.” It is evident that a teacher is not merely someone who provides knowledge to the students. In fact, teachers play multiple roles, each of which are significant in their students’ learning process, especially when it comes to language acquisition. Firstly, a teacher is an educator, one who possesses good knowledge of the subject and shares his knowledge with the students. I would consider this as the primary role of a teacher when it comes to teaching the English Language to non-native speakers of English. Most of the students would have no or limited knowledge of the language and relies on the teacher to give them the knowledge of the language. Hence, it is important for a teacher to achieve a certain level of proficiency in the language so that he would be able to educate the students correctly. Secondly, a teacher is a coordinator. A teacher needs to be diligent in planning and organising the classes. This would include ensuring that the materials and logistics required for the classes are prepared on a timely basis for the classes to run smoothly. There would also be a need to plan how the class would be conducted and give consideration to what kind of seating arrangement would be appropriate. A teacher is also a motivator, one who builds a positive atmosphere that would encourage the students to learn. Not every student would have inner motivation to learn – especially when it comes to learning a foreign language. In fact, some may perceive it to be difficult and hence are easily discouraged. A teacher plays an important part in motivating the students and encouraging them to make progress. For a teacher who teaches young learners, this could be done through adapting from games or using songs to make the classes more fun and enriching for the students. Other ways to motivate the students and promote their learning in a positive way could be decorating the classroom (using posters, displaying the students’ work) if the teacher is allowed to do so. In addition, a teacher is a role model for the students. Teachers are typically well respected by others. Students (especially young learners) would usually look up to their teachers as role models whom they want to learn from and aspire to be like. We have also heard of stories of people whose lives are impacted because their teachers loved and cared for them, inspired them to be the best they can be. Since teachers are role models for the students, their attitudes and actions have a direct impact on the students. Teachers model for students how they should behave. For example, a teacher who is often late for classes and easily frustrated with the students would not be setting the right example for the students. When a teacher values punctuality and patiently guides the students, it would usually result in a positive impact on the students. In fact, for young learners, a large part of their learning is through what they see. They would follow the qualities displayed by their teacher. A teacher is also a disciplinarian, one who ensures that there is order in the classroom. When it comes to teaching young learners, they may be instances where students get overly excited or active, or become fidgety when their attention wears out, or behaves mischievously. It is important for a teacher to be able to keep the class in order, and in certain situations that may warrant a need for the teacher to mete out the appropriate punishment. Hence, there may be times when a teacher has to be firm with his students. It would also be good if the teacher could agree with the students on some of the ground rules that should be set in place during the classes. At other times, a teacher may also have to be the counselor, one who also gives attention to the students’ emotional well-being and provides timely help and advice to them. This may require the teacher to give time to listen to the students, and to do so with empathy, especially when he observes that the student seems emotionally affected or distracted, and then provide guidance for them. In conclusion, a teacher often plays multiple roles. This may make the teaching profession one that is challenging. However, it can also be rewarding. Because of the many roles that a teacher plays, his influence is indeed great! (Number of words: 778)