Teach English in ChefushAn Zhen - Xuzhou Shi

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For new language instructors, the thought of being thrown into a classroom and having full reign to teach however they want is daunting and misleading. As someone with no authoritative experience in a classroom setting, my biggest fears about beginning my teaching career are how best to resonate with students and making the right kind of impact. New teachers may also be unfamiliar with the culture of the students, making it difficult to establish a rapport and mutual understanding, or with the age group or skill level. Learning to teach is a very specific skill set that, in my unprofessional opinion, could be best learned through observing proven master teachers. Students can tell when a teacher is inexperienced in a classroom setting, and this could allow for the teacher to be taken advantage of. Therefore it is vital that even a beginner teacher be confident in their abilities and provide the students with an optimistic model for learning. Working alongside a more proficient and experienced instructor is a great way to add new skills to a new teachers’ repertoire and give them a sense of comradery in their new endeavor. A common mistake for new teachers, based on my perception of how I would approach teaching my first course, would be depending too much on the lesson plan. The anxiety felt by new teachers in wanting everything to go exactly according to plan is valid, but remembering to be sensitive and flexible to the needs of the students is a vital part of an effective lesson. Going off track from the plan could lead a new teacher to panic and fumble during the lesson, but this is another issue that can be remedied by working alongside a more advanced teacher and seeing how they handle such a situation. Having a basic lesson plan is beneficial for setting a goal for each class, but strict adherence to it is unnecessary. New teachers potential unfamiliarity to the culture of the students is another setback they face, and can make it hard for the teacher to connect with the students and establish a rapport. I believe doing an immersion/study abroad program in the region of the target student demographic would be beneficial to a new teacher. Being immersed in their lifestyle familiarizes the teacher with their culture and improves linguistic talents, and can be a discussion point with the students during class. If a new teacher has a discouraging or not so positive first experience teaching, their perception of their performance can be lowered which in turn may develop a negative attitude towards the profession and field. Something I’ve had to learn at every job is to not be afraid of asking for help and criticism, and in this field particularly, asking another teacher to sit in on one of your classes to critique the teaching style would be a good idea. Feedback from peers and superiors is extremely helpful as long as the recipient is open to modifying their methods. Admitting when you are unsure of something is not a sign of weakness, but one of self-awareness that allows you to relate to others and grow professionally. Perfectionism in the classroom is a delicate balancing act; it can lead to overplanning, indecisiveness, and inflexibility. The classroom is a constantly evolving environment, leading to unpredictability that the teacher can either harness and work with or get swept up in. Self evaluations are another way to gauge a teacher’s efficacy and find places to improve. New teachers, especially those of language, are apt to make mistakes, but what makes a good teacher is the ability to recognize and address those mistakes. Being aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses and focusing on improving one’s weaknesses is essential to grow as an instructor. As former students ourselves, language teachers should always be willing to learn, collaborate, and strengthen their teaching and linguistic abilities to ensure their students are comfortable, motivated, and improving.