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Teach English in Jiuwanxi Zhen - Yichng Shi
When I hear the term role, I often think of a theatrical production. Which role is so and so playing? “What hats to do they wear?” is another question for what the teacher does in and out of the classroom. Regardless of the term, I believe the answers are numerous. The teacher must fill many functions. Most of these roles will stay the same regardless of the age of the students, whether they are clients in a mandatory English class paid for by their company or a classroom full of elementary students in a US public school setting. To convey knowledge to another person is a function that does not change regardless of the setting and student population. A teacher must be capable of teaching the subject at hand, which would be the primary hat teachers would wear. They should be the subject experts in the classroom, and must possess the ability to have the students learn the subject. To what level a student acquires the skills depends on a few factors, which include the teachers’ ability, but also the students cognitive capability and their predisposition to the subject. In many settings the teacher must occasionally act as the care giver. At the elementary level the teacher may be the person who literally wipes the tear and applies the band aide to the scraped knee of a grade one student. This care giver role would continue as the teacher moves into teaching other grades, such as taking time to ensure that their middle school students know that they can come to them with their problems and that the teacher will listen. It is also in this latter group that the role of disciplinarian becomes tested. Elementary school classroom management is entirely different from the middle school years. Both begin with having a proper rapport with the students, individually and collectively. They must know that the teacher is fair as they are held accountable to the rules set in place. Most importantly they also need to know that the reason the teacher will hold them accountable is because the teacher cares about them. They need to know that the teacher sees them as individuals and desires what is best for them. But as the children grow into adolescents, begin to test their limits, and learn to question authority, they can be especially difficult to keep focused! As the students age into high school they still need to know that the teacher cares about them and that this is the primary reason they set and enforce expectations for the student’s behavior as well as to maintain an academic standard. As the age and maturity level of the students increases, the role of care giver morphs into that of a mentor. Specifically, when working with clients who are enrolled in an English for a Specific Purpose (ESP) class, the teacher would normally not need to enforce proper classroom behavior, but must still hold the clients to a predetermined academic standard. If a client is being tutored one-to-one, then the standards could be set by the teacher and client. However, if this is an in-company group, then the teachers are bound to keep the standard high as they are employed by the company to provide quantifiable results to adults whom they believe to be competent enough to retain this information. Therefore, the teacher must be a mentor to this group. Clients in the class need to know that their teacher wants them to succeed and will do everything in his or her power to ensure that happens. The teacher’s primary expectations would be communicated via the written rubrics, by which the teacher fairly grades their ability to receive and produce the English Language in both oral and written form. They must know that the teacher cares about them, wants what is best for them, and that in this situation, doing well in this class is extremely important to the teacher as well as the client. The teacher may have to listen to their personal problems, advise them and provide individualized help as necessary. Another important role that the teacher may need to fill when working with these clients is that of mediator. If the teacher believes that a client is truly working as hard as this person can but still cannot grasp the material, the teacher has a moral obligation to explain this to the employer. If they are working though a school, they are obligated to explain to their administrators that although the client may not be able to pass the minimum requirements for the course, they believe that the client has truly given his or her best effort. It would also be expected that the teacher has been keeping the client, business representatives, and administrators informed along the way to ensure that no one is surprised or hurt in the process. Although not an exhaustive list, other roles would be that of planner, cheerleader, event coordinator, assessor, motivator, entertainer, encourager, collaborator, facilitator, and critic. The teacher must be flexible and ready to shift roles at a moment’s notice. What the class needs at any given moment will determine which hat the teacher must wear. Occasionally, the individual students will dictate what role the teacher is filling. In any case, the teacher must be focused on the individual, while simultaneously teaching the whole class. Ultimately this is the teacher’s primary responsibility.