Teach English in Guangxingzhou Zhen - Yueyang Shi

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When we consider a typical classroom setting, there is the teacher on one end and the students on the other. The relationship between the teacher and his or her students is undoubtedly an integral factor in determining the students’ success. However, in some cases, volunteer teaching could also exist in the form of a teacher’s aide or assistant. This position is a bridge and a hybrid of both the student and the teacher and offers unique benefits for all involved. First, let’s look from the teacher’s perspective. Having an assistant provides the teacher with many advantages. Behind the scenes, assistants take care of record keeping and secretarial duties such as filing papers, grading coursework and tests, and other curricular activities. Doing so unloads the teacher from these trivial tasks and allows him or her more time to focus on professional development and managing the course more effectively by improving lesson plans. In the classroom, the assistant can play an active role and act as a prop or a go-to example who participates in activities such as role plays, dialogues, conversations, etc. since he or she is much more familiar with the material and would most likely be given notice of the teacher’s expectations ahead of time. During lessons, the teacher’s attention can only be focused on certain areas at any given point in time. The assistant provides another set of eyes and ears that could help identify problem areas in the classroom. These problems could be anything from handling behavioral issues to informing the teacher of students who are struggling to grasp the material. Students also benefit from having a teacher’s assistant in the classroom. It’s fair to say in most cases (not all), due to lack of teaching experience, the assistant is younger in age compared to the teacher. Students naturally relate more closely to those who share similarities in interests and values. Having someone like that in the classroom can help boost confidence and create a friendly, comfortable atmosphere for students to thrive in. I have experienced this situation when I was in college learning Japanese. Throughout the course, the professor would have an assistant in the classroom who participated in classroom activities. Not only did the assistant add another element of fun, but she also piqued our interest by sharing personal stories that related to her Japanese culture. By interacting with her, I truly believe it helped me become more confident with using the language both in and out of the classroom. Assistants can also act as a liaison between the student and teacher, and they can share any feedback gathered during or after lessons for both the teacher’s and students’ benefit. Out of the three, the assistant itself has the most to gain by being in the classroom because he or she assumes both the student and teacher role. As a student, the assistant is observing the teacher’s behavior and picking up the do’s and don’ts of teaching in person such as how the lesson is structured, methods the teacher uses to positively encourage students, and the types of activities used for specific purposes. If the teacher is a good one, he or she can provide valuable insight and be a positive influence on the assistant’s teaching style should he or she one day decide to pursue a teaching career in the future. As a teacher, assistants can practice teaching skills and assume an authoritative role while not taking complete authority away from the teacher. They can be someone the students look up to and seek guidance from just as much as the teachers themselves. The main reason I decided to write about this topic is because I am interested in possibly becoming an assistant. Assuming I pass and receive my TEFL certification, the thought of immediately jumping into a classroom setting is quite intimidating. I imagine having the option to take a half step into the teaching world would instill comfort and confidence before I commit to becoming a full-on teacher. Doing so before one is sure he or she is ready could have consequences on the students’ development process if not done correctly. I’m not sure at this point what kind of opportunities exist out in the job market, so I would need to do further research, but it definitely sounds like a viable option for me.