Teach English in XiAnyu Zhen - Zhuzhou Shi

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(142. What personal qualities are important for English Teachers?) What Makes A Good English Teacher? The past decades painted a picture of a teacher as the most important person in the classroom. An authoritarian approach was a common practice in many countries around the world. The teacher was the main source of all knowledge and the figure of authority. The teacher was also known to teach students proper conduct and discipline. Instilling fear oftentimes was used in making students follow instructions. In addition, older generations can attest to the existence of corporal punishments as a normal occurrence back in the day. The students’ role was to pay attention, contribute to the discussion by responding to questions, and participate in the activities set for every lesson. This kind of relationship between the teacher and student may have been effective because the students were “forced” to do things or else face consequences. Moreover, the course book was the material used in all lessons, as well as the basis of activities to be taught. Those who were born many years later are more fortunate. In recent times, a teacher is no longer seen as the figure of authority, but rather a facilitator in the learning process. More and more teachers began to take a relaxed unconventional approach to teaching. They provide an interactive classroom environment where questions and varying (even opposing) ideas are welcome. The preference in teaching style depends primarily on a teacher’s personality. A sense of professionalism is important for anyone who chooses a career in teaching. This career is not for the weak of heart. Being a teacher requires huge amounts of patience, perseverance, determination, and enthusiasm. Regardless of a teacher’s approach and personality, it is one’s responsibility to make sure that goals and learning objectives are achieved by the end of the course. Moreover, the success rate of a course is higher once rapport had been established between the teacher and the students. It becomes easier for a teacher to plan lessons and activities that cater to their interests and learning needs. In teaching English, One can work in two types of places: first, in a place where the majority of the people speak English as their mother tongue; and secondly, in a non-English speaking country. Teaching students in an English speaking country is considerably easier. The students are already familiar with vocabulary and language structure required in communicating in English. However, teaching in a non-English country opens the English teacher to groups of students with varying personalities, experiences, cultural backgrounds, beliefs, and language abilities. Some of them can have basic knowledge of the English language, while others have no prior experience or exposure to it. This is a challenging endeavor especially for the English teacher. So what makes a good English teacher? An effective English teacher possesses qualities that set him apart from others. The most important quality is being passionate about teaching. Having a vast knowledge of the English language is undoubtedly valuable, but if a teacher is not passionate about his job he is then comparable to a “robot”. He would simply be sharing trivia without taking into consideration whether or not the students understand what they are told, whereas a passionate teacher is genuinely interested in the students as well as their interests. A welcoming environment is made available for all, thus allowing the students to mingle with each other. The students become more motivated to learn and participate when they feel comfortable with the teacher. Another personal quality of a good English teacher is constantly being curious. Being curious means being open to learn more than what one already knows. It also means accepting the fact that one cannot know everything. The English teacher must always be honest enough to admit when confronted by a question that he does not know the answer to. He should, however, make sure to do a thorough research about the question and bring it up during the next class discussion. Being sensitive is another personal quality of a good teacher. He must try to know more about each student so that difficulties can be addressed accordingly before moving on to more complex lessons. A good English teacher should also be tactful. When correcting mistakes or errors, a teacher should maintain tact and be able withhold judgment when conveying ideas or thoughts. Never embarrass students as this will affect their self-esteem, thus affecting their performance. A good teacher should encourage, not discourage. Another important quality of a good English teacher is being impartial. Being impartial means treating each member of the class equally and always avoid having favorite students. The other students might notice when there is favoritism in class and it might cause feelings of envy or resentment not only towards the teacher or fellow student but the course as well. A good teacher is able to adapt to change and adversity. Sometimes unexpected events happen in and out of the classroom. The teacher has to be prepared for these unexpected circumstances. Being creative and resourceful will help especially when there is a sudden change of plans. A creative teacher inspires students to use more of their imagination and unique ideas, while a teacher’s resourcefulness exposes students to different learning materials aside from the text book or course book provided by the institution. The advent of modern technology has made resource materials easily accessible to both teachers and students.