I am 37 and I have been on this job for 15 years now. I have always taught English as a foreign language to teenagers (14-18) at various public schools. Below are some of the things I believe in and, as the song goes...I say to myself now and again:
- The kids need us, although they may NOT know or show any interest
whatsoever. So be patient. Enthusiasm and a sense of humour really help. Show the kids that you CARE. If you DONīT care...choose another job.
- However hard we try, the students do NOT learn everything we strive to teach them. Let them go at their own pace. Motivate them in different ways. Tell them what they are doing right. Donīt do the talking yourself all the time. Give them things to do. Keep your tasks varied. Do your best to use their previous knowledge and experience. Make them think. Let them work things out. Bear their interests in mind as much as you possibly can.
- Troublesome kids HAVE problems. Remember that they are human beings and have feelings. It is NOT easy to be young these days. Show your sympathy. Be strict if you have to, but do NOT be a monster. OK, you are the boss...but be a helpful one! Do not be a sweetheart either. Be yourself. Tell them the rules (keep them REASONABLE) and stick to them.
Your daily experiences will teach you a lot and will help build up your self-confidence. In the meantime...
- Plan your work thoroughly, but when in class keep your eyes and ears
open. Pay attention to the studentsī reactions, watch any feedback you
get... We all have good days and bad days. The time of year, the weather,the time of day, exam time...everything affects their mood -and OUR mood too- to a certain extent. Use your intuition. Be ADAPTABLE.
The world changes so fast these days! Fashions come and go, and the kids needs change along with those of society, so...
- Be creative. Do not be contented easily... Keep up with the new
developments and techniques and use whatever seems useful, according to the circumstances and the characteristics of your particular class.
And last, but not least...when the times get rough, try and live up to the above standards!
Joan M. Diez
Amposta, Tarragona (Spain)
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