Alumni Experience: Passionate Teaching in China
My personal experience being an ESL teacher in China. Does the content of TEFL, YouTube, LinkedIn and Blog’s have more prowess over a newly graduated university student with passion? Let us not forget, most training institutes are businesses first and education institutions second with advertising portraying the latter as their priority.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Troy D. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Benefits of teaching
To be an ESL teacher is rewarding. It can be tiresome – energized kids and constant attention - but the reward out-weighs the labor. Teaching is not for everyone and neither is sleeping (night owls versus early risers) but both are important and necessary. I have had to dig deep, personally, on this ESL quest. To be a better person, a better teacher, and a better learner.
The ITTT TEFL course has been amazing and I was impressed by how well it was structured, flowed and the methodology. As an ESL teacher, I am not feeling 100% confident, yet. However, after having completed the course I know my students will benefit and I am happier for that.
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Teaching with passion and a willingness to self-learn
Every day I go to work with each day in the classroom will bringing its own set of rules. One day, Coco can be flamboyant and the next day, as quiet as a mouse. Setting structures in the classroom is great. Thus, bringing me to my next point. I have recognized that my students seek trust, humor and a comfortable environment. Furthermore, the best technical skills are great, the best methodology is fantastic, but if the ESL teacher does not have the right attitude, integrity, humor, and environment then I believe it is all in vain, well, at least from the students’ side.
Facing difficult parents’ expectations is part of the package. Learning to deal with parents with expectations is advantageous. Difficult parents not only cause difficulties for the ESL teacher but also hamper their own children’s learning. This is tough for the children, too. At times it is easy to spot the unhappy child, scolded child or the child who has to perform. The children seem it feel and this can affect their learning. To help alleviate this, I am open and honest with the parents but I do provide solutions. Parents, at the end of the day, want what is best for their children. This is only natural as we would expect the same for our own. I do think that some parents who expect unrealistic English results stem from their insecurity and family and friend’s recognition.
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An ESL teacher has big shoes to fill. Taken lightly it can be a repetitive career to get by. In contrast, the kids can melt your heart and leave you with a sense of accomplishment.
It is important, to be honest, and understand that not everyone can learn a language well. It is a part of the process where a child is stronger at listening and reading than, speaking and writing. This is not a representation of a child that is not good at English, but rather a child that doesn’t feel the confidence to speak. Therefore, this is the reason why I think ESL teaching is more than just books and knowledge. We are human and people want to be treated like humans. When a connection is built, trust is formed and naturally, a bond is created. A metric for a good teacher can not only be based on how well students can speak or perform but also how comfortable students are to be with a class and maintain constant participation. I favor a thought that a good teacher facilitates a class and where the by-product is English but the intention is relationship building.
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“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
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