How Is it to Teach ESL at Schools: ✅ A TEFL Teacher's Experience
As a child, I always wanted to be a teacher. I adored helping people, listening to different stories, and sharing my knowledge with others. Inside was a natural curiosity and burning desire to understand everything. As a young girl, I was unaware of how demanding, entertaining, and rewarding this profession can indeed be.
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This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Khrystsina P. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Today, I currently work in China as an English Teacher. Over the past year, I have realized that teaching is my calling. Therefore, I want to improve my teaching skills and reach a more professional level. So far, I realized one thing, whenever and wherever it happens to be. Teaching should be done out of passion.
My first teaching experience began at an elementary school where I was sent after graduating from university. At the time, I knew how to teach in theory; however, I lacked hands-on experience. It was up to me to create a personal teaching style, build rapport, and culminate in a friendly atmosphere. I understood the importance of this from an early age by analyzing my teachers' lessons at school. Methods varied, but I found those who provided a lovely and relaxed atmosphere promoting self-expression and self-esteem the most important. Teachers are also responsible for this, not just parents and environmental factors.
My first students were children between the ages of six and nine. I enjoyed the group's curious nature, as well as the admiration and adoration I received. Sharing my knowledge and acting as an alternative mother figure brought me great joy. Their motivation was contagious and fueled me with positive energy and love. This cultivated my passion for teaching.
On the other hand, I have also had my fair share of classes, which proved challenging and invaluable. Some of the advantages of this teaching position were that I shared a common language with the children and took an individual approach due to smaller class sizes with five and ten students, quality curriculum standards, and a well-equipped class. Of course, I encountered disadvantages as well. These were principally due to the children's age and the lack of motivation that comes with it. Students often skipped class due to illness, and parents advised you on teaching methodology from time to time. All in all, the advantages outweighed the disadvantages. I learned a great deal from my young students.
After working for some time at the elementary school, I applied for a position at an English language school where I was successfully hired to take on four groups. They were groups of older children. This language school took pride in utilizing a communicative approach to teacher feedback. I had a primary teacher who supervised me by checking and consulting my lesson plans. She gave me constant feedback. I enjoyed them with all the training materials about the groups themselves. Most of them possessed personal motivation for learning English. Many had traveled abroad and experienced real-life encounters with the language.
Most importantly, the students were in love with English. As for the disadvantages, there were not as many of these groups, and each consistently grew in size. The students were older, creating the issue of peer pressure in the learning environment. Classrooms also lacked proper equipment. All in all, I underwent immense personal and professional growth. During my school experience, I learned new things about lesson planning, mistake correction, and feedback. My students were thankful.
During my time at that school, I also had the chance to work with adults. While stressful and challenging in the beginning, I found it rewarding in the end. This was due to their inner motivation and absence of behavior problems. All were extremely devoted to learning English which always led to doing a lot of research. Meticulous students, language uncertainty, the fear of making mistakes were the problem I faced. It seems to me that working with adults will never stop you from developing and learning something new. Moreover, it is easy to make friends with your students, as I did. In 2018, I moved to China. It was an enormous change in teaching for me, as I do not speak the same language as my students. Although this was irritating and problematic initially, with their naive and loving eyes full of respect and admiration, the children progressed, and it became rewarding. Even more, I have seen results with their speaking. Here I have learned to use more visual aids, gestures, and mimicking. I have learned how to cope with huge classes and disruptive students who do not speak the same language.
It turned out that things that at one point seemed impossible for me to have become possible. Teaching in China has given me a vivid picture and understanding of my devotion to my profession and destiny. I am happy because all my students are happy at the end of the lesson.
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