Important Personal Qualities an English Teacher has to Possess
The first and most important quality for a teacher, regardless of what you teach, is the love for teaching. When we do things with passion, the energy that we put on it changes completely the result we obtain, as well as the entire experience for us and our students. Of course, it is imperative that we love the discipline we are teaching, but teaching is not about us enjoying it, it is about us guiding a student into the journey. From the first steps through all the complexity of it. In my career, one of the things that fills me the most, and does it every day, is the satisfaction of seeing the happiness of my students when they manage to achieve a new goal.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate ZELINDA S. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Diversity in the classroom
Every person we teach is completely different from the other, with their psychology, age, culture, social class, and, really importantly, goals and motivation to learn. Besides, the same student will have different needs depending on the circumstances of that precise moment of his life. For that reason I find it essential to get to know my students in a personal way and as deeply as possible. Information like their background, profession, hobbies, and family situation is going to help me to find the best strategy for the lessons and how to approach them.
I have also checked many times how being close to the students allows better communication. English teachers should be accessible and approachable by students. When they feel you care about them, they relax, enjoy, and are less afraid of participating, asking questions, or making mistakes.
Being empathetic and observant is one of the most important qualities to be a good teacher. Realize what their difficulties are and understand what they are going through will give you the ability to take them out of their comfort zone just in the right measure and at the right time.
A really good skill for an EFL teacher is also to be organized, as you will need to plan your lessons. Timing, material for the activities, and other resources cannot be improvised. But also, you are going to need to be flexible and able to adapt yourself and your lessons to any unexpected event that can occur.
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Be creative, innovative, and fun. That's the most effective way to keep your students motivated. The best teachers I have ever known were those who made me have fun. The lessons just flew as I was enjoying that much and I couldn't wait for the next one to come. Also, they made me love the subject (even though I didn't like it before), and my interest in it increased dramatically. In my experience as a teacher, I also learned that playing games is not something we should do just with young learners. I always get incredibly good results when I use games with adult students. Surprising your students now and then with a new activity will keep their attention, but be careful not to abuse too much or you will fall into monotony.
For an EFL teacher it is important not to become obsolete over the years. Language is something in constant evolution, as it is also teaching and pedagogy. A good EFL teacher will always remain active in his training as a teacher, as well as in his knowledge of the language.
What is it like to be a good teacher?
I have always thought that there is no bad student but a bad teacher. I mean, a good English teacher will have a big amount of tools and resources to be able to deliver the information he wants to convey to his students effectively. Different learners respond in different ways to the same activity so we need to be able to think out of the box.
It is a good thing that we take some time to think about the results of the lesson once we have finished. What could have been done in a better way, how we could improve some of our skills, what went right or wrong, etc? If we are reflective we will be able to become a better professional over the years with our own experience. Also, talk to some colleges and exchange opinions and knowledge. Mainly to those that have more experience.
When we teach young learners, especially teenagers, we have to be aware we are not just teachers, but also role models. We must pay attention to our behavior, be nice, smile, and never lose our temper.
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In essence, a good English teacher must be able to create a healthy learning environment with good energy and passion.
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