Important Personal Qualities an English Teacher Must Have
As teachers set expectations for their students, students naturally have expectations for their teachers. To be an effective teacher, regardless of the subject being taught, one must be knowledgeable in their field. However, teaching English calls for specific personal qualities that can ultimately distinguish a good teacher from a great teacher. These qualities include, but are not limited to patience, dedication, and compassion. With these attributes, the teacher can foster a comfortable learning environment for their students.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Yvonne D. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Teaching students whose first language is not English
Teaching English, especially to students who may not have had significant exposure to the English language, requires patience as the teacher must repeat themselves several times and correct their students’ mistakes. A lesson may involve a routine in which the teacher will repeat a concept because their students may not have grasped the concept when it was initially taught. In this case, patience is necessary as it may be frustrating to repeat oneself. Teachers may need to devote additional time to modifying their lessons, taking care to use more simplified language. Moreover, students at the beginner level are prone to making more mistakes but if their teacher harbors patience, it is more likely that their students will not feel pressured or stressed in the classroom. Thus, a patient teacher will help put the students at ease in an otherwise intimidating situation.
Love for what you are doing
An English teacher who is dedicated to their profession is more likely to motivate their students to do well in the course. It is not a realistic goal for students to learn a new language in a short period. If students can sense that their teacher genuinely cares about their education, the students are more inclined to not disappoint their teacher. Additionally, the dedication will lead a teacher to want to create the most effective lesson plans while maintaining the morale of their students. Dedicated teachers will arrive at class early to test equipment such as interactive whiteboards, and they will stay after class to answer individual questions. They will spend extra time and effort ensuring that the lesson runs smoothly and that every one of their students understands the concepts being taught.
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Observations and inferences
Finally, a compassionate teacher will be able to sense which of their students are doing well in the course and which of their students are falling behind. It is not uncommon for a class to contain students of all different English backgrounds and levels. Likewise, it is not uncommon for a student to not ask for help because they are intimidated or ashamed. It is up to the teacher to be aware of their students’ progress and attitude in the classroom. Students will benefit if they know their teachers are not simply teaching for a paycheck. By displaying compassion, a teacher will have a more feasible time connecting with their students on a more personal level. In turn, students will feel more confident reaching out for help because they know they have a role model they can rely on.
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Teaching English is a challenging career that requires the teacher to take on a dynamic role. Not only are teachers responsible for carrying out lessons, but also they are responsible for providing a classroom that is conducive to their students’ education while catering to different language levels. Patience will help both the teacher and student persevere through difficult lessons that often involve repetition and correction of errors. Dedication will demonstrate to the students how much their teacher cares about their academic progress. Lastly, compassion will help the teacher identify the students who require additional support but are too shy to reach out. With these personal qualities in mind, an English teacher will be a more effective role model for English language learners.
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