My Biggest Challenge as an Inexperienced Teacher
Since I remember I have always been thinking about becoming a teacher. In the end, I decided to study at the Technical University, however, the idea of teaching experience was still on my mind. I have not finished pedagogy, so teaching was for me just a hobby (since I was not a certified teacher).
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Natalia A. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
The first experience with teaching that I have had was during my studies.
It was a private class of mathematics, the student was in middle school. The experience was very good, I started teaching mathematics, then also other technical subjects. I was very satisfied because the student was progressing. Since I was preparing the student for a specific test, that time we were using the material from classes of my student. The only challenge that I have faced was the fact that sometimes my student forgot his notebook. In this kind of situation, I needed to create some exercises to prepare him for the specific test. I tried to be always creative and flexible so that was not a very big issue.
The second experience was more challenging.
I have had a student who was an artistic soul’’. I was also teaching her mathematics, but for the matura exam, which is obligatory to pass in case of starting any studies. I felt very responsible for her result. This time I had my book with exercises and before every lesson, I was choosing the most relevant exercises. Sometimes, during the lesson, she was asking me questions, but sometimes I did not know the answers straight away, so I was losing my self-confidence. That is why before the lesson I was refreshing my knowledge and also completing tasks by myself. In this situation, I have learned that even though I am a teacher I do not need to know everything, but I should learn as well to be more confident as a teacher.
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Then I was teaching an eight years old boy, mostly we were doing his homework together.
I know how different it is teaching teenagers and children, that is why I was trying to be aware of how to react in case of some challenges. The main problem was to get my student concentrated and interested in the lesson. At the beginning of the lesson, he was complaining that he is very tired and asking every five minutes when we will finish. I needed to be very patient with him and creative to keep him interested. I noticed that he likes football that is why I started asking him about his favorite football player, giving him some examples when English is needed in the sport. I saw he was interested sometimes, but then we were back to the starting point. He did not want to learn, he did not feel that he needed the lessons. That was one of my worst teaching experiences, I felt that the problem of his laziness is much deeper. That is why I have talked with his parents, I felt that it was beyond my capabilities and responsibilities as a teacher. Unfortunately, the parents were forcing him to attend many classes and he was just too tired for all. I decided to quit, since the situation was very unsatisfactory and uncomfortable, clearly giving my feedback to the parents in a polite way.
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As written above, most challenging situations for me as an inexperienced teacher were: unprepared students, defining your responsibility as a teacher, preventing losing self-confidence as a teacher, and being flexible make students interested. The most difficult for me was to understand that I am a teacher, not a parent that should educate a child. Also, a very important moment was giving constructive feedback to the parents, in a way to not offend them. I think a good teacher should be prepared for these challenges and also ready to face the next one in the future.
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