The Challenges of a Teacher Based on My Experience
I have been working as an English instructor for 8 years at an academy that caters to foreign students such as Koreans, Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese, to name a few, who want to learn and improve their English skills and land a good job in the future. To me, my first year at work was the hardest. At first, I did not have any idea of how to handle students from different cultural backgrounds. I encountered numerous challenges no matter how much I was prepared. Thanks to my perseverance and dedication, fortunately, I was able to overcome the hurdles. I would like to talk about some of the major difficulties I dealt with and how I was able to surpass them.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Winnie J. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
On top of the list is the difference in personality
I have met students from all walks of life. It is given that each of us has unique traits or characteristics. Problems arise when the student’s personality is opposite to mine. It’s hard to just be tolerant and pretend that everything is okay. However, this kind of situation is inevitable. There’s nothing for me to do but to be more understanding and open-minded. I need to adjust. I have to give way and set aside my personal comfort. By doing so, the relationship between us would be smooth. Therefore, the teaching and learning process would positively take place, too.
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Another concern is teaching zero level students who have no basic knowledge of English
Can you imagine communicating with someone who can speak only one or two words? It sure is a big task. It would require a lot of time, repetition, practice and application. I am a teacher for a reason and a purpose, and that is to help especially this kind of student. I have to teach them the fundamentals of English, just like a mother teaching and guiding her children how to take the first step and ultimately walk. Cliché as it may seem, but no pain, no gain. This is true not only to the part of the student but to the teacher as well.
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Finally, attitude problems can affect the learning process
I can’t expect that all students really want to learn English because they love it or are interested in it. Some students study English because they are forced by their parents. Others do as they need good English skills to get or keep their job. Cooperation and motivation are not always guaranteed. It is, therefore, my role as a teacher to find ways that can encourage them. I have to make my class fun, so they won’t get bored. I have to explain the lesson as simply as I can, so they won’t easily give up. Fortunately, they work!
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These are only some of the many reasons why teaching can be arduous and painstaking at times. It’s definitely no joke. Nevertheless, witnessing my students improve is the most rewarding and fulfilling feeling I can have. No matter how many and how great challenges come along the way, teaching will remain my passion.
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