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The Ever-Changing Role of the Teacher

The Ever-Changing Role of the Teacher | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Deciding what role will be held as a teacher as many variables. Teachers can be anywhere from instructors to policemen and many things in between on any given day. Being aware of which role is necessary and when will have an impact on the teacher and students.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Johnelle M. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Let us begin with the role of the instructor

When taking on the role of instructor, knowledge of what is being taught is important. In this role, the teacher is the one students will look to for an understanding of what they’re looking to learn. When teaching English as a foreign language understanding sentence structure, proper pronunciation, tenses, etc. are essential. The instructor will have all of their student's attention and are trusted to teach correctly the knowledge they know. However, viewing teaching as a whole it is not always necessary to instruct.

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This takes us to the next role of facilitator

During the lesson, there are times when students will need a place to perform activities. Therefore, the teacher must “facilitate” their need and provide an environment conducive for better learning. The facilitating teacher will also provide the needed materials to complete a task. In this role, it is best to allow the students to work on their own or in groups without interruption. Quietly observe to be sure the proper usage of grammar and being available when help is needed.

young esl teacher

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When in front of the classroom the teacher becomes the mentor to the learners

Teaching English as a foreign language means you are teaching in a foreign country to non-native speakers. The teacher may be the only contact a learner will have with a native English speaker regularly. Hence, it is important how the teacher speaks as this is what students will imitate. In the years to come students will look back at what their mentor taught them for guidance on their journey in life.

Sometimes a student will show up to class and the teacher will notice something may be wrong.

Time to focus on the role of a psychologist

When a student is dealing with personal issues the last thing they will be focused on is the lesson. Therefore, dealing with those issues before teaching is key. Help the student by listening, showing compassion, and offering simple advice that can help them cope with the issue. This will not only help a teacher build good rapport but also benefit the student as a learner. There is another role similar to the psychologist with a few differences.

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The counselor

The teacher acting in the role of counselor will also help a student and offer necessary advice. In this role, the teacher will focus on the future of a student. Helping them define which path they want to take in their learning career. Offering advice on which tools will help the student learn better and succeed. As opposed to focusing on personal issues helping students to understand their future will help them focus on the lesson for the long term goal.

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Now onto the policeman

At times the teacher needs to police their students. When students are misbehaving the teacher should make adjustments to the class for the benefit of all. Changing seating arrangements will prevent cliques or disruptive groups from adversely affecting the learning process of the rest of the class. Being able to maintain control of a classroom essential. Walking around the room in between aisles will allow to make sure all students are working, prevent cheating, and deter unruly ones from causing trouble.

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In conclusion, yes, there are many important roles of a teacher. Which one to use and when will ultimately lead to success. Over time a teacher will sharpen their ability to decide. This will greatly benefit the students and allow the teacher to enjoy the work they do.

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