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The Key Responsibilities of an ESL Educator in Class

The Key Responsibilities of an ESL Educator in Class | ITTT | TEFL Blog

When I hear the term role, I often think of a theatrical production. Which role is so and so playing? “What has to do they wear?” is another question for what the teacher does in and out of the classroom.

Regardless of the term, I believe the answers are numerous. The teacher must fill many functions. Most of these roles will stay the same regardless of the age of the students, whether they are clients in a mandatory English class paid for by their company or a classroom full of elementary students in a US public school setting.

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

Teaching Abilities

To convey knowledge to another person is a function that does not change regardless of the setting and student population. A teacher must be capable of teaching the subject at hand, which would be the primary hat teachers would wear. They should be the subject experts in the classroom and must possess the ability to have the students learn the subject. To what level a student acquires the skills depends on a few factors, which include the teachers’ ability, but also the student's cognitive capability and their predisposition to the subject.


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Caregiving Responsibilities

In many settings, the teacher must occasionally act as the caregiver. At the elementary level, the teacher may be the person who wipes the tear and applies the band-aide to the scraped knee of a grade one student. This caregiver role would continue as the teacher moves into teaching other grades, such as taking time to ensure that their middle school students know that they can come to them with their problems and that the teacher will listen. It is also in this latter group that the role of disciplinarian becomes tested. Elementary school classroom management is entirely different from the middle school years. Both begin with having a proper rapport with the students, individually and collectively. They must know that the teacher is fair as they are held accountable to the rules set in place. Most importantly they also need to know that the reason the teacher will hold them accountable is that the teacher cares about them. They need to know that the teacher sees them as individuals and desires what is best for them. But as the children grow into adolescence, begin to test their limits, and learn to question authority, they can be especially difficult to keep focused! As the student's age into high school, they still need to know that the teacher cares about them and that this is the primary reason they set and enforce expectations for the student’s behavior as well as to maintain an academic standard.


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Mentoring Abilities

As the age and maturity level of the student increases, the role of the caregiver morphs into that of a mentor. Specifically, when working with clients who are enrolled in English for a Specific Purpose (ESP) class, the teacher would normally not need to enforce proper classroom behavior, but must still hold the clients to a predetermined academic standard. If a client is being tutored one-to-one, then the standards could be set by the teacher and client. However, if this is an in-company group, then the teachers are bound to keep the standard high as they are employed by the company to provide quantifiable results to adults whom they believe to be comp

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