What is a Teacher and What Are They For?
As a teacher, there are several roles that one must assume to do their job effectively. Often, the idea of a teacher is to simply show the material and grade the students, but that is not necessarily the truth. As an instructor of any topic it crucial that you know the material, have a positive influence on the class and can be flexible in all situations. I love the expression "A good teacher can make a hard class easy, and a bad teacher can make an easy class hard".
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Andrew B. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
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Planning and Creating Materials
First and foremost, the teacher must have a strong comprehension of the material. As you are the first time many of the students will be exposed to a particular level of English (in a TEFL setting), you must know the correct information. This can be anything from having the correct pronunciation, spelling, grammar, parts of speech, etc. As one teaches the class, it's also very important to let the students get many chances to interact with the language itself. The instructor shouldn't simply talk at the class and expect them to understand. The students must work through the language by vocal classroom activities and other hands-on techniques.
Attitude Towards Your Class
The next important factor regarding the role of the teacher is to have a positive influence on the class. Anytime someone learns something new, they generally feel nervous and are out of their comfort zone. By being an encouraging, positive instructor, one will help their students to relax and become more receptive to the material. For example, if a student answers a question incorrectly, it's much better to correct them with encouraging feedback then to simply reprimand them for being wrong. Being overly disciplinary or harsh will have a more negative effect and will compromise the class's desire to learn the material.
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Finally, the role of the teacher is to be flexible in all scenarios. If you are too rigid in your teaching style, it will jeopardize the flow of the material. Situations such as age, skill level, country of origin of students, teaching techniques/books must all be taken into account when creating a lesson plan. Flexibility before the class is important, but you must also be able to adjust oneself on the spot during the lesson. For example, if there is a behavior problem, you must know how to deal with the issue before it disrupts the entire class. Another scenario such as the one used earlier, if a student is speaking and is incorrect, being flexible enough within yourself whether to correct them or continue with the class is another aspect of teaching. One must know when to step in or let certain things slide depending on the situation.
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In conclusion, the role of the teacher is not to be an unyielding and harsh, but instead to be knowledgeable, flexible, and encouraging. You must present the material to your class in a positive manner, but let them do the work so they can absorb the concepts correcting when necessary. The instructor must guide the students through the material and not forcibly push them along.
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