What Personal Qualities are Important for English Teachers to Successfully Fulfill their Duties?
To be an excellent English teacher, who has the most potential for a long term successful career as an English teacher, I believe numerous personal qualities are important, if not necessary, to have. The thoughts laid out here are my opinion, based on teachers I have had in the past, as well as more specifically, the type of qualities in a teacher that I think would help to make learning English as a foreign language more easy, enjoyable, and effective, were I a foreign student learning English.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Rio R. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
For a teacher to have a friendly way about them, a quick smile, or an encouraging word, it helps so much in making the classroom a welcoming place to be, where students that may not feel comfortable at first, feel at home. It is such a simple thing that goes such a long way.
The next thing I will touch on is about being open to other country's points of view, culture, and/or other religious beliefs. To go to a foreign country and hold exclusively to your own beliefs and opinions, and try to effectively teach there, without welcoming in at least some of your students' culture, traditions, etc, could severely limit how willing students will be to open up and engage with you as the teacher. I have relatively limited traveling experience and experience with other cultures so far, but, for example, wai-ing in Thailand to people who are older or of higher status than you, or asking questions and being genuinely interested in how something is done in their country, even if it is different or not as effective (at least in your opinion), than how you do it in your home country, can help make them feel at home with you, and will go a long ways in building a bond of friendship. Remember, it is YOU that is in THEIR country.
Love to help
Another important quality to have as a teacher is a genuine desire to help your students learn. All the knowledge in the world concerning English teaching will be wasted if a teacher does not take the time and care to go over sticking points in students learning of the English language. Students can feel the attitude of a teacher, (obviously) and if the teacher is always rushing through every lesson just to get through it and be done, a student will notice that and many times it can reflect on their learning curves, as it can fluster students when they have to go on to the next point in a lesson before they fully comprehended the last point, and make the lessons start to jumble together. Understandably, nobody has a perfect day every day, and sometimes a lesson may need to be hurried a bit, but it is still important for the teacher to do their best to maintain a level head and keep any frustrations with students in check.
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There are more points I could go over that I believe are important for English teachers to have, but I think the above points tie in nicely with each other. Almost anyone can follow a lesson plan and teach students English, but to have your students truly excel, and enjoy their experience.. and for you to excel as an English teacher, regardless of what degrees you may hold, I believe these qualities are must-have's if you want to be a truly top-level teacher.
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