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Who is an ESL Teacher and What is Their Role?

Who is an ESL Teacher and What is Their Role? | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Although a teacher's role seems like a simple topic to discuss, it's far more complicated than most people credit for. The role of a teacher is pivotal to the students for a myriad of reasons. Based on how the teacher holds themselves in the classroom, it will directly correlate with the amount each student learns and the amount of respect each student has for the teacher.

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

Teacher's responsibilities

The teacher needs to be in complete control of the classroom to ensure they have the respect and attention of the entire class. The teacher should also be a resource when and how the students need them to be. By doing so, the teacher can guide the student's down a more self-efficient method of studying and learning. The teacher can accomplish this by instructing the students and teaching them how to use available resources on their own and in their own time. That way, the students train themselves not to rely on the teacher entirely. Another pivotal role of the teacher is to assess the student's performance and progress and give constructive feedback. ALL feedback should be productive. A teacher should never break the students down with condescending feedback. The teacher should discuss any mistakes the students may have made and tell them the things they did right. If it's not communicated with sensitivity and support, it could prove counter-productive and negatively affect the student's self-esteem, affecting the student's desire to learn.

Relationships within the classroom

Another major factor for a teacher is establishing rapport with the students and even co-workers. It's the teacher's responsibility to reach out to each student to learn about them and gauge each student's skill level and overall ability to accomplish the task at hand. This is one of the most significant factors in improving the student's desire to learn and participate. For students to perform curriculum-based tasks, such as participating during class, they have to feel comfortable enough in the classroom to do so. By establishing rapport and building a relationship with each student, it puts the students' mind at ease, and it also makes it much easier for them to approach you for help.

Personal teaching experience

I've had years of personal experience in the teaching field, although it wasn't a traditional school setting. I've been a Martial Arts instructor for over ten years now, and even though it's not a conventional school setting, a Dojo is still an educational environment. A dojo has an instructor, a curriculum that needs to be taught, and students who are there to learn that curriculum. So it is very similar to a traditional school setting in that regard. I've taught hundreds of students over the years, ranging from a wide variety of ages. I've taught toddlers (2-3 years of age) to the elderly (90+ years of age). The principles of the teacher are the same no matter the age of the student's being taught. The role of the teacher never changes. The teacher is essentially the tip of the spear. A fixed point that is unshakable in their morals and reasons for teaching. However, a good teacher should adapt their teaching methods according to each student's ability and needs. A teacher should also never show favoritism in any way, shape, or form and should always dispense knowledge evenly and accordingly. Again, the teacher and instructor should be able to adapt their teaching methods to match the students' needs, both as a whole and individually. A good teacher should break down each lesson plan in a myriad of ways to ensure that they can get each student to understand and process the information being discussed. To the best of my knowledge, due to personal experience as an instructor, I believe the teacher's role is within the classroom.

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