Teaching English as a second language is not just a matter of knowledge but also of communication, intuition and passion.


When one asks himself/herself whether he/she is going to be a good English teacher then you should have two aspects in mind: first of all, are you good in passing on knowledge to your students, and second of all, what motivates you in starting your career as a teacher?

You are good, perhaps more than good, let's say even bright with regards the knowledge of English you posses: yet, if you do not know how to pass that on to your learners, you’ll find yourself stranded in front of at least a few pairs of wondering eyes stunned and helpless. Suffice to say that the stare of a student who doesn't understand what his/her teacher is trying to explain is discouraging and daunting. You have to be very good with words, spirited and observant. A good communication is a very good instrument to do with your students fun, interesting, educative and pleasant lessons.

Before proceeding to planning your lessons you need to adapt yourself to your learners’ level of reason and comprehension. Best explanations are the simplest ones. Always try to come up with vivid and dynamic lessons so that your "modern" student feels something different then just the ordinary lesson the teacher needs to teach. If you teach plurals for examples you can always ask your students to bring a favourite object to the next class and you bring yours and start playing with them. Make a bunch, couple them, use various word puns or even drawings, but never choose just to speak and write things on the board, it's BORING. Even for the teacher.

One of the difficulties is that sometimes the English grammar doesn’t have a related and stable correspondent in your native language. You should ALWAYS be aware that all students, at all levels, find it sometimes difficult to relate to the English tenses system. Even if there are rules to explain those, a good teacher will do that in a funny yet rigorous way. Use everyday examples so that your students will find it very easy to address themselves to those situations, thus creating a better understanding of the phenomena.

Students have a vivid and curious mind. There will always be moments when their questions might surprise you, even trouble you. Never forget to smile and answer them back with another question. Make them think, discover and enjoy English language. And don't forget to observe their spirits; their mimics and gestures represents their guestbook regarding your feedback.

Another aspect a good teacher should have in mind is that teaching English language is not just a matter of teaching the grammar an vocabulary only. Tackling the cultural aspect might surprise you in the response you might get from your students. Find out about their passions and try to incorporate those in your lessons: sports, movies, Harry Potter, etc. Use as many visuals as you can: powerpoints, diagrams, charts, cartoons, whatever crosses your mind but keep challenging them, you'll discover they like it. And talking about your favourite cartoon character or sport is always easier then just playing with fill in sentences or unrelated multiple choice exercises.
Be sure of yourself and show that confidence. Never let the doubt show its tiny head or they’ll get advantage of you. Sometimes you might face situations when you just don’t know a word; explain them that being a second language learner yourself means that you continually improve your vocabulary, as should they.

But what drives you to be a teacher? If it is just a comfortable job then perhaps you should change your mind. The students need a teacher with a passion for English language, who dives into all aspects of it and who is eager to pass them on. All students are highly intuitive when it comes to that.

Never forget to plan your lessons. Even if sometimes it works to just play by the ear, soon you’ll find yourself lost if you don’t have a masterplan for your lessons all year round. Thus you'll be able too plan not only the knowledge, but your time and materials. Don't be shy to ask them to prepare materials. ’hey might find it funny and appealing. Always check their knowledge otherwise they’ll feel it’s useless to learn. Verification doesn't have to be a test. Instead, organize a CONTEST, make groups, establish a topic, rules, awarding points and go ahead. You'll check their previous taught knowledge and they'll have fun meanwhile. Learning is complicate enough, why making it harder? ALWAYS award the winners, encourage the others, and do that with every team or person. They can easily feel "neglected" and this might be a weakpoint for you.


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Teaching English as a second language
Author: Magdalena Iacob
English to Romanian translator
Platinum since Jan 25, 2017
By Magdalena Iacob
Published on 12/22/2009
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