When I first started teaching, it really felt like I was having to learn English all over again in order to teach it. This is true for many native speakers, and it is essential for us to be aware that being an effective teacher of English means more than just being able to speak the language. To explain what makes me a good teacher, I’d like to share with you some of the comments my students have made.
The first thing I usually hear from my students is, “I like your personality.” At first, I thought it was just a nice thing for them to say, but then I really thought about it. I can remember having boring teachers who just read from books and filled the whiteboard with notes that I had to copy. Although I learned a lot from those classes, I really had to force myself to pay attention. I strongly believe that having a fun, energetic personality makes my students feel more comfortable about using English and helps them to connect to lessons so that they really learn. Many students have difficulty expressing themselves so it is important that they are not afraid to make mistakes sometimes.
Finally, there is my use of error correction. Most students want and expect their teachers to correct their mistakes. I noticed that when students speak, they pay close attention to their teachers’ faces, so when a student makes a mistake I let them know by raising an eyebrow or slightly changing my facial expression. I prefer having my students try to correct themselves first because it seems more beneficial this way. If they can’t, then of course I correct them. It is also important to realize that every student is different and I adjust to each individual.
As long as I continue to include my personality along with my own style and approach in each and every lesson, I will continue to help my students become more confident about using English. I’m a good teacher because I understand what my students need and want from their lessons, and what they expect in a teacher.