People say that being a teacher means a lot more than just getting ready for the lessons, making the process challenging and affordable and conducting careful feedback. Everything in the teaching process is logical, well-laid and organized. We as teachers can skilfully hold needs analysis, create a program and put it into life. But besides being a well with knowledge, optimism and never ending enthusiasm, we quite often have to perform other functions and exercise other feelings.
How often do you face a situation when you come to the lesson, enter the classroom and see 15 people who represent absolutely different emotions. Some are happy and smile to each other, while others are totally busy with making up the business schedule for tomorrow or just sad, angry and irritated at the same time? That is the moment when you are eager to say :"ok! If you are not in the mood today, see you next time!" But a teacher will never do that, because we are professionals not only in the that language we teach, but also have psychology, pedagogy, philosophy and common sense at our fingertips.
The matter of planning
Having graduated from University or college, or having mastered CELTA, every teacher knows that we are to start with a well-thought lead-in and we are to finish with feedback, keeping in mind strict time management, teacher's talking time and various types of monitoring. I strongly recommend each teacher to have a "Secret box" with nice and funny games and activities, warmers and ice-breakers, which are easily applicable for any vocabulary topic or grammar revision. This collection aims to contribute to both: positive atmosphere and good language practice. From my experience it always works and even the most serious and never smiling men in suits forget about tough business issues!
You know! But they don't!
One more point to mention about lesson planning: it's only you yourself, your colleagues and your diary who know about an ideal lesson scheme, but not your students! They will never have even the slightest hint that you've missed some ICQs or Ccqs. Allow some freedom and an element of unexpectedness to the lesson, some clever jokes or wise anecdotes, but to the balance. Students will remember the language and hot discussion, cultural notes and humour, but not the lesson stages!
Friendship? What Friendship?
This is probably the most widely spread problem of new teacher's, especially at colleges and Universities. Being a graduate I started teaching graduates at my University but from different department. Some of them were elder than me. Though I had honours diploma it didn't give me the confidence in myself and in my knowledge. At one moment I understood that I was trying too hard to be liked by my students. All the time I was extremely understanding and forgiving and students' urgent appointments with doctors and close aunts at the railway station frequented to the degree that I felt foolish. As a matter of fact, I realised it too late-at the end of the term, when there was no sense and any logical explanation why I would like to change our rapport. With the beginning of the next term I immediately decided to dot the i's and cross the t's. It didn't mean that I became cold, indifferent or arrogant, I just had responsibilities as well as the students did! No offences-no unfulfilled expectations! Just work.
I've been working as a private tutor for about 8 years. I work only with adults as I like their straightforward approach and understanding of the learning purpose. Private lessons are quite expensive, so one has to get ready for them even more meticulously, taking into account student's needs. In about a month or two of intensive lessons people start to accept their tutor as a mate to talk to, to express all possible emotions or consult on family issues. It's clear that we all need some distant person, so to say from the side, to have a look at the painstaking question. But! Tutors take money for the appointed amount of time, for the LESSON! And for me it has always been an ethical issue: how dare I take money just for chatting??? On the other hand one can't say: "No! We study here. So,please, leave your problems to yourself!" I decided on the rule, which I introduce at the first lesson "Only English is spoken here!" So when you suggest having a coffee, do it in English only and engage the students into the process!
In conclusion As Jim Scrivener wrote in his wonderful manual "Learning teaching", there are three main features of a good teacher: respect, empathy and authenticity. It's incredibly important to combine a professional and an ingenious human in yourself. "There is enough where there is not too much" as the proverb says, and I can't agree more.