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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:
The Role of the TeacherThe role of the teacher in the classroom is vitally important. Without the teacher you are missing half of what makes up a class- teacher + students. Teachers affect the classroom whether they want to or not. A bad teacher will affect the classroom as much as a great teacher, just in different ways. One negatively impacts the class, while the other positively impacts the class.
The teacher has a role before he/she ever steps into a classroom. The first role of a teacher is to properly prepare him/herself for being a teacher. For some the role of teacher might come naturally, while for others it might be something that must be learned. Just like all mothers are not born great mothers, they can still work on becoming a great mother. Likewise with teachers- all teachers can/should work on becoming great teachers.
Being prepared for the classroom is very important. It can make the class interesting and fun, moving smoothly from one phase to another. The time a teacher puts into the preparation for a class, is time well spent. It is always to be over-prepared than under-prepared. Always better to have more than enough materials and ideas for games and activities than to have dead time in the class while the teacher desperately tries to think of something to do in these last 5 minutes…
Another area that a teacher has control over is the attention that he/she shows the students. Teachers need to be fair about attention, and be very sensitive to all of the students in the class. It is a good idea for a teacher to know what they can about each student in their class. Some students will come from homes with very supportive parents, while others will come from what we might refer to as a dysfunctional home. Whatever the student’s home life is like, the student should feel safe and secure in the classroom. He/she should feel as though the teacher is an advocate for them and not an adversary.
Another function of the teacher is to be observant to the classroom dynamics. These might be very subtle, but a teacher who is aware of the undertones in a class is a teacher who will have a better class. When a problem arises between 2 students, a teacher who is proactive will find a solution to the problem which will alleviate the problem during class time, and hopefully help resolve it. Teachers always need to be aware of bullies in a class, and deal with it privately if possible, publically if necessary.
Discipline is an area that every teacher who teaches children
will probably have to deal with. It is important when dealing with this subject that the teacher is prepared for problems before they arise. It is not that the teacher is looking for problems, but the teacher will be in a much better position to deal with a situation that may arise if they are not caught off-guard. It is important to know the discipline policy of the school. It is useless to discipline a child, and find out later that it was not a permissible punishment. A teacher should never threaten a child with harm or any physical abuse. The teacher should always maintain control in the classroom, even if one child is acting out in a way that is unacceptable. The teacher should never lose their cool and become ruffled. This will be an example to other students that the teacher is reliable and ready to deal with any situation. This instills confidence in the children as to your position of authority in the classroom.
A major role of a teacher is being able to evaluate students. It is an important role because students need to be given work that is challenging but achievable. This gives a student the confidence, and will help them in the classroom. A teacher must evaluate a student’s progress also to see how affective the work that they have is. This helps a teacher determine materials for future classes.
A good teacher needs to be able to involve all of the students. The students need to be able to use their knowledge each and every class time. It is up to the teacher to remember that the more the student is able to use what they know and be involved, the more they will retain. Benjamin Franklin summed it up quite nicely with his quote, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
All of the roles of a teacher are important, and it is important to remember that we hold the power to leading an amazing dynamic class.