lunes, 3 de enero de 2011

What makes a good professional teacher?


With the beginning of not only a new year but a new decade, the question in the title of this blog entry is more than pertinent, specially for those of us who are convinced that improving is the only way to go. Now, when we start a fresh, is the best time to sit down at the beach (lucky you!), breathe the ocean flavoured air, listen to the seagulls and the rumour of the waves , relax and talk to ourselves, intimately. You may come up with a list of traits that make a good teaching professional shine, here I want to tip you off on some ideas, probably way different from yours, but also relevant, “food for thought,” as a friend of mine used to say. Here we go.


As teachers of English, the first thing we must command is the language. It is sad, but this seems to be low in the list of priorities when training is put on the table. Maybe this year, those of us who still have not obtained an internationally recognized language certificate, will get one. There is time, all you need is will.

Another aspect we need to brush up is methodology, but when I say methodology I don´t mean the typical seminar where a very good actor-teacher jumps and dances around the floor giving me ideas on how to exploit a textbook. Happily, there are several good alternatives to become a professional; with a university degree, that is. And if you already got one, then there are advanced degrees on offer, too. It is all up to you.

The third dimension we must not forget about is the personal development path we all need to walk. The better person one is, the better prepared professional he/she will be. In this area, there are many alternatives; you must look for the one that fits your own interests and time. Take up a hobby, or a sport, or any other activity that will let you learn other things. Read books, in English or Spanish, go to the theatre. Anything you ´ll do, be sure they will be useful sooner or later.

As you may have noticed, my suggestions cover three areas: language command, professional expertise and personal development. I have already made up my mind about what I want to achieve this year (in the three areas). How about you?

Cesar Klauer

2 comentarios:

Carolina Lapointe dijo...

Hi Cesar, Happy New Year!!!
Speaking of resolutions I'd say I want to focus more on personal development regarding communication with other teachers. I've been following your blog and other blogs but I hardly ever post anything...and I think I have a lot to say. I'm still a lurker so here's my first resolution: to participate more in social networks and share anything related to my personal experience in the teaching field. Yours is the first blog I'm posting a message in and I hope this is the start of a new exciting experience!
I wish you and all English teachers in Perú the best for 2011.
Carolina Lapointe
Arequipa

Phoebe dijo...

Dear Cesar. Thank you for reminding us about the three aspects that make a good teacher. Last year I started working in a school for the first time in my professional life and reading your post makes reflect on whether or not I am fulfilling these requirements. As you said, it's good food for thought.