One of the things I remember from initial teacher trainer is something a lecturer uttered to bring order to a class of nervous and exasperated young trainees who were panicking about the amount of assignments and TPs ahead of them. After a heartfelt cry for order, something like “shut up” but a bit more polite, she went on to explain how we were training to become teachers and how important it was and then said:
“Teaching is a noble profession”
This has stuck with me ever since and even more so as the lecturer in question was from a developing country and was teaching us about multiculturism and the joys and trials of teaching EAL students and refugees. She went on to explain about how we shape minds and set an example for students. Of course, when I was thrown into an East London failing school full of rather less noble people, it didn’t seem like I was much of a role model compared to parents, rap stars and soccer stars.
This has led me to think about this question:
“What would YOU do for EFL and your students?”
As a teacher you feel honor bound to do what’s right for your students and you make decisions regarding your personal life with this in mind. For instance, how many builders would say “ooh Kev, I can’t go for a bevvy cos I really wanna do a good job on this wall for little Tommy, I can’t let him down”?Hmmmmm????
I’m sure we’ve all made sacrifices for students so here are some to reflect on, they may or may not be mine.Who knows!
1)Keeping a class for 3 terms instead of changing teacher because there is nobody else specialised in the topic
2)Staying at a school until the term finishes so your students don’t have to change teacher in the middle of a course
3)Working late/weekends at home to prepare classes
4)Going to work on the weekend unpaid
5)Giving free lessons to weak students
6)Taking part in after work events
7)Giving up a better job offer because there is nobody to replace you
8)Buying books with your own money because there are no materials at all in English
9)Paying for your own photocopying because the department has no copier
10)Supporting students requests to change class/group/level to your boss
11)Completely changing the course/book because the students want to but it means not following what your boss says
12)Changing test grades/attendance sheets due to a sob story from a student
13)Helping students with personal problems by taking them to doctors/experts
14)Going to help students who are in trouble
15)Loaning students money because they have lost/run out of their own
16)Taking students out in the evening or weekends
Any sound familiar?