Sometimes when we sign up new students to our courses sometimes we have students who come with their parents and say that they have been learning English for 1 or 2 years.
Alright, if a student has been learning English for 1 or 2 years then he or she must be at Intermediate or higher level, right? At least this is what we expect.
But alas a student writes the test and the results are really heart-breaking – Elementary or even Beginner. That’s impossible. You say maybe he/she wasn’t attending and participating in the lessons very well and that’s why his/her end results are so poor.
You are right.
But what oftentimes happens in my case is that such students turn out to be really good students, really good learners. So that’s why I decided to write about teachers today.
I always write about students, right? I mean this web-site is full of stories taken from students’ life. But today let me write about teachers so that you guys can find yourself really good teachers in your life and stick to them. So let’s go.
I personally categorize teachers into four.
- Akmal, are you sure you want to continue writing?
Type # 1: They know their subject very well but don’t know how to teach.
Your life will be a disaster with them because oftentimes such teachers can’t find the easiest way of explaining the things. They know a lot, but they can’t simplify the things and deliver them to you through the most effective ways possible.
Type # 2: They know their subject not so well but know how to teach.
Now you may think that your teacher must know everything. He/she must be really smart and really genius. In fact, no … he/she does not have to be all-knower. A good teacher must know how to teach, guide, inspire, motivate, encourage, direct, construct, systematize and etc.
Type # 3: They know their subject very well and plus they know how to teach their subject.
Rarely you will find such teachers. And if you are lucky to find them then it is only via word-of-mouth because really great teachers hide themselves from students because they already have tons of students searching and waiting for them. Such teachers charge a lot, but they really maintain high quality. They know their subject really well and plus they know how to teach what they know.
Type # 4: They don’t know their subject (but act like they know it really well). Plus they don’t know how to teach.
Oh Gosh, stay away from them. Such teachers oftentimes graduate from the university, can’t find a job and then start teaching. They don’t know their subjects and they don’t know how to teach. Plus the most horrifying thing is that they don’t want to admit that and don’t want to work on themselves to develop further.
That was my humble categorization of teachers. You may disagree with me if you like. I am fine with that. =)
Now let’s talk about things good teachers do when they work with their students. This will help you identify if you are working with a right teacher or not. Are you excited? =)
1. Good teachers teach all skills
They don’t teach just grammar or just speaking. They teach all the skills – speaking, writing, reading and listening. Well, if you specifically ask your teacher to teach you only grammar because you should pass grammar-based tests, that’s a different thing. But if you come and say “Hi, I want to learn English really well” and that teacher only teaches one skill, it is highly suspicious. Why? Why he/she wants to teach only one skill when you actually should learn all the skills? Ask yourself.
2. Good teachers promise less and overdeliver
They don’t promise you too much because they want you to join his/her group or because he/she wants you to attend his/her private lessons. They don’t give any guarantee. They don’t make things sound too good to be true. You know what I mean? They promise less and always over deliver. Once you guys start working together you really see you have some of the best materials at hands and you are making a real progress. Slowly but surely.
3. Good teachers are always prepared
Not only they are prepared, but they are always on time to their lessons. They also end their lessons on time which proves their lessons are well-planned in advance. Their materials are prepared on their desks and they know what and how they are going to teach today, for example.
4. Good teachers do what they preach
If they say reading is good for you, then it means they really believe in what they say. So that’s why they read a lot. If they say you should never stop learning and you should always keep learning, they also do the same. They also learn many things every day and they are always on the move.
5. Good teachers make students work hard
They talk less and do more. And they do more with the students. They know many and many of ways of how to make students work, work and work. Remember you don’t learn by knowing. You learn by practising or doing what you know.
6. Good teachers respect their profession
And only if they respect what they are doing in their life, you are more likely to succeed otherwise…. If a teacher teaches you because there is nothing better out there for him/her then sorry you got yourself into the trouble. So if they respect their job, they will teach you really well.
7. Good teachers know their students
They know their character. They know their strength, weaknesses, problems, likes, interests, pace and etc. And not only they know all of this. They are also equal to all students. They don’t have favourite students because all students are favourite for them.
8. Good teachers know what materials to use
About a month ago there was a student who came to Direct English to sign up for a course. When I was talking to her I asked him what materials his previous teacher had used before. As soon as I heard what he said I was numb, speechless and shocked because the book the teacher used to teach him English was Raymond Murphy? I was like “What? Just Murphy?” He went like “Yes” I said “OK, everything is clear”. Now let me tell you what is wrong here? Raymond Murphy is often used as a supplementary reference book. It is not a coursebook. It is used when, for example, a student does not understand Present Perfect and the teachers makes extra copies and gives the student so that he/she understand the topic better.