What the Success of a Teacher Depends On

21.11.13



I received another rejection letter today (trying to get this book published!). And after the last nasty comment here, I should just quit, right? But I've decided to start using this blog as a place to advocate what {the missing teacher} is about: you, me, change, education and of course, teaching.

Because even though this part of my story is "finished," there is still so much to say about education and what it means to be a teacher. I'm actually proud of myself for returning to teaching after having such a shit experience in private schools. This is something I need to remind myself of, especially during these door-closing days.

And what I'm finding through teaching English as a Foreign Language in Thailand is:

1) Teaching success depends heavily on the class. Besides the responsibility that the teacher carries, and we always hear about how it's the teachers job, success is actually a group effort. 

I work at a language school, so my schedule changes frequently, every 6 to 10 weeks. The levels I teach also change, and I teach multiple classes as well. This gives me the opportunity to try new things, and work with a variety of different students and class dynamics.

Great personalities, just right compatibility and energy with my students has helped my teaching to sing and soar. Because I can have the best lesson plan, the best games, the best attitude, but if my students won't meet me halfway, won't make the effort, or worst, I have discipline problems, my best lesson will fall flatfooted down the stairs.

2) Success also relies on support. Having the administration and my colleagues stand in solidarity behind me means more than the world, it is my world. Feeling dejected, unappreciated, unnoticed, on top of working my ass off, has got to be one of the worst feelings about teaching.

I've heard too many stories (outside of my own direct experience) of administration siding with the "paying customer" or student, or going behind the teacher's back, to know how damaging and corrosive this can be for teachers. It shows a real lack of respect, whether this is intended or not.

3) Remember 1 and 2. Teachers do A LOT and put of with a lot of crap for little compensation. Sure, we enjoy helping students, that's why we're here. But supporting the good teachers, which are essentially your front-line workers, is the most important thing about running a successful school. For me, to forget this, is to forget "which side your bread is buttered on".

Ever since my Waldorf school days, I've found it highly ironic that we teach our children to "play nice" and "say nice things" and yet, we fail as role models ourselves. Telling our students to respect teachers and remembering that creed is a very simple and real action we could start doing today.

And look, there's no money involved.


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