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Thread: How are people preparing to become excellent teachers?

  1. #1
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    Default How are people preparing to become excellent teachers?

    Hey people,

    I have been reading posts on all kinds of topics on this webpage for about 3hours now (at 5pence a minute...my folks are going to kill me!). Its so great to know that most people's posts reflect my own fears (..and I have a few!). My biggest fear has to be related to my as yet totally unproven teaching abilities.

    What makes a good teacher? What are common traps that brand new teachers fall into?

    Will the orientation days in Tokyo ACTUALLY help?

    What preparations are people making to help ensure they will make half decent teachers...except reading a few english grammar books?

    P.s> I can hardly control my excitment about the forthcoming year, if only I believed in myself as a potential teacher! - I really hope when the time comes I can 'pull it out of the bag' so to speak!

    Lates,

    Brin

  2. #2
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    Try to think back to some of your favourite teachers and professors and think about why you liked their classes so much. That might help. Of course, your role as an ALT will be different from that of a "regular" classroom teacher who sees the kids every day, all year... What level are you teaching? Elementary? High school? Because that will also make a huge difference.

    In elementary school, you are automatically cool because you are not the regular teacher and you are different. Kids are super excited when you come, ask you for your autograph and think it's the greatest thing ever if you eat lunch with them or play dodgeball during the lunch break. A good elementary ALT needs to be patient, energetic and friendly.

    In junior high and high school, just being foreign isn't enough to make all the students squeal with delight when they see you and try their hardest in your class. Kids will be a lot more hesitant to speak and, especially in the upper grades of jr and sr high, many kids will have decided that English just isn't for them, so why should they bother. Other kids may be great at English, but they might not want to stand out, so they will hold back in class.

    It is important in jr and sr high to act confident and to be able to laugh at yourself. Don't walk in all worried that they're going to hate you and you're going to suck. The kids will pick up on that attitude right away. Even if that's how you feel, fake it. Patience and friendliness will help here too. Try to chat with the kids outside of class. I've found that kids are sometimes a lot more willing to make an effort during lunch break, or when you run into them at the grocery store. Plus, once you've made a connection with the kids outside of class, you'll find they'll try harder in class as well.

    And, above all, ALWAYS have a plan B, even a plan C if you can because then, when something goes pear shaped (which at some point, it's sure to do) you can just move on to the next thing without breaking a sweat, reinforcing your image as a "cool" teacher.

  3. #3
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    I'd imagine your relationship with the staff (esp. JTEs) will be a big factor in your happiness at school. If you get on well with your JTEs, they will be able to help you with teaching strategies.

    From what I gather, you will just be assisting a JTE and not taking a whole class all by yourself anyway, so it probably won't be half as frightening as you think!

    If a JTE invites you to take a class over, and you don't feel comfortable you can just say so!

    Teaching is all about comunication, so as long as you can deliver yourself in a manner that is inviting, fun, interesting (not clammed up, uncomfortable, shy!) then you will be fine!

    My best advice is to put yourself into the position of the children in the class. Think how they might be feeing and how they would like you to be. British kids respect strict but fair teachers who have a sense of humour. I can't say if this is the same in Japan, but on the same note, you shouldn't have to take any nonsense!

    Gambatte!

    Hannah X
    Over-optimism modest chocolate and a soft marshmallow lead you in elegant tea time.

  4. #4
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    Don't be afraid of silence. If you ask a question, wait. Especially in language classes, it takes longer to process information and formulate responses. Just wait. Interviewers and teachers know that it is very hard to wait.

    Ditto about having a plan B and C. There was one day when everything went wron in plan a, b, and c. If you use technology, especially powerpoint, make sure you have set it up once before, and be prepared to go without it, just in case.

  5. #5
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    Hey Hannah,

    I asked a Japanese freind who is fluent in English what 'Chotto tsugo ga warui desu' means, they told me it means 'I cant make a time for it a bit'.

    Anyway, it looks like you have edited your message now. Either that or i'm very confused - both possible.

    ..and yes. I am the same Brin =)

    Lates

  6. #6
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    Hi Brin,

    How bizarre, I didn't delete my message?!! The moderator must've taken offence!!

    Anyway, the Japanese (which I've forgotten already!) was that let down line for a date... 'I'm busy' or something like that!

    Oh, that means I won't be able to turn down any date in Japanese now?!! Agh!

    Which flight are you on?

    See you in a week!

    Hannah X
    Over-optimism modest chocolate and a soft marshmallow lead you in elegant tea time.

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