What makes a good ESL teacher?

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Re: What makes a good ESL teacher?

Postby NonTocareLeTete » 18 Apr 2012, 16:16

Toe Save wrote:For Adults: Get them talking and listening. Fergit grammar, test prep, and all the other neat little packages they sell to their customers. Build confidence and help them understand that rote learning is not the way to become proficient with a language.

I can back this up. I'll add to it:
* Teach them to respond to the way people actually talk, rather than just textbook speak.
* Try to help them out of their fossilized errors, pay attention to what they say, take note of what sounds weird, and try to help them sound more natural.
* Take into consideration their actual learning goals- they're taking a test soon? Teach to that. They'll be travelling in the future? Teach to that. They will be using English at work? Teach to that. They work in the service industry? Teach to that. They're retired, bored, looking for a warm and inviting environment to make friends and pass the time? Play the hospitable host, make em smile, ask for their advice, enjoy their company.

I'll maintain that a HUGE part of being a good teacher is taking care of the emotional needs of the students while they're in your classroom. If someone is uncomfortable, scared or angry at you, they won't learn anything until they get over it.
Try to sincerely care about them, try to improve their lives, and enjoy their company - if you're doing those three things, it'll make up for a whole slew of mistakes.
As far as kids... :s I couldn't figure out how to teach in a way that I felt was improving their lives. Felt the time would be better spent with Mom and Dad, doing something they enjoy, developing their talents- basically doing anything BUT sitting in a buxiban classroom after having been at school all day. So I got out of the kid teaching business here.

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Re: What makes a good ESL teacher?

Postby jdsmith » 18 Apr 2012, 16:49

As far as kids... :s I couldn't figure out how to teach in a way that I felt was improving their lives. Felt the time would be better spent with Mom and Dad, doing something they enjoy, developing their talents- basically doing anything BUT sitting in a buxiban classroom after having been at school all day. So I got out of the kid teaching business here.

Teaching kids is tough, and I have felt the same way, especially when I see a kid slowly falling into the cracks. :neutral:

Things are changing somewhat nowadays. More and more kids in our school ONLY study English after school. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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Re: What makes a good ESL teacher?

Postby Puppet » 18 Apr 2012, 17:20

jdsmith wrote:Oh please. I've worked at several of those places and what, their material is boring? Waaa. The students are mixed levels? Waaa. A good teacher can teach anything.

A LOT of teachers who work for chain schools are quite good, so the point about the bosses being GREEDY businessmen is pointless. What? A business shouldn't make money? gtfooh. :loco:

The bosses rarely teach the classes, btw. I used to teach in universities too and you know ho had the best English in those classes? The kids who went to Hess. By far.

Being a good teacher starts with respecting your job and yourself. If you can't do one or the other, the problem has little to do with your boss. :roll:

An English teacher is far removed from a person who makes money teaching English.


Point made.
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What makes a good ESL teacher?

Postby headhonchoII » 18 Apr 2012, 17:57

jdsmith wrote:
As far as kids... :s I couldn't figure out how to teach in a way that I felt was improving their lives. Felt the time would be better spent with Mom and Dad, doing something they enjoy, developing their talents- basically doing anything BUT sitting in a buxiban classroom after having been at school all day. So I got out of the kid teaching business here.

Teaching kids is tough, and I have felt the same way, especially when I see a kid slowly falling into the cracks. :neutral:

Things are changing somewhat nowadays. More and more kids in our school ONLY study English after school. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:


Pretty self serving statement there. Its okay that they study after school as long as its English.

I think we all know a good teacher when we see one. Not very scientific I know.
I would also say can the teacher maintain the energy and enthusiasm to remain a good teacher. Do they have the support and material to work with?
Can they earn enough to keep going? Teacher burn out is a huge deal.

Still the real deal teachers do seem to find a way. I was not a great English teacher. I think I could teach science or geography quite well though. That's because I have enthusiasm for those subjects.

As for the standardized testing, I saw that is is an ethnic Asian lady who introduced the program in the US, quelle surprise.
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Re: What makes a good ESL teacher?

Postby jdsmith » 18 Apr 2012, 20:03

headhonchoII wrote:Pretty self serving statement there. Its okay that they study after school as long as its English.

Is that what I said? I said more and more of OUR students are only studying English after school. I'm very happy that A) they think that English is important, and B) that they have chosen to stick with us for years. :thumbsup:

My kid has studied art, Taikwando, acoustic guitar, swimming and when he was real little he went to du jing classes and English in our school. wot wot? :lol: Being busy isn't all bad, although I hear you on the studying school subjects 24/7 blowing goats. :thumbsdown:
I think we all know a good teacher when we see one. Not very scientific I know.
I would also say can the teacher maintain the energy and enthusiasm to remain a good teacher. Do they have the support and material to work with?
Can they earn enough to keep going? Teacher burn out is a huge deal.

Still the real deal teachers do seem to find a way. I was not a great English teacher. I think I could teach science or geography quite well though. That's because I have enthusiasm for those subjects.


Good teachers are fun, have fun in the classroom and make the kids feel as though they too are having fun. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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Re: What makes a good ESL teacher?

Postby merge » 18 Apr 2012, 20:27

jdsmith wrote:The bosses rarely teach the classes, btw. I used to teach in universities too and you know ho had the best English in those classes? The kids who went to Hess.


I've been thinking about this for a while now and I have to agree - I've been teaching in universities for years, and the students that shine tend to be long-term students from Hess.

I would also advise many of you to listen to JD when it comes to two things: running a school and Japanese authors. The man knows what he's talking about.
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Re: What makes a good ESL teacher?

Postby Puppet » 18 Apr 2012, 20:31

merge wrote:
jdsmith wrote:The bosses rarely teach the classes, btw. I used to teach in universities too and you know ho had the best English in those classes? The kids who went to Hess.


I've been thinking about this for a while now and I have to agree - I've been teaching in universities for years, and the students that shine tend to be long-term students from Hess.

I would also advise of you to listen to JD when it comes to two things: running a school and Japanese authors. The man knows what he's talking about.

Just so we aren't confused....I stated no problem with Hess. I chose my schools carefully. (Just don't want anyone to think I made a blanket statement about chain schools).
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Re: What makes a good ESL teacher?

Postby ironlady » 18 Apr 2012, 21:02

merge wrote:I would also advise many of you to listen to JD when it comes to two things: running a school and Japanese authors. The man knows what he's talking about.


Yeah, well, he's a foreigner running an English school. In Taiwan, the larger question of English teachers (as stated in job ads) deals mostly with Taiwanese bosses running cram schools which may or may not teach actual English. The proportion of teachers hired by foreign bosses is small compared to the masses hired off planes and Internet ads each year by local bosses and chains.
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Re: What makes a good ESL teacher?

Postby jdsmith » 18 Apr 2012, 21:08

merge wrote:
jdsmith wrote:The bosses rarely teach the classes, btw. I used to teach in universities too and you know ho had the best English in those classes? The kids who went to Hess.


I've been thinking about this for a while now and I have to agree - I've been teaching in universities for years, and the students that shine tend to be long-term students from Hess.

I would also advise many of you to listen to JD when it comes to two things: running a school and Japanese authors. The man knows what he's talking about.

I'm coming to the end of 1Q84 and I swear I have no idea what he's going to do to them. :D

And thank you. My wife and I have worked inordinately hard at making our school a good school that does the right things for the right reasons, and we have been blessed by the families in Ying Ge who saw RESULTS and kept with it. It's hard to leave now when some of them have been with us for 10 years but what they most want to know is when their kids can join us in NY for Part II. :bow:

I enjoy teaching and I enjoy living in Taiwan. Last night our new teacher was doing TPR with a baby class. After the break, she asked me how they could answer the Yes/No questions in the TPR book. I quickly cut up red and green squares and did a kind of TPR demo. In minutes, the kids were not only showing red and green at the right time, they were correctly SPEAKING, saying Yes and NO in all the right places. VERY first class, yo. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

Teaching English in Taiwan is a great gig. Better is you know what the hell you're doing. Best if you give a shit. :cool:

ironlady wrote:
merge wrote:I would also advise many of you to listen to JD when it comes to two things: running a school and Japanese authors. The man knows what he's talking about.


Yeah, well, he's a foreigner running an English school. In Taiwan, the larger question of English teachers (as stated in job ads) deals mostly with Taiwanese bosses running cram schools which may or may not teach actual English. The proportion of teachers hired by foreign bosses is small compared to the masses hired off planes and Internet ads each year by local bosses and chains.

Don't you poop on my parade, lady! :raspberry: :lol:

But yes, that tends to be true. All the more reason for foreigners, especially married ones, to open their own damn school and do it right. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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Re: What makes a good ESL teacher?

Postby TaiwanVisitor12321 » 01 May 2012, 18:18

Everyone that's said anything about teaching adults in here must work in a different place than I do.

Today one of my new adult students couldn't wrap her head around why I asked her about her weekend rather than launching directly into the class's material. She said if she talks we won't have enough time to finish the class. I told her to let me worry about the time; she can worry about practicing English. After class she complained (in Chinese) to the other students about how I talked about lots of things that weren't in the book and wasted time. I'm also pretty sure this student understood about 15% of what I was saying and shouldn't be in my class, but that kind of situation isn't going to change any time soon in Taiwan.

They want me to directly read from the book and then sit there and not do a damn thing, and magically learn English from this somehow.

I have SOME students with half a clue, and they told this new one that I'm a nice guy and she can ask me questions and talk with me. I'm pretty sure that didn't change her opinion at all though. She wants me to just surgically implant English in her brain so she doesn't have to try or do anything.

I've had the worst luck teaching them how to even start a conversation. "How are you?" is an extremely difficult question for them. The better ones know how to say "fine." or "normal" and the conversation stops dead at that point. I ask them what they've done lately, and they say nothing. I talk about the weather and they stare at me. I talk about news around Taiwan and they might nod and then go dead. I ask them if they have a topic they want to talk about or an English question to ask me. HA. Yeah right. They have no desire to even TRY and actually think it's a waste of time to speak, at all. Memorizing vocabulary words is the only thing that matters. That only takes a small part of the class time, so the rest of the time I have to just kill time. I will lose my students if I make them do anything... ANYTHING. They will sit and listen, and that's it. The ones that talk just ignore what I say and ask an endless stream of questions even though it really disturbs the class.

They're the boss, period. I don't matter. This is most of the reason why their English is still garbage.

These people are really a bunch of disrespectful jerks. I'd love to have a class with people that actually cared about learning English. I'd love my job. I have a great time when I have a few decent students.

I asked them what they wanted today when they wouldn't talk, and a guy that ignored my repeated questions earlier suggested that I ask the students questions. I suggest you listen to me when I'm asking the goddamned questions. Jesus. I told him I asked him several questions just minutes ago, but when Taiwanese people hear something they don't want to hear they just go back in their shell and nobody else will think it's odd, so they have no pressure to answer me. Everyone else just stares at me until it's just basically me pushing against a brick wall and it looks like I'm just wasting time, so I have to drop it and move on. THIS really gets me angry. I'd feel so embarrassed in a class if a teacher asked me something and I said nothing. Everyone would laugh at me. In Taiwan everyone thinks the teacher is an asshole for even trying to talk to a student.

They're all dead inside. I've never seen people so soulless as in Taiwan. I really do like teaching, and I do try to improve myself, but these people just have zero passion for English. They can't even say hello, or are so rude that they refuse to. They literally give me money to argue with me about not wanting to learn English.
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