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What Makes a Good Teacher

By Shlyakov Dec 18, 2012 1343 Words

Ex.1. Warming- Up

1) Do you agree that to be a good teacher you must be genuinely interested in what you are doing? 2) Give your argumentative comments on the following statements: a) An ignorant teacher teaches ignorance, a fearful teacher teaches fear, and a bored teacher teaches boredom. A good teacher catalyzes in his pupils the burning desire to know and love for the truth and beauty. b) “A great teacher is a great artist and you know how few great artists there are in the world. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since its medium is the human mind and the human spirit” (John Steinbeck).

Ex.2. Read the text and explain why teachers a supposed to be so different from people of other professions. Speak about your attitude to the idea expressed in the title.

A Teacher’s Lot Is Certainly a Different One

Say “teacher” and a clear image forms in people’s minds. People usually think that teachers, if female, are intense, persistent creatures, and if male, are a little strange. They would refer to teachers they know and proceed to generalizations, most frequently concerning their quarrelsome emotional way of discussing things, their dictatorial or pedantic tendencies and, above all, their boring inability to talk about anything other than their jobs. Teachers themselves have a particularly self-conscious view of their role. Outside their working milieu, they tend to feel isolated and to grow away from friends who work a standard office day. The teachers’ job imposes exceptional stresses and conflicts, and these have the power to isolate teachers from everybody else, to alter their outlook and even their characters. Monday morning is a good example of the differences between school and office. In many offices you can arrive a little late, whatever is not important can be put off, and with luck you can have an extended lunch-hour. A teacher’s Monday is more likely to begin on Sunday night, when the first uneasiness creeps up behind. There are preparations to be made for the morning, and even if they have been made it is difficult to shake off a sense of guilt about the quantity and quality of the preparations, or vague resentment over the erosion of free time. From the moment of arrival at school there is no place for lethargy; children are all around, full of questions and bounce. The same worry can spill over into evening and weekends. Young teachers who have had college lectures on “discipline in the classroom situation” or “the deprived child” are not properly warned of the emotional impact children make on them. They sit and brood about the children’s needs and always feel that they could be doing more. Of course that’s true, but the best teachers are the ones who can switch off, by doing whatever work is necessary, and then refusing to let it encroach further on their life. If a teacher falls ill he can’t afford to stay in bed till he gets well. Knowing the difficulties that absence creates in school, with the class being split up and loaded on to colleagues, teachers don’t stay when they should, and often totter back to school before they are fully recovered, propelled by anxiety. It is this kind of intensity that makes teaching so extraordinary. Extremes of behavior are more common in the classroom than people would believe. Many teachers discover in themselves depth of bad temper, even rage, they never knew they had. But the rewards of the job are so special that teachers learn to maintain high expectations, and apply them generally. The experiences they have at school have a great influence on their attitudes to jobs and people. Most of the generalizations about them are rooted somewhere in truth – teachers are different – but few people bother to find out why. Ex.3. Render the text “A Teacher’s Lot Is Certainly a Different One” covering the following points: 1) A clear image of a teacher formed in people’s minds. 2) Teacher’s self-conscious view of their role.

3) The difference between school and office.
4) The intensity of the job.
5) Special rewards of the job.

Ex.2. Read the text and answer the questions:
1. What do you consider to be more important – a good teaching skill or a good command of English? 2. Can the facts given in the text help you to answer the question “Who is a good teacher?”

Who Is a Good Teacher?

Should teacher whose command of English is rather poor teach the language? There should be a great deal less teaching of English in the world if the answer to this question were a clear “No”, and one hesitates to give such an unqualified answer. It is not even obvious that the best teacher is one who has acquired an almost effortless command perhaps as a result of “inheriting” the language as a mother tongue. The matter is more complicated. It is hard for the thoughtlessly competent speaker to simplify, hard for them to see what the learner’s difficulties are. Furthermore, the command of a language is not necessarily accompanied by skills in teaching it. The unskilled teacher with a good command and perhaps an analytical awareness of the language too, is common. On the other hand, the skillful teacher who is still struggling with the language himself and who has some considerable distance to go, but who can interest his pupils and transfer to them a good measure of his own language using ability, is far from rare. One may also ask two straight questions: Is the relatively effective teacher interested in the craft of teaching unlikely to seek improvement of his command of the language? Is the relatively proficient user of the language, having found himself ineffective as a teacher, as likely to seek improvement in his teaching skill?

Ex.4. Arrange the following ten characteristics of a good teacher in order of preference and give your reasons.

Ten Characteristics of a Good Teacher

1. I want a teacher who has a contagious enthusiasm for his teaching, i.e. one who loves his students and his work. 2. I want a teacher who is creative and employs various techniques to engage students’ mind. 3. I want a teacher who can add pace and humour to the class. With such a teacher we have a good time learning, and we make a lot of progress because we are not afraid to make mistakes, we can take chances. A good teacher maintains an excellent pace in the class. He never loses an instant consulting a list or thinking about what to do next: he tries to capitalize on every second. 4. I want a teacher who challenges me.

Speaking the target language to the learner prepares and challenges him to speak that language too. I want a teacher who can maintain a level of difficulty high enough to challenge me, but not so high as to discourage me. 5. I want a teacher who is encouraging and patient and who will not give me up. 6. I want a teacher who knows grammar well and who will explain something on the spot if necessary. 7. I want a teacher who will take an interest in me as a person – one who will try to discover discussion topics that interest me. 8. I want a teacher who will take a minute or two to answer a question after class, or who will take five minutes to correct something that I have done on my own. 9. I want a teacher who will treat me as a person, on an equal basis with all the members of the class. 10. Finally, I want a teacher who will leave his emotional baggage outside the classroom.

Ex.5. Use the characteristics given in the text and speak about yourself. Can you definitely say that you are a good foreign language teacher? Have you discovered any features of your character that are rather discouraging?

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