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Thread: What makes a good English teacher?

  1. #1
    Chukchi Salmon
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    Question What makes a good English teacher?



    I've taught English in Korea to children and teenagers for two years.
    I've learned so much during those years, and liked what I was doing somehow.
    But I often asked myself - mostly when I felt bad for a student failing, or student falling out, or students doing badly in exams, or sometimes for myself for not performing as I sould have, or seeing blank faces when I fail in getting a point across - what makes a good English teacher?

    I've noticed many members here were, are, or will be teaching English in Japan or even somewhere else.
    What is your idea of a good Enlgish teacher?
    Any tricks you would like to share with others?
    Any funny memory that still tickles you?
    I've just hit upon this topic, so I have to think and reflect myself, but I will definitely come back to share some of my 'wonderful' teaching years.
    This link is what reminded me of that.
    "James Cahill, History of Art" http://teaching.berkeley.edu/goodteachers/cahill.html
    Last edited by lexico; 05-02-05 at 11:58.
    Z: The fish in the water are happy.
    H: How do you know ? You're not fish.
    Z: How do you know I don't ? You're not me.
    H: True I am not you, and I cannot know. Likewise, I know you're not, therefore I know you don't.
    Z: You asked me how I knew implying you knew I knew. In fact I saw some fish, strolling down by the Hao River, all jolly and gay.

    --Zhuangzi

  2. #2
    Anjin
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    PATIENCE. But what do I know, I don't think I was a very good teacher.
    For information on the pros and cons of teaching at Nova English schools in Japan, check out

  3. #3
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    Empathy. Feel the difficulty faced by your student, understand his/her feeling.

  4. #4
    Chukchi Salmon
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    Love/passion. I think that helped me work hard, and push the kids to work passionately (when I could conncet with them)......difficult question I admit!

  5. #5
    Regular Member bossel's Avatar
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    Competence in your subject & in psychology (what Seasurfer called empathy), I suppose. One without the other won't work.

    Love & passion are not really necessary. One of the best teachers I ever had didn't like the subject he taught very much (at least he said so). Neither was he very passionate about pupils in general.

  6. #6
    I jump to conclusions mad pierrot's Avatar
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    PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE,
    and more PATIENCE!

    I think Brooker has it right on the money. Competence in your subject I'd rank second. (ha ha)
    Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it's cowardice.

  7. #7
    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    I think it really depends what kind of classes you teach. There is a world of difference between teaching children that are not motivated to learn (especially in "juku" where they don't want to be) and can't understand even simple sentences, or teaching advanced business people that want to discuss about the economy or correct their emails or presentations. Personally, I prefer and am much better at the latter. I even refuse to teach children classes or very beginner adults now (I don't have the patience and it bores me to death).
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  8. #8
    Anjin
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    I found that there were just as many "difficult" students in the high levels as there were in the low levels.

  9. #9
    Chiaki_Kuriyama_Fan
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    a good english teacher has to be fun, like my teacher mr O doherty, also they have to let you do activities not just writing everything down in a crummy exercise book, im not unintelligent but i just don't like writing...

  10. #10
    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brooker
    I found that there were just as many "difficult" students in the high levels as there were in the low levels.
    Yes, but easier to deal with maybe. The main problems with adults is the lack of punctuality and especially short-notice cancellations (or people who don't come without notice).

  11. #11
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    I'd say that a good teacher is inspiring.

  12. #12
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    humour... patience... not speaking in a monotone voice... XD
    teacher: *monotone* In English, the letter "u" always comes after a "q"...
    students: Zzzz..
    ~
    teacher: *monotone* You have a test tomorrow...
    students: Zzz...
    ~
    teacher: *cheerful voice* TEST TIME!
    students: what?... i didnt write it down! oh no!!!
    teacher: *shrugs* *hands out tests*
    students: *fail*
    teacher: too bad for you, then! *extra bounce in his step because he gets to write more "F"s on papers*

  13. #13
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    I'm quite patient, but I wouldn't say I'm a great english teacher. Empathy is great, as is actual interest in what the student is saying. Half my classes I just can't get terribly interested in, as most of what they say is nothing of great interest.

  14. #14
    Anjin
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    I'd say also a good teacher has to have interest in the student's success.

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