Sunday, April 10, 2005

Answers to April's ideas

This is in response to April's message to Taiwanese EFL teachers yahoogroup:

I would like to focus first on the last two because I believe if we could bring about change in ourselves as teachers then this group [taiwanese-efl-teachers yahoogroup] has already achieved its purpose. I also hope that in the future there will be more taiwanese teachers in cram schools who'll be joining this group. For those who are already here I hope that you've already learned a thing or two and that you'll stay to continue on learning.

April wrote: 3.Should the experienced teacher train the new teacher?--I know most of the teachers don't want to share their teaching mothod with the new teacher beacuse they think if I teach you how to teach the kids, maybe I will be replaced some day. I don't want to share the experience with anybody because "that" is my tool to survive in the area(at the cram school). I think those problems are happening to me in the past one month. I am still learning and I often question myself how to be a good teacher?
I believe that this boils down to teacher's attitude, her willingness to share and cooperate with colleagues. Protecting one's own interest is human nature and we can't force people to do something that they don't feel like doing. Let us take this group for example, many of the teachers here are Taiwanese teachers, not all contribute to the discussions. Many are receiving messages, perhaps they read them and delete them afterwards. Are they learning something? Well I hope so! Are they sharing something to the group? Some- yes, some- may be in the future. Do some of you here feel that once you share your ideas- you'll lose your jobs? Not really- since we don't work in the same school. but, do you sometimes refuse to share what you know for personal reasons? Have you ever experienced feeling insecure about losing your job hence you keep that trade-secret [good teaching] all to yourself? You may or may not post your answers but I want you to keep these questions in mind.

Should the experienced teacher pass on her knowledge to other teachers? Should she? My answer is pretty simple: if she's paid to train you, then she doesn't have a choice but to do so. That's part of her job. What kind of a teacher trainer would she be if she refused to share and pass on what she knows?

If you're talking about a co-teacher whom you find a little 'protective' of her own interest, then I say, we can't blame her. That's the way she is and so just let her be. Mind our own business, and do something that is productive. Teachers who find it difficult to collaborate usually do not have many friends and more often than not find it difficult getting along with people. In any oragnization, interpersonal skills are very important. If I were an employer I would want my employees to work well together, to form a unit that is focused on achieving our organization's goals. Teachers who refuse to work together harmoniously make a manager's job difficult. It's either you retrain her or fire her. but as a teacher who works in the same environment I say focus instead in improving yourself. Let the boss decide on her fate.

A teacher who keeps on learning, updating her self with new skills and learning and applying teaching methods tends to keep the job. If you feel that you are armed with good teaching skills and interpersonal skills then you will never feel insecure of losing your job.

As an English teacher in cram schools, you may soemtimes deal with criticisms [parents, co-teachers, etc]. How do you deal with them?

How do you become a good teacher? How would you describe a good teacher? Perhaps, Elizabeth and Arnold could share their insights on this topic.

Cheers and have a nice weekend.

I'm off to church then to a bridal shower later this evening,


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