Being a great English teacher.

taken from:

To be a good English teacher is a hard deal, but to be a great English teacher is a harder deal. Things that great English teachers do, they are ingredients which make good English teachers into great English teachers. Great English teachers need to be passionate about many things books, literature, theathre, their classes, film. They are people to be reckoned with, people with opinions, people you can not ignore. They are people who students want to listen to and ask questions of. Whatever their age, these teachers are still relevant to their students’ lives. They are texts maniacs. They are always reading something. They would never say they do not have time to read anything any more. They could not live if they did not read .These teachers will usually be reading and divert the course of something they read last night in bed and exemplify the relevance of written texts in life. These teachers work too hard. They write out advice-sheets for their classes, sample essays, give detailed feedback, write plays, and take coach loads of kids to the theatre. If they look like they are not working hard, you are being conned. They love individualism and relish the eccentrics in a class (the naughty ones as well as the well behaved ones). The naughty ones will often only behave for these teachers. These teachers have something individual to say to each student and call them out and talk about their work one to one. They say when they are disappointed about something a student has done, but mostly they celebrate success by sharing enthusiasm for a job well done. Students know when a teacher really knows them and you will note when ex-students send cards or make visits to be reminded that great English teachers change people for life. They balance spontaneity with structure and their lessons can feel hugely creative and unpredictable. Yet they fit into an overall developmental pattern. A student will know where he/she is heading, what he/she needs to work on to improve. And it will all feel so fluid, so unforced, and so natural. This is the great English teacher`s gift. These teachers are risk-takers and have their own favorite texts but they frequently try new finds. They are not afraid to use grammar or punctuation exercise if that is what is going to clarify the thinking of the class. But mainly they use texts to encourage and challenge young minds, even when they know that the text may be a little high level. It is a sign of their self confidence, of their high expectations. They mix  idealism and pragmatism and have high ideals about students gaining a love of literature and relish for the infinite complexity of language, but they are happy to simplify language to a series of accessible rules if that will help their students’ progress. They are undervalued. These teachers should be showing teachers in all subjects how to teach, how to build students ‘confidence, how to structure lessons, how to assess skills and knowledge humanely and precisely. They love the process of teaching and its creative opportunities. These enjoy listening to students talking. Like watching their drama, reading stories. The students complain about it but it is what drives them. Great English teachers have a powerful emotional impact. You can walk out of their lessons felling you can do things (can read better, write better, think better and learn better). They get nervous on the day of exam results it is a sign of their concern that their students should do well in exams, as well as enjoy their subject. They live the exams along with their students. And they are more important than they realize, they teach the most important skills within the most important subject. They remind us of the power of language and the delights of literature. Great teachers do all this and more, they have an impact beyond their knowledge, influencing generations of young people. They are the reason many of us are ourselves English teachers. Studies and being well-prepared English teacher is not enough. We must show students how to attempt their goals in an interesting way and encourage them to do it whit confidence and enthusiasm. Besides a great teacher need show students that they are the most important point where we need to start.

Steve Spangler – How to be an Amazing Teacher


3 responses »

  1. Hello dear Viry,

    Your post is very interesting! I like it a lot.
    I agree with you and that is why, I think that to be a great Teacher involves many things. To be become a great Teacher is a hard task. In this case for us, the idea is to become a “GREAT ENGLISH TEACHER” is the same. I mean, most of us are working and studying at the same time, some of you have family, children and other jobs to attend during the week, etc. For this reason, I believe that one day after all the effort we are doing now a days we are going to be great English Teachers.
    So, we should have in mind these words: Do not give up, we can do it!!!

    Thank you for sharing it Viry!
    Good bye!


  2. hello! great teacher Viry. You were in your “momentum” of inspiration at the time to write this post. During all my life I have had many teachers who have inspired me in a certain way, as in the publicity of Buchanas “we are the shadows of all those people who have touched our lives” However now that we are in the other side, we need to have in mind that we are an example for our students and we have to realize that we do not have all the answers; therefore someone said me that “being a teacher is not knowing all the answers it is helping students to know the answer.
    Thanks for the reflection.

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