Monday, January 13, 2014

Instructions: Handle with care...


This post is a self-reflection, maybe a warning to my potential students and their parents...
Maybe I shouldn't expose myself so much, but I've got nothing to hide!
So here it goes:
  • I don't go by the book! I do use a coursebook and grammar and test books but this is not everything. I use songs, videos, magazines, pictures from Facebook, Instagram, even Quotes from people on Facebook, as prompts for discussion.  I also use these apps as a break when I see that my students need time to unwind... Yes we lose maybe 3-5 minutes from the lesson, shoot me!
  • I don't like exams. I don't believe in this "certificate - system". For me learning a language means knowing how to use the language, not pass the exam or get a certificate...
  • My primary goal when I start working with new students is to make them love the language, get them interested, motivated. Covering the whole book is not important...
  • And yes, it is not that important to take 1000 tests and essays before the exam... It just makes the students stressed. I do not believe in pressure.
  • Am I strict? NO I AM NOT! I don't believe in commanding my students as if they were soldiers. This doesn't mean that I am against strict teachers. It's just not my style.
  • Am I close to my students? Yes I am! I am their older friend. I know that most people do not believe that this can happen. I am there for them. I share my life with them, they share their life with me. They trust me. That's good....
  • No I am not a traditional teacher, I am a little crazy, isn't everybody?
  • Yes, sometimes I get tired,especially if I have worked for 8 hours straight. Sometimes I get sleepy... I am only human...
  • I am totally kinaesthetic. If I don't move or do something with my hands, I cannot concentrate. So when I have a private lesson you will always find me writing or drawing on my books, switching on and of my mobile phone, even browsing pictures on instagram or facebook. This doesn't mean I am not concentrated on my work or that I am chatting online during my lessons!!!
  • I don't keep things from people. When there is a problem I say it. And I appreciate straight-forward people. Holding grudges or intentionally keeping secrets from me is as if you told me that you consider me a stupid blonde (although I am not a blonde anymore)
  • Am I a good teacher? I don't know that. I know that I totally love my job, I give my whole self to it. And I don't do it for the money. It's because I want to pass my knowledge to people. It's because I am proud of all my students, old and new. I am proud of everybody who studies or works abroad and I know that I helped a bit too to make it happen! I am proud when I see that my students become teachers, I am proud when my students are able to communicate when abroad. And I really love it when after years they come and say hi!
My writing all this doesn't mean that I don't respect other teachers and parents who have different opinions. But I believe that honesty IS the best policy.
Maybe I am not the best teacher for everybody, maybe some people find my ways TOO innovative or too "rebellious" and I don't blame them.
But being open-minded is not a bad thing... giving new ways a chance is something we should all do.

I started writing this because I got really upset today. Some people told me not to take things personal, but I do take it personal when somebody judges me on my work without seeing the actual results.  
Anyway... that's it... feel free NOT to agree with what I said...

2 comments:

Katerina said...

I totally agree with everything you say and I have always disagreed with the Greek system of learning foreign languages. I do not have a certificate in English myself (because I refused to take one) but I don't have any problem using English when abroad or at my work. On the others side there are several people with certificates that hardly can say "how do you do".

If more teachers were like you Dora, learning languages or other stuff would be more fun.

Keep up the good work and don't let narrow-minded people kill your spirit.

Theodora Pap said...

My dear Katerina, I really don't know if I am a good teacher or not... lately I wonder if I should just go by the book and do the least I can. Giving your best - self doesn't seem to be appreciated these days...