5 New Year’s Resolutions for ESL Teachers
With each near year comes new goals and aspirations. All of us aiming to become a better version of ourselves than last year. As we usher in 2016 we should take some time to really think about who we want to become and ponder the steps we can take to get there.
I usually find it best to set realistic short, mid, and long-term goals so you can track your progress. I find, as a teacher, setting goals for yourself is particularly important – both in and outside the classroom.
1. Be More Patient
As teachers working with students in other languages we encounter plenty of miscommunication. Not only that, working with children can be really difficult at times!
We’ve all been in the position where we are trying to explain a new concept and our students just aren’t getting it. It seems like we’ve exhausted our usual methods of explanations; however, be diligent – there are dozens of unique methods for describing a new vocabulary word, idea, sentence, etc.
Another point to remember, kids will be kids. When your students are running circles around you or just seem to not be paying attention, remember that things will not always go your way. We are teaching young, developing people with varying personalities and opinions.
Take the time to create an environment where students feel comfortable being themselves while being able to follow the rules of the classroom.
2. Be More Consistent
What I have learned from years of teaching and coaching is the importance of consistency – in teaching style, discipline, and classroom management. Students need to have a basic understanding of what they’re getting into when they walk into the classroom.
Although, this doesn’t go to say that you shouldn’t change things up in the classroom. Try a new lesson, a different worksheet, new language, move your desks around, engage in new activities; however, keep who you are as a teacher the same.
If you prefer using a soft and gentle tone with your students, even when disciplining, continue doing so. Some days may be more difficult than others to utilize this method but stick to it, your students will benefit from it in the end.
If you don’t tolerate students interrupting each other when they’re speaking, always enforce that rule. Will you slip a few times? Of course, but do your best to stay diligent.
3. Remember the Good. Learn from and forget the Ugly
As teachers, we have the important job of sculpting young minds (sometimes older too!). At times, this can take a toll on our mental capacity and we take home baggage from the day. If this sounds familiar I leave this quote,
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Truly advice to live by.
4. Travel More
This one sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s one I had trouble doing in 2015.
As someone who tries to busy himself with work, sports, and friends I often lose out on traveling. There are plenty of day trips to make around Taipei that are relatively easy to coordinate. So, if you’re anything like me then, let’s make a conscious effort to pencil in some much-needed R&R in 2016!
5. Learn or Improve Another Language
It’s difficult for ESL teachers to find time around busy class schedules and grading papers, but we are living in a foreign country! Take advantage of it!
If you already know a bit of the language of the country you’re living in, then take this year to improve it. Being immersed in another language provides the best opportunities for learning. Schedule a language exchange or private tutor.
There are also plenty of universities and schools that provide online and face-to-face classes. Take the time for that first step to schedule a time for classes and stay dedicated.
Do you have any resolutions that you have made this year towards teaching? Let us know by sharing them in the comments section below.
Vadim Rubin is an ethnic Belarussian learning to speak Mandarin Chinese. He is a coach, teacher, linguist, athlete, and an aspiring world traveler. As an avid volleyball player and coach, he spends a majority of his time on the court with sweaty volleyball junkies. Off the court he enjoys to travel, write, and teach world languages. In the summer of 2012 he traveled to Taiwan to study Chinese and wrote about his adventures in his blog: 三個月在臺灣 My Three months in Taiwan . He documented his adventures in Taiwan and China on his blog Where’s Your Inner Child? He is now back in Taiwan teaching English, traveling, and discovering what life has to offer. – See more at: Vadim Rubin, Author at Baltimore Post-Examiner