Getting Help from your Co-teacher

Getting help from your co-teacher is an essential part of teaching ESL. While you are teaching abroad you may have a native speaking co-teacher in your classroom while you teach.

2015 EPIK ArrivalsYou might have read articles about the ways in dealing with different situations that might arise with co-teachers or heard that it’s very important to get along with them. Sometimes it might be difficult to understand why they are there, what they are doing, and why it’s important to figure out how to work with them effectively. Here are some reasons the co-teacher is an integral part of your classroom!

1. They speak the language

This is very important when trying to build rapport in the classroom. Your students may not understand any of the things you are saying. If a student is having a problem in the classroom it is more likely that they will see the co-teacher than speak to you about it.

The co-teacher can be a liaison between your students and you, the parents and you, or even the other teachers and you. To be fully involved in your school community, it is important to understand the value of the communication from your co-teacher.

2. They studied ESL

Sure, you’ve studied English. You have been speaking English for the better part of your life and you think you know how it all works. They have studied English as a second language and know the nuances you might miss in accordance with their native language.

They might be able to explain to students these nuances better than you can because they have gone through it themselves. English is a difficult language to learn and most native speakers have a unique set of difficulties with learning it. Your co-teacher will know where these pitfalls lie and how to overcome them.

3. They have experience

Many, but not all, have probably been at your school for a fair amount of time and have seen many English teachers and students pass through their doors. They have a lot of experience in dealing with a multitude of people and problems and will know what to do if an issue arises with one of your students, parents, or even another teacher.

They know how the school is run and they know a lot about the inner-workings of the classroom. It is important to ask them and learn from their experiences as much as possible!

4. They are native to the country

This means they know what kind of difficulties the students face outside of the classroom. Is there a lot of pressure? Maybe a lot of homework? The co-teacher can share with you about the cultural differences that may be harboring some hard feelings or difficulties in the classroom.

It’s important to research these before you step foot in a different country but your co-teacher will know the very minute or minuscule differences regionally that many websites can’t offer.

5. They can usually help with lesson planning

They know what level the students are and where the students can improve. They might come to you with ideas and directions for your class and it might be a good idea to include them in your lesson plans. They are on the cusp of the student’s feelings and their parents and will be in the know if the students have any difficulties.

They have seen a lot of classes, taken a lot of classes, and will know how to creatively move your class in the direction of overcoming difficulty. It’s very important to listen to your co-teacher in these moments!

Your co-teacher is a wealth of knowledge when teaching abroad. They have a lot of experience with the native language, the native culture, the students, and the parents. They can be an integral part of your classroom and it’s very important to listen to what they have to say!

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