Do you think that teachers should only teach because that is their profession? But here is the truth; teachers not only teach but learn the lessons of their lives. We learn valuable lessons while we work with our students. And here they are:

Lesson 1

You may fail

Even being a really good teacher and a great professional, there can be cases when you fail. You may fail to understand the student’s needs, you may fail while setting the goals and developing the strategy. It is normal; it is life.

But you know that every failure is a great lesson, and it is there to put a new perspective, to set a new challenge. Teaching is not a set of algorithms that work without any issues. We work with people. We work with their rational and irrational needs and emotions.

Lesson 2

You may get exhausted and work by default

When we teach a lot and intensively, we start working on autopilot. This is a self-protection system, and it shows that our body has to save us and our resources. We should not panic, but also we should not take it as a normal state. It is there to show us that we either need to slow down or take a short break.

Lesson 3

Students need to understand they are unique for you

We may think it is simple, and we may be surprised when someone tells us this. But this is the lesson I learned after many years of teaching adults. They are people with emotional needs, and they want to feel that they are special. You will have to show that you care. Your sensitivity and care will make them feel confident.

Lesson 4

It is ok not to correct every mistake

Students make mistakes; teachers intuitively want to correct those mistakes. However, there are situations when we do not correct those mistakes. When your student needs to develop some communication competency, some mistakes may be ignored. There can be mistakes that are very informative and show that the language is developing. And we may feel happy about these mistakes.

Lesson 5

You can break rules in teaching

Every period has its own “believed, trusted’ methodology, or approach to teaching. For example, nowadays, we speak about the communicative method or absence of grammar-based translation. These methods are effective but believe me, simple grammar-based translation methods in some cases proved to be very effective in my experience. However, to be able to break the rules, you should know them very well.

Lesson 6

It is ok to say “I do not know”

There are cases or situations when students ask for some words or phrases. We should not panic. I learned to say “I do not know”, without the fear of losing the reputation of a teacher who knows everything in English. When I take the time to investigate, I save my face and give accurate information to my student.

Lesson 7

We learn from our students

Yes, we do. I learned from my students a lot of things, which proved to be very useful in my life. For example, a student who worked as a doctor told me about vitamins and minerals, and this knowledge is absolutely useful in my life.  Another student who was in dubbing taught me how to better use my voice when presenting or giving a public speech.

And the most important lesson that I learned —  we will never be replaced by robots. We deal with humans and their emotional needs; robots cannot do the job we do.

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