What teaching English has taught me

What teaching English has taught me

Well, I’ve been teaching for about 11 years already and I’ve had the pleasure to teach a variety of age groups – kids, teenagers, young adults and adults. Some of that teaching was done at school, some of it at different language centres, some through private tutoring and currently for a corporate client. All of those teachings have taught me a lot.

  • Teaching is about learning

They say you live and learn, I’d add you teach and learn. It’s a curve. I remember when I had just started and had to prepare for every single lesson in very minute details, to the point of sometimes learning what I needed to teach in advance.

It was quite stressful, as I was working with adults where everyone had already achieved a certain level in their career and were looking at me to teach them something. Level of pressure? – a million. Through time I understood though that I needed to let go, that I was actually learning through teaching and that every next session was better than the previous one. This realization made me more self-confident and relaxed.

While teaching adults I learned a lot about very many professions, to the extent of understanding the lawyers and speaking with them using their terminology, discussing finance with bankers using their vocabulary, communicating with IT people quite freely talking about recent technological advancements, etc.

When I look back and reflect, I have a quite nice understanding of almost all professional fields. This makes me very happy, as where else I would have had a chance to learn so much by doing a completely different job?

  • Teaching is about patience

When working with kids, I understood that I have a long way to go to be called a great teacher. They were quite the opposite to my adult learners, naturally, and I was completely not ready for that. Being used to giving quite complicated instructions and having your group follow them with no issues, classroom management was a real issue for me in the beginning.

This continued for some time until I figured out the role of gamifying the teaching when working with kids. I learned to be patient and repeat the same instruction more than once. I learned to listen more closely and observe what works for each kid better and finally I learned to be more fun.

  • Teaching is about staying young

Next, I started to work with teenagers and young adults who were somewhere in between my adult groups and the kids. Well, this was a challenge to a whole new level. Here, I not only needed to be a well-prepared, fun and entertaining, professional and earn their trust, but also to be an up-to-date teacher ready to catch up with the students in terms of world changes, interests and trends and a whole new staff like Tik-Tok for instance, which by the way I knew was just a song.

I learned to use humour and tease nicely to spice up sessions. I learned that teaching is even much more fun than I thought. I learned to use new tools and platforms to deliver more efficient and result-oriented classes, etc.

With hindsight, I cherish all my teaching experiences and am continuing to grow and learn as a professional. But the most important thing teaching has taught me, is that you don’t need to take yourself too seriously, relax, have fun and it works out much better than expected.

Now we’re curious to see what has teaching taught you? Post your experiences in the comments below and let’s share.

Speaking activities are, obviously, essential for English language speaking classes. A lot of students join classes particularly to develop their communicative competence, become more fluent, versatile, adaptable, and confident communicators in English. However, designing speaking activities might be time-consuming and nerve-wracking for any teacher. We have prepared a memo with superb ready-made speaking tasks that will make your student talking. Download it here.

Armenuhi Seghbosyan

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