Tips for Teachers of English

As the world becomes a smaller place, the primary language being learned around the world is English. English teachers are needed in every corner of the globe. If you are a native speaker of English with a college degree who loves to travel, then this could be the right job for you.

Finding a Job Yourself.

If you would like to try to find a job teaching English somewhere else in the world, you should start by checking out International Job Offers. Here you can search the listings for teaching jobs in any country in the world, and some resources and tips to help you on your way as well. You can both peruse job offers and find advice about English jobs and salaries.

Using an Agency

If you would like a little more personal guidance on the way to your new international English teacher position, you might try using Education Employment Agencies. Here you will find a listing of agencies searching for qualified English teachers. These employment agencies serve as the vital link between employers who desperately need to fill positions with qualified people and the people who want to do the work. Agencies can sometimes get you multiple job offers. By using an agency you can spend more time working on your skills and less time browsing ads for jobs that may have already been filled.

Know Before You Go

Once you have found the job you want and landed an interview, what should you expect when you walk in? What are they going to ask you about in the interview? The perfect website for you to consult is filled with typical Teacher interview questions. The questions asked in these interviews are trying to suss out whether you have the typical skills and expected behavior of a candidate for the english teaching profession. Buzz words commonly come up in interviews, so you will want to make sure to study up on the latest educational theories out there. This website can help prepare you with example teacher interview questions in the areas of professional experiences, instructional skills, technology and computer skills, classroom discipline and management, knowledge of content and materials, planning skills, relationships, and personal qualities. Finally, there is an excellent list of nine tips to remember for the interview if you want to get the job.

Tips for English Teachers

Here are some tips to help you on your teaching experience:

1. Dress right

Jeans, sneakers, and just-out-of-bed hair may be okay for teachers in the U.S., but in many parts of the world, a neat appearance counts far more than credentials. In Korea dark clothes lend an air of authority. Red is to be avoided at all costs. In Morocco female teachers don’t wear pants, sleeveless blouses, or short skirts.

2. Behave appropriately

When it asked 250 students at the Sichuan Institute of Foreign Languages in China what they liked and disliked about native speaker English teachers, the students’ main gripe was the informality of foreign teachers, who often seem to undermine their own authority by acting in undignified ways. In the U.S. teachers go on a first-name basis with students, sit on their desks, sip coffee, and even bounce off the walls without causing student discomfort or losing prestige. But these behaviors don’t export well.

3. Don’t worry if students seem unresponsive at first.

Americans are used to participatory classrooms with plenty of teacher-student dialogue. Elsewhere, students are often trained to be silent, good listeners, and memorizers. It’s disconcerting to stand in front of a sea of blank faces, but expecting it reduces the shock. Introduce new concepts, such as discussion and role-play gradually. You’ll be surprised at how students will come to embrace the change.

4. Choose topics carefully.

There are still many countries in the world where people are hesitant to voice opinions because of a fear of reprisal. If you’re conducting a classroom debate, remember that there’s a distaste for Western-style argumentation in Middle-Eastern societies, and in Japan it’s offensive for an individual to urge others to accept his opinion. Certain topics may be taboo for cultural reasons: Most Americans don’t want to discuss their salaries or religious beliefs; Japanese may be disinclined to talk about their inner feelings; the French think questions about their family life are rude.

5. Don’t ask, “Do you understand?”

In China and Japan, students will nod yes, even if they’re totally lost, in an attempt to save face for the teacher. Even in a country as far west as Turkey, yes often means no.

6. Avoid singling students out.

Our society fosters a competitive individualism which is clearly manifested in our classrooms. American students are not shy about displaying their knowledge. In classrooms outside the U.S., however, showing solidarity with classmates and conforming to the status quo is often more important than looking good for the teacher. In Turkey and Montenegro students told me they disliked volunteering answers too often because it made them look like show-offs and attracted the evil eye of envy. If you want to play a game, make the competition among groups rather than among individuals. If you need to discipline a student, do so in private.

7. Be aware of cross-cultural communication styles.

French students appreciate wit. Venezuelan students like boisterous rapid-fire exchanges. In Japan, where debate is not as valued as in the U.S., students appreciate long pauses in discussions and silent “think time” after you ask a question. “Hollow drums make the most noise” goes a Japanese proverb, and Japanese students are uncomfortable blurting out the first thing that comes to mind. American teachers, who are uncomfortable with silence, tend to anticipate the student’s words or repeat their original question—both irritating interruptions for the Japanese student.

8. Present a rationale for what you do in class.

Your pedagogy is going to be very different from what students are used to. They’ll conform much more eagerly to new classroom content and procedures if they understand the benefits.

9. Expect the best of your students.

They’ll be serious about learning English because their economic advancement often depends upon mastering it.

10. Relax and enjoy yourself.

Happiness in the classroom is contagious.

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