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Friday, May 11, 2012


The lack of respect for teachers seems to be universal.

As I sit here and write about this, understand it is a reaction to some recent events in my working life here. I am a teacher of English in Warsaw. This type of work is common for native speakers as one can get some work rather quickly. There are many, many people here who want and need to learn English.

The problem seems to be understanding what a good teacher does. Just because one speaks the language, doesn't mean he/she can teach it. I have seen some pretty bad teachers. These are the ones who simply talk a lot and expect the student to just "get it". This type of teacher throws in a few vocabulary words and after 60 - 90 minutes, the class is done.

Another issue is the bad student. These are rampant. This is the student who enters the class and tells the teacher how to teach. Literally, I have had students who come to class without their homework done and then express to me or my boss that I do not give them enough work or challenge them enough. Or they say (... and this is my favorite!), "I don't get to participate enough in class" and then become quiet when asked a question or asked to speak.

However, the crux of the problem as I see it is the creation of English schools as a business. By definition, this means the school reacts to the student. Some schools even refer to students as clients. They are not clients ... they are students and if they want to learn English, they need to be open to what the teacher is asking them to do. The administration of a school needs to understand and TRUST the teacher. Of course, this all depends on having qualified teachers as well as supporting the teacher. Decisions based on revenue in a school is a death sentence for the school.

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