Teaching In Chicago And Japan: A Profile Of Mary, Part 2

japanmapjr.jpgTEFL Logue supporter Mary has contributed a teaching profile so others can get additional examples of what it’s like to teach English language…read Part 1 to see how she got her start and to find out about her experience in both Chicago and Japan. Continue on with this portion of her profile to read about her views on methodology and also what she learned from a couple of challenging experiences.

“Teaching adults is different from teaching children. An educator needs to keep the audience in mind – always. And throw away any pre-conceived ideas.

Of course each student is unique just as each teacher. Each class has its own personality. The first week or more, I’d spend some part of the class building confidence, getting to know my students so that they would want to come to class. With adults, I’d give them as much control as possible – teach part of a class, demonstrate something, whatever they liked and felt comfortable doing.

In Japan, in the program I was involved in for the children, I assisted the teachers. Because I was more limited, I decided to spend time having fun, being a bit goofy – everything to get the student’s attention – within reason! If they remembered learning English with the crazy American as enjoyable, I succeeded. English would be associated with something positive. 169

Every method is good if it helps students learn.

Two things stick out for me – passion for teaching and caring for the students. These qualities make for a great teacher. Knowledge and experience help.

I had students I couldn’t reach. I expected a lot from them in class and I also gave a lot. Most responded to that, but some didn’t.

Three incidents come to mind. One volunteer told me she could conduct a lesson better than I. I invited her to teach the following class. She did and passed the responsibility back to me. Most things look easy from the observation deck. Another incident involved a student who wanted
another teacher who was teaching the same class as I (younger, more attractive). After several weeks, this student asked if she could return to my class. I did not ask her why. It doesn’t matter. The main point is that she continued in the program and went on to college. Yahoo! My
91-year-old student was the butt of a few jokes. The young students especially, thought she was too old to learn! Ha! She fooled them and surpassed them in her learning curve. You can do anything if you really want to.”

A big thank you to Mary for sharing her experience!