Teacher Roles

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Think of a teacher you have had at some point in your education. Think about why you are choosing to remember him or her. Chances are, you are remembering a teacher either because they were really, really good – funny, kind, effective – or because they were really, really bad – boring, mean, disorganised. Obviously, as teachers we would want to fall in the former category, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Being a good teacher (and a memorable one) means being able to take on a number of different roles in the classroom. Teaching is not as simple as teaching, but rather it involves a range of other roles, like acting, counselling, laughing, entertaining, disciplining and educating, just to name a few!

First of all, the teacher is the educator, but teaching does not always lead to learning. In fact, teaching usually does not mean standing in front of a class, using the board to explain a concept; that’s just one way of teaching and it’s definitely necessary at times. Teaching also means guiding the students towards their own learning, nudging them in the right direction, letting them think for themselves and motivating them along the way. Your students will often need your input and your help, so in this way you act as a resource of information and knowledge.

Of course, learning shouldn’t be boring so a very important role for any teacher is that of entertainer. Maintaining a relaxed atmosphere in class is important, as is keeping the lessons light-hearted and the students entertained. You don’t need to be a stand-up comedian but learning is much more fun when everyone is having a good time and not feeling unnecessarily stressed.

At the same time as all this, the teacher needs to act as the controller of the classroom, making sure that activities run as smoothly as possible and ensuring the transitions between activities are easy and uneventful. In other words, you are the one allocating partners or organising groupings. On top of that, you need to make sure all the materials you need are available and in working order.

Finally, the teacher also needs to act as the disciplinarian. At times it is necessary to step in to resolve discipline issues to make sure the classroom remains a peaceful working space. Unruly or disruptive students need to be dealt with promptly and appropriately so as not to affect the other students.

All in all, the TEFL teacher needs to be able to take on a number of different roles in the classroom. At any point in any lesson you may find yourself teaching, disciplining, laughing, explaining, prompting or directing. In fact, while you may think being a teacher is just one job, being a teacher is actually a combination of a whole lot of different jobs!

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