Masimbaashe Kapembeza

Teach Enrich Empower

How To Be A Successful ESL Teacher

A lot of people have come up to me and told me that I'm a good teacher because I have a lot of energy. This is a misconception, being energetic is a bonus and the most important aspect of becoming an exceptional ESL teacher is 'passion'. Yes! Passion.

As the Portuguese international football player, Cristiano Ronaldo says “I have no secrets, just my dedication and my passion.”

You need to be passionate

Before I became an ESL teacher I would always tell my high school students to choose a profession in which, even if they didn’t get paid, they would still enjoy doing. Once you’re passionate and dedicated to what you’re doing, the negative portion of the workplace won’t affect you in such a big way –it will be easier to focus on the positives.

When you’re passionate about what you’re doing –this rubs off -the students are inspired, interested and excited about what they are learning. A passionate teacher is what makes students decide to study more. Because I’m passionate about what I do, I’ve seen my students improve and I’ve seen unprecedented success everywhere I go to. Good and exceptional teachers need to be passionate. It requires a little more work, a little more imagination and a little acting ability. Passionate teachers are fiercely devoted and committed to their work and greatly inspire their students. Passion leads to creativity; therefore, passionate teachers have the ability to think and produce new notions in an easy way.

Be prepared to be versatile

Walking into class for the first time in a foreign country can be overwhelming. I vividly remember the first time I walked into class, students and parents gazed at me and whispered. I felt so anxious and nervous – my palms were sweaty. For most of them it was the first time they had seen a person of colour in real life. This was not easy for me and it was daunting. Being adaptable and versatile about my job and having an awesome team around me helped me jump this hurdle.

“I have no secrets, just my dedication and my passion.”

Love for the job is essential

I decided to become a teacher because I love teaching. At present, the most people take the job as English teachers, just to earn money, which means they are likely to approach the job with a lack of passion.

High Level of Commitment is necessary

The strength of any profession depends on the degree of commitment of its members and teaching is no exception (Fox, 1964, p18). It is widely accepted that a distinguishing feature that teachers have is their dedication and commitment to the development of student achievement. Fried (2001) supporting this idea states that there is connection between passionate teaching and the quality of student learning. As stated by Einstein ‘every person is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to fly high, it will give its entire life believing that it is an inane’.

I wish you all the best in the classroom and remember, with passion and dedication you will see unprecedented success in your profession.

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