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ESL forum > Techniques and methods in Language Teaching > The period from starting to becoming a professional.    

The period from starting to becoming a professional.

Russian Federation

The period from starting to becoming a professional.

Hello, my dear collegues.
First of all I īd like to warn you that this question doesn īt actually have an objective answer so what I need is your personal opinion and experience.
So what I īve been pondering over recently is how much does it take a newby in teaching(especially someone like me with only linguistic education and very young) to become quite professional? 
I don īt mean a professional of high category or a bright one I mean only someone who really knows what to do and how to do and when to do to give children knowledge and not hurt their psyche.
Another thing I wanted to ask is even more personal: what and how and how often do you learn or have been learning to become a profy? 
Not just reading books and watching movies and reading this forum and being anxious to learn something new but some special things you do to become a great teacher.
I īll be very grateful if you find time to answer this question, īcause I really lack confidence at the moment. Sometimes it īs looks like I īm never ever going to be a real teacher...Sorry for complaining.
Thanks in advance,

12 Apr 2009      

Snow- white

Experience does it all.You īll learn from your own mistakes and you īll get better each time.Don īt worry, you īll get to that point in time.Regards from Macedonia.

12 Apr 2009     

manonski (f)

I have to agree with SnowWhite.
Your question is not an easy one to answer. We were all newbie at some point. I can tell you that experience will teach a lot of things that training will not have given you.
When I have student teachers in my classroom or when I teach my university group I always tell them not to confuse inexperience with incompetence.
Have faith in yourself and your capacity as an educator.

12 Apr 2009     


Dear Nadezda,

I don īt think there is a certain period of time needed to become a professional. We become while doing it. My best piece of advice would be love and respect for your work and for your students. They will be the engine for your growth as a teacher. This may sound idealistic and romantic but it is not. If you truly love someone or something, you will always be in the search for better and innovative ways.  Books are important because they show other trends, philosophies of teaching, ideas, etc. However, I believe practice makes you try and test your ideas and improve your teaching techniques. Another thing I also value very much is this kind of exchanges with other professionals, of different years of experience of different areas. I believe everybody can offer valuable ideas.
So, keep in touch with them, attend courses or seminars where you have the chance to stay connected with them. Open your eyes , ears, mind , specially  to your students, they will be telling you what they need. 
Hope this helps you.     Hug

12 Apr 2009     


NARANJAS, hello!
The issue you are refering to is really interesting and i must confess I īve been in your place many times. Even now that I am teaching English for almost 10 years. Being a teacher means "never stop learning".... everything.... things that have to do with your knowledge of the language or the methodology you must use in your classes.... or even more to learn everything that has to do with kids (e.g. cartoons, kids songs that are in fashion) or with teenagers.
So don īt be in panic. You must be patient and always stable and punctual to what you say or do!
Love and devotion are some other elements that a teacher must have.... Be close to your students in a way that they can respect you and not just make fun of you...
If you look "panicked" they will understand it and the results will be disappointing...
And of course above all we are humans... we all make mistakes, we all want to be awarded and loved.
Just be you! Respect yourself and do the same for your students....
Many hugs and kisses....Approve

12 Apr 2009     


I believe that being professional doesn īt aquire time or AGE, it aquires effort. Sure time is very important, but Not all old teachers, or people of any career, are professional, While some younger ones are! It all depends on you!

Good Luck!!

12 Apr 2009     

Russian Federation

Thank you for all opinions. I really appreciate them.
And I īm  looking forward to reading even more.
P.S. I īm not panicking. No way. I īm constantly learning. Sometimes I just loose confidence in my self but then I regain it once again.

12 Apr 2009     


Hi Naranjas,
i īm just like you; a private teacher, and i īm quite satisfied with my profession as far as competence, efficiency and results are concerned-- thanks God..! So, i hope my humble tips will be useful to you..
Besides reading books on methodology, attending seminars and keeping in touch with more experienced teachers, you need to develop your own teaching method and learn from your own experience while doing so.. Never feel afraid of getting trapped into embarassing situations because if you do so, believe me, you īll unavoidably get through them sooner or later.. Therefore, you should always keep confidence in yourself. And to be sure of achieving this goal, you need to always prepare your lesson plans beforehand according to those students needs and capacities of assimilation (sometimes we don īt have to roughly apply teaching methods and rules; flexibility is sometimes mandatory). A well prepared lesson keeping in minds what your students expect of you will always make you feel confident and peformant in class..
As to acquiring experience, this comes with time and with making sure you use almost all your perceptions to spot where the problem is and how to fix it.. There is a French saying that goes; "C īest en forgeant qu īon devient forgeron." (= It īs through forging that one becomes blacksmith.)
In sum, it īs through teaching that we become a good teacher! Wink
Have a great day, Naranjas! Smile

12 Apr 2009     

class centre

Hi, Nadya!
How old are you?
I am asking that because age means much in your being nervous. Young people are either too bold or too  timid and lacking self-confidence. I am 53. I have about 30 year experience of teaching and working with languages. All I can say - life teaches us and we teach our students.
Don īt be afraid to say to yourself that you don īt know something. My students love to listen to my stories about certain language mistakes I made in my life. I mention them deliberately to stress something for the sts, to open a ridiculous or grave situations created by my mistake. So they remember the rule ( or exception) better and besides, keep a feeling we are close friends and share our things. Besides, they go understanding that we are to check ourselves and our opinions if there is a slight doubt about the usage of some word or rule. My slogan for them is "the first rule for an interpreter  is  hesitate always!"  Now my students know why...
And another thing, Nadya. To become a strong professional you need to have a strong teaching system. You should find and follow it faithfully. The  wise and well ellaborated system will teach you how to teach. If you possess such a system you will definitly know what to expect from your sts and how to achieve the results. I use the system called SCHOOL OF TOMORROW.
It is just great. It is student concentrated. It really helps them to learn but at the same time it guides the teacher in the right way. if you are interested I could tell you more in detail later.
You will be  a good teacher since you worry about it.
Good luck!
Natalya Vasilyevna ( a very old teacher)

12 Apr 2009     


After reading all the comments left here, I just want to share with you my own experience! I īve been a teacher for 16 years...and still learning, always learning... I believe that what makes a good teacher, besides the good you are on all the skills required, is that you like what you do! Students sense that. One student of mine told me something I have never forgotten: " We like you because we know you care, you like being with us and you like teaching us. We want to have good grades because we know how much you work to make everything clear and easy for us to understand!"
A good teacher must have a good "scientific background", but without caring he/she will never be special.
and I still don īt get it: I īve influenced students to do their best without making any effort.. and I have made such an huge effort on influencing students to do their best and couldn īt get any result Confused
As Natalya said, you will be a good teacher since you worry about it.
Greetings from PortugalHug

12 Apr 2009