Teach English in Baisha Zhen - Chengdu Shi

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The art of teaching is difficult, intricate, and possibly one of the most rewarding careers that there is. If we are doing the job properly, we often find ourselves evaluating our students to make sure that they have achieved the objective that we set out to teach in the beginning of a lesson or lesson segment. As important as it is to assess our students, it is just as important that we as the teacher analyze ourselves and our teaching strategies as well. Recently, I completed my first year of full-time teaching. I taught fourth grade and the elementary school I attend in my hometown in the United States. Over the course of the school year, I found myself constantly looking back on lessons and questioning the effectiveness of my teaching. “Did my students achieve the objective that I set out to teach them?” “Was there another way I could have explained the main idea of the topic to a few students that were struggling?” “Were some students bored during the lesson and/or was there something more that I could do to keep them engaged?” “If I was going to do this lesson again tomorrow, what would I do differently?” These are just some of the questions that I would think about each day. But why? One thing we should never forget about is the reason that most of us went into teaching in the first place. It isn’t because it is easy (which it isn’t) or to get certain holidays or summers off. It is because of one thing: the students. For me, there is nothing more satisfying than watching a student who has been struggling with something light up because they have finally mastered it, or seeing the smile that comes across their face when you hand them back a test that they thought they failed but actually passed with flying colors. The best way to help fabricate that moment for students over and over again while simultaneously creating that feeling for yourself is by regularly self-evaluating and gaging the effectiveness of your teaching. It would be a disservice to your students to not reflect on yourself. Dr. Tina Boogren, and educator in the United States and co-author of the book 'Becoming a Reflective Teacher', once said, “Teachers make more minute by minute decisions than a brain surgeon”. An activity that you might think would be fun and enjoyable for your students might not be the most effective way for students to practice the skill or concept that you are trying to teach them. As useful as group work can be and as enjoyable as it might be for students, it is not always the best method for students to use to understand material. Sometimes letting students work on their practice material around the classroom on the floor might not be as beneficial as having them stay at their desks. So, since teachers are making more minute to minute decisions that a brain surgeon, we need to also make sure that the decisions that we are making are those that are going to be most beneficial to our students. The way we learn and grow is ever changing and thus the way we teach must evolve as well. What is and excellent teaching strategy one year with one group of students might not be as effective the next year with a different group of students. Although the material will remain the same again and again the students, and types of learners, certainly will not. In order to do our best job at educating whoever comes into our classroom, we as teachers need to constantly assess whether what we are doing is the best thing for those students in that moment. If you have done everything you could have done and your students have grown while they were in your class, whether that be educationally or otherwise, then you have done your job properly.