[ If you can speak "ESL'ese with the panel...they also know you are "one of them" and are much more likely to give you the job. ]
In everyday life I don't use the "big words" I learned...but can pull them out of my ass if I have to.
And people have forgotten something else that I consider essential in making a good teacher; namely....a good working environment (i.e. Admin and co-teacher support, reasonable working hours and breaks, provided classroom/office, mobile, laptop, printer, overhead projector, supplies on demand, a reasonable number of students in every class, etc).
Nothing motivated me to be a good teacher more than finally having a good employer, payment package, and working environment.
Teachers who work for assholes, are not supported (or are in fact abused), are paid poorly, etc, will find it very difficult to be good teachers.
Sure, the diehards and idealists can pull it off (under such conditions) for a long time...but I think eventually their teaching suffers as well...
ps. I know this thread is about courses taken that have made you a better teacher, but think no amount of courses can make up for shitty employers or shitty working conditions.
Last edited by IsaanAlex; 18th September 2012 at 15:21. Reason: Added ps.
Anything even diet can bring you down. And good admins are as common as good people. But if you mix in a little business-minded profit margin mentality and realize you'll never be anything more than an employee (and a foreigner) you might come to the conclusion whatever joy you get from teaching is about all you got. Maintain that and you'll be just fine.
For example, imagine that the local population generally hate you, fear you, look down on you, question your your motives for being in their country ("only to fuck their women"), your health ("all foreigners have AIDS"), your morality ("all foreigners are drug addicts), and even your credentials ("all foreigners have fake degrees")...and now consider that you basically work for those same people.
[And I have found that alot of people enjoy living in the Middle East...if they work for the right employer. The wages, vacations, and social scene appeal to a great many; that's why you have people who can do it for 10-15+ years]
I'm lucky to now work for two people who are both extremely good people and good administrators.
In Thailand I would say that both my employers were pretty decent people and good at their job.
In Korea, I can only say that I had one major employer (in 7.5+ years) that was both a good person and a good administrator.
Most Koreans I have worked for have been neither.
But to be in the ESL game and feel that I think there are only a few places to do so.
I think the Middle East (just in general) is one such place. A good international school, almost anywhere in the world, is probably another.
Last edited by IsaanAlex; 18th September 2012 at 19:55.
I'm a newbie teacher and I'm completely happy I learned some methodology (TEFL) before I started teaching. I guess I'd agree with gfisher. Of course real teaching experience and how I interpret and learn from it will be the making of me as a teacher. But if a 3 hour teaching seminar can save me 30 hours of trial and error then I don't think it's a waste of time. It certainly means I'm not wasting any more of my students time than is necessary.
On the point of basing yourself on good teachers, I agree. Though I've found that learning a little about pedagogy has given me a few tools to look back and analyse teachers from my past.