What Makes a Good Foreign Language Teacher?

1 January 2017

So what makes a good foreign language teacher? Like all good recipes, the ingredients for the teacher’s success in the classroom are simple, easy to follow, and allow for personal interpretation to enhance the result. First of all the teacher helps the child realize his or her strengths, encourages and challenges the student to learn through those strengths. The teacher is someone who uses both his head and heart in equal measure throughout the day.

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Compassion is an understanding that a student may be frustrated, angry or just unable to focus on the academics at hand. A little extra attention, a hug, a query as to how he is feeling is all it takes to make a potentially negative situation into a positive. Bad days happen to everyone. The next thing is the knowledge of the subject at hand. You can not teach things you do not know. Also the most important thing is how the teacher goes about imparting that knowledge – in other words, methodology.

The good teacher should be honest enough to admit being incorrect. If he or she makes a mistake or imparts false information he or she should be able to admit that the mistake or error was made. Everyone makes mistakes at some point but what makes others trust his or her words is the ability to admit he or she was wrong and corrected the mistake. The teacher should respect each student as an individual. Each person is unique. The classroom is not a place to squash the individual. It is a place to enlighten and open the mind.

The students also refer to teachers with endless patience and amiable disposition that could be provoked to anger only in extreme cases. There may be some students who can pick up on an idea or concept very quickly, there are some that need more time and then there are some who may never understand. The good teacher knows that sometimes he has to slow the pace down for those who don’t quite understand yet and keep it interesting enough for those who already do. The good teacher knows his or her boundaries.

By this I mean he or she knows how to keep the teacher/student relationship just as that. The teacher can and should have a personal relationship with each student but the level of that relationship should stay teacher/student only. Finally, a lot of students are concerned about their teacher’s appearance. These are just a few things that in my opinion make up a good teacher. Obviously the traits I have mentioned can be attributed to all teachers, not just foreign language teachers. The teacher should remember that teaching is a big responsibility.

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