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How To Cope With The Challenges of Teaching English as a Second Language

April 17, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 148

Teaching English as a Second Language requires constant effort and adaptability to the changing needs of different students.

ESL teachers must be able to regularly come up with lessons that are useful and productive, something that is not always as easy as it sounds. This may mean bringing in extra worksheets downloaded from the internet or creating customized ESL exercises that can aid the students in their understanding, as well as being interesting and relevant to the students' levels and cultures.

Perhaps the hardest aspect of teaching ESL is that teachers must be able to teach and control a class full of students who may have little or no comprehension of the language being used in the class - namely, English. This requires what some teachers have termed the "angry voice", which is simply a firm and stern voice that makes it possible to get the students' attention even if they can't understand the exact words being used.

Because teaching ESL can get frustrating at times, it is important that teachers make it a goal not to actually get angry in classes, as this can quickly lead to burnout. Instead, by using the "angry voice", teachers can communicate a degree of strictness and let the students know that there is a problem without actually internalizing the emotions of anger and frustration.

For ESL teachers, it is difficult to overstate the importance of this "angry voice" technique, because these classes can easily become overwhelming.

To take another example of the unique challenge of ESL or EFL teaching, class behavior can easily get out of control, yet this may occur for different reasons than it would in other classes. In ESL classes, it can be natural to interpret bad behavior as a form of insubordination or disrespect, when this may actually be a simple case of a student being unable to understand what the teacher is saying and thus getting bored or restless and acting out.

Many ill-trained English teachers have reacted inappropriately in these situations, yelling at the students and punishing them with writing assignments or other forms of punishment. Meanwhile, the student who is being punished may not understand what the teacher is yelling and may simply be confused at the barrage of foreign words being thrust at him or her.

A teacher who understands these problems and can not only address them but also prevent them by leading an interesting and informative class will find themselves in a career that is not only lucrative financially but also offers unique personal rewards in the form of children who are inspired and learning to love English.

In addition, because of the benefits of globalization, ESL teachers can travel the world, experience other cultures, and get to know many people through their experiences teaching English and interacting with the students, teachers, and coworkers, as well as the many other people they may meet along their way.

For many ESL teachers it is the very challenging nature of this work that keeps it interesting and keeps them motivated. For others, it is the benefit of opening student's minds to the world of English, which can help them immensely in their future lives. Whatever the reason, teaching ESL can be a wonderfully rewarding and inspiring profession, as long as one enters into it with a realistic understanding of both the frustrations and rewards possible in this field.

Those who teach ESL for kids have a job that is as demanding as it is rewarding. It is important to have a toolbox full of conversation activities, writing topics, grammar exercises, and various games and activities that can be incorporated into classes at a moments notice.

Visit this site for several free resources, including games and printable worksheets >> ESL Resources for Teachers

Source: EzineArticles
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