Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Five Favorites: Teaching English

When we found out that we'd be moving to Turkey, I knew that I wanted to try and do something in the education field, but I wasn't sure what that would be.  I emailed a few elementary schools about substituting with no luck (Turkey is apparently pretty strict about who is allowed to teach), so I knew I'd probably have to look outside of the classroom teacher role.  When we arrived in Turkey, I found an English language school that needed native speakers and it seemed to work perfectly with my schedule and what I could do.  I miss working with children a lot, but this job has been perfect for me this year and has been a great way to get out of the house and continue teaching.  So, this week, my five favorite things (linking up with The Big White Farmhouse) are about teaching English.

  1. It makes you think about what you're saying and how you're saying it.  I feel like my grammar and enunciation has gotten so much better since teaching English. I am a better English speaker because I am teaching English. If I use improper grammar, the students won't understand, so I really have to pay attention to what I'm saying and how I'm saying it.  Sometimes, if they don't understand a sentence, I have to think of another way to say something, which, in turn, makes me really think about what I'm saying and what meaning I want them to understand.  I've also started to notice that when I go home and speak to Mike after class, I speak slower and clearer than I normally do.  I think he's even told me once or twice that I don't need to speak quite as slow :)
  2. The social interaction is so nice!!  Y'all, we have a lot of great things going for us over here, but our social life is not one of them. Turkish classes are great, but they don't allow for a lot of chit chat and socializing (read: I must focus all of my attention on Turkish, otherwise I get lost).  Unlike Turkish classes, teaching English allows for so much socialization because the point is to get the students talking.   Plus, the majority of my students are around my age, so we just hang out, talk and occasionally play games like Taboo. It's fun and it's a great way for me to socialize.
  3. I get to learn about Turkey.  There are so many things I want to know about Turkish culture, from the food to the customs.  Whenever Mike and I have a question about something cultural, I always ask my class. Half the time, they look at me like I'm crazy, but they usually provide some sort of insight into the custom or tradition.  I probably learn as much as they do!
  4. I feel like I am becoming a better classroom teacher because of this experience of teaching outside of the traditional classroom.  I am really seeing and understanding the struggles that English Language Learners have.  I am constantly realizing how much of an impact this has on little things.  For example, I was talking about a quilt the other day and my students had no idea what the word quilt meant, even though they know what a quilt is.  This type of word is often used in math problems when learning perimeter and area.  How are students supposed to solve the question if they don't understand what the question is asking?  I feel like, when I return to the classroom, I'll have a deeper understanding of how to explain directions, problems and every day tasks because of this experience. 
  5. This last one is not necessarily for teaching English, but just for teaching in general. I love to watch a student struggle and work through something.  It's almost like you can see what they're thinking inside their head as they work through something out loud.  When they finish and realize they've gotten it right, they feel so accomplished and it's incredible.  Language is like math and it is easy to watch them work through forming a sentence, which makes teaching languages so rewarding.  It's definitely my favorite part of teaching!
So, there you have it! My five favorite things about teaching English! I'm sure that this list could be extended to be five of my favorite things about teaching, but I could probably add about a million more to that list.  Happy Wednesday!

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