- On 20 June 2018
- Tags TEFL Florence
5 Life Skills I’ve Improved Besides My Teaching Skills
1. Collaboration: We often see teaching as an individual job, because when we think of a teacher we imagine that ONE person at the front of the room. However, there are many aspects of the job that are collaborative, as I learned very quickly in the Via Lingua CTEFL course and have continued to learn working as a full-time teacher. Teachers substitute for each other, share ideas, team up to create a project or organize an extracurricular activity, and above all else, they are a support system to one another when they or their colleagues are struggling in their classrooms.
2. Better Conversation and listening skills: How many times have you heard the term Active Listening? This ability to actually listen and absorb what another person is saying without waiting for “your turn” to speak is essential in teaching. The students are the ones who should be getting the most talk time, while the teacher is the facilitator who asks the open-ended questions that create the space for students to share and work through their thoughts verbally. Naturally, these skills cross over into your personal life, making you a more engaged friend, partner, and civilian.
3. Empathy: As a teacher-in-training at Via Lingua, one of your most important roles is as a “peer student” whereby you are asked to act as a language student, adjusting your level and language to create an authentic teaching environment for one of your peer teachers-in-training. Because your role in the teaching course is constantly shifting between teacher and peer student, you feel what it’s like to be a language student and what it’s like to be in the front of the room as the teacher with all eyes on you. Another important way a language teacher develops empathy is by studying a foreign language, which most people who take this course have either already done or plan to do.
4: Cultural Awareness: Living in another country, even on a temporary basis, really challenges you to open your mind to the cultural differences between where you are from and this new place you are in. Language teaching pushes this even further by often putting you in a classroom with people from all different parts of the world. By being culturally curious and by really seeking to understand other cultures beyond the “surface” differences, your life becomes so much more dynamic and richer.
5: Organization: My first year as a teacher was a real test to my organization skills! Teachers have so many different students, classes, and responsibilities on a weekly basis - and to make the job somewhat of a “well-oiled machine” organization is a teacher’s best friend. If you don’t think you’re an organized person now, don’t worry – because teaching will make sure you develop your own organizational system, which will in turn transfer over to your life outside of teaching.