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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Being a Teacher – A Worthwhile Experience

 Jennifer Li & Maggie Lin

Every semester, the Feng Chia University (FCU) Language Center holds an activity for volunteer student teachers to teach at Da Ren Elementary School. Jennifer and I were interested in this activity because both of us love English very much. We think learning English is a happy thing, and we wanted to share our enjoyment with the students and get them interested in English.  We learned that being a teacher is much different from being a student!
All photos by the authors
On the first day, we were very nervous because it was our first job as English teachers. We did not know how to attract students or even how to teach through interesting activities. When we walked into the classroom, every student looked at us. However, when we introduced ourselves, the students all ignored us. Some students continued working on their own things, and some students continued doing nothing at all. Moreover, all of our students were beyond our control. Actually, we were frustrated on the first day. We realized how difficult it is to be teachers and respected our teachers more than before. Although we had had a bad setback on first day, we did not give up and worked harder than before to be good teachers.

Every week, all of the student volunteer teachers held meetings and brainstormed teaching materials. Though we were teachers, we were still like students – we had a lot of homework to do. Collecting information about our students was very important. We needed to know what they liked so that we could prepare interesting teaching materials. We also designed Power Point presentations, including vocabulary, simple sentences, funny pictures, and songs related to their regular English class textbook for them. We also created some new games and dances to make our classes more active.

At the end of our meetings, we always shared our teaching experiences from our last class. If there was an activity that did not interest the students, we changed the material. However, if one teacher did something that students were crazy about, the rest of us tried it in our classes. Finally, our effort paid off. Students used more English to play games with their all passion; they enjoyed singing and danced happily. We were proud of ourselves when we saw the smiles on their faces.

On the last day, our students showed how much they appreciated our efforts – they gave us a lot of presents! We both got portraits of ourselves drawn by cute little girls. They showed their observation skills and drew our hairstyle clearly. The drawings showed their ideas simply and honestly without fantastic techniques. The students told us they liked English much more than before and that they were sad to see us go. Near the end of our final class, we were suddenly surrounded by the students; we had no idea what they wanted to do! Then they started to sing and dance. They said that it was a “present” to thank us for giving them the happiest English class. We were really moved by those cute children, and happily embraced them tightly.

To be a teacher is not easy at all. You need to teach and learn at the same. You need to act carefully and express yourself clearly to be sure that all students in the class understand the text. From our weekly meetings with the other student teachers, we learned how important teamwork works is, and how valuable it is to share ideas. By sharing our ideas and experiences with others, we could make our teaching goal clearer and explore some things we did not think of ourselves.

The FCU Language Center’s student teacher program was a big challenge and a really valuable experience for us. If you also love English and love sharing, maybe you could give it a try next semester.  We hope to see you there! 

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