Teaching Teachers

March 23, 2012

Something new to my schedule this semester is teacher workshops. I have two separate classes that I see twice per week: One for teachers in the English department and another for any staff members who are interested in learning English.

When I found out about this new addition, I was a bit worried...
What is the best way to teach teachers?
How do I teach teachers who may not speak English at all?
How do I avoid making the teachers feel like I'm patronizing them?

The workshop with my English teachers has been a great opportunity to get to know them on a much more meaningful level. I am able to have real conversations where I don't have to feel too guilty for not speaking Korean. Even in our first class I asked the simple question "Why did you become an English teacher?" and learned so many new things about my coworkers (some I've already worked with for 6 months). During the week, one class is devoted to free conversation/games while the other involves something like a 'book club' as we read The Five People You Meet in Heaven.

As for my workshop with the other staff, it's been a great opportunity to meet people who I probably wouldn't have met otherwise. In this class, the teachers said that they want to learn English in order to travel, so I'm focusing more on conversation skills. The teachers who show up genuinely seem to want to (re)learn English so they make a genuine effort and we have a lot of fun. Although they have vastly different levels of English, the highest level teacher tends to act as a translator. At times it's a struggle but once we understand each other, it's worth it!

Teaching adults has been somewhat of a challenge for me and although I still have some adjusting to do, it's been pretty interesting/enlightening so far.

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