Teachers are some of the most impactful people in our lives. Some say, and I agree, that teachers hold the future in their hands!
Today we celebrate teachers; remember our favourites and even the ones we always got in trouble with. Today is Teachers’ day!
Teachers are at the front of the transformational work we do in teaching English and teacher training; I am in constant admiration of their work.
Here are excerpts from an interview with two teachers I have worked very closely with this past year.
Neenaz Ichaporia is an Academic Manager with the British Council. She started her journey with the British Council as a Teacher of English with the English Language Centres and now manages the teaching team for myEnglish, our innovative blended learning course.
Why did you become a Teacher of English?
Neenaz Ichaporia (NI): This may sound like a cliché, but I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, as long as I can remember. I tried out other things but in my heart I knew teaching was what I wanted to do. So one day, I took some leave from my job and tried out the CELTA course. I loved it… and the rest is history.
Avinash Govindarajan (AG): I chose to teach English because I love the language and the possibilities it holds. It helps in expressing yourself and also builds better relationships if used well. I like sharing this interest with other learners and celebrate them when we’re rewarded with progress.
What is the one thing you like the most about your job?
NI: I love the feeling of satisfaction when students write to you saying that what they learned in class has been helpful to them in some way in their lives. For instance, a student from one of my speaking skills classes wrote to me saying how thrilled he was because he felt much more confident dealing with an interview and group discussion he had after the course. He also got extra credits for showing them the British Council certificate from his course and he was offered the job! This made me really happy, knowing that I helped change someone’s life for the better, even if it was in a small way.
AG: Things I like most about doing my job are the language feedback sessions with the learners in my class. Dealing with questions about English is immensely challenging and extremely rewarding (provided you know the answer!).
What are students at the British Council like?
NI: It’s been a wonderful experience teaching learners from different nationalities and cultural backgrounds. I’ve taught learners from India, Burkina Faso, France, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, South Korea, Spain – the list is endless! I’ve taught adults both younger and older than I am. I’ve taught children as young as eight years old and I’ve taught teenagers as well. The one common thread between all these learners is their desire to learn English because they feel it will help them in some way or the other.
AG: They’re probably the most motivated learners I’ve encountered in my life. They are positive, open to feedback, and realistic in their expectations. There have been numerous occasions where I’ve listened to or read our learners’ work and have had a broad smile on my face. Pride in others’ achievements is a wonderful feeling to experience.
If there was one study tip that you could give to your students, what would it be?
NI: Stay positive and develop some independent learning skills. Independent learners try to find opportunities for study outside the classroom. They plan their time well and take every opportunity they get to speak the language they are trying to learn. Most importantly, they do some research to find answers to their language questions themselves, rather than always relying on someone else for support. For instance, an independent learner may use the British Council’s weekly Facebook Language Clinic to ask questions or may check the LearnEnglish website for answers.
AG: Experiment and seek feedback! One shouldn’t be afraid to try new things out while learning English. The more you try, the easier it is to recall the next time. Feedback is an essential part of this; so make sure you get feedback from a trusted source (like a teacher or a friend), otherwise you always have the internet!
Complete the sentence, “If I wasn’t a teacher, I’d be…”
NI: …a journalist (I’ve already done that) or a lawyer.
AG: …picking at a guitar string somewhere, trying to make some music.
What were your teachers like? Tell us about your favourite teacher on our English Facebook page by using the hashtag #TeachersDay.Submitted by Shivangi Gupta