What makes a good Teacher: their Command of
the Language or their Methodological Knowledge?
By Zarela Cruz
Have you ever wondered the same question? I have, especially after overhearing some students exchanging opinions about their English teachers. They mentioned a number of features appropriate to be compared (listed at random): their last names, their “Anglo-Saxon” appearance (if it can be referred as that), their accent, their knowledge of the world. None of them mentioned anything about methodological aspects, but they dreamed of having a foreign-looking teacher if not an English native speaker.
I started digging on this topic and asked a number of my students and colleagues just one question: What makes a good teacher of English? I almost took for granted that they would say: their experience and preparation; but I was wrong; most of them chose “passion for teaching” as the first requirement, then flexibility (not getting stuck on a book page), sense of humour and, finally, command of the language. For them, unlike the students mentioned at the beginning of the article, methodology was imperative; they also mentioned cultural aspects that in their opinion, went hand-in-hand with their command of the language.
Surprised? This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is lots of existing literature about the requirements to become an effective teacher (essentially, you will realize that the word good is not used). We have to go deeper and start asking ourselves about the kind of teacher our institutions are looking for: Do they look for experienced teachers who know a great deal of methodological approaches or for novice teachers with a good command of the language? What kind of teachers do they hire and why? In which category do you belong?
There is much more to develop regarding this topic. You are very welcome to our 10th Latin-American Congress for English Teachers this upcoming October to elaborate more on the multiple answers to this question based on your experience and on your goals after analyzing the demands of the Teaching of English market.
In the meantime, feel free to let us know what you think and share your experience with us! What has worked for you? Do you fulfill both
Faculty Focus: 9 characteristics of a great teacher
Research:What are desirable characteristics in an English teacher
Zarela Cruz graduated from Ricardo Palma University as a translator. She also finished her master’s studies in Linguistics and took some specialization diplomas in English and Spanish. She has also completed a number of online certificates: Teaching the Working Adult, Online, Hybrid and Blended Education, among other self-study courses. She has taught different courses, programs and levels and has been a teacher trainer, a lecturer and online instructor. This article aims to analyze the current market demands and how prepared teachers should be to fit in.