As an ESL/EFL teacher, I strive to build communicative competence in every student that steps through my classroom door. My goal is to give students the tools they need to be able to use English in the big world outside of my classroom. I have had the distinct pleasure of teaching a wide variety of learners: pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students, primary and secondary students, university students, factory workers, and civil servants. Each group presented its own challenges and they all taught me to be flexible and reflective as I devote myself to be a successful educator.
Our classrooms, schools, and country are enriched by diversity. My classroom is an inclusive environment that celebrates differences in our student body. I believe in creating a supportive classroom environment that recognizes that differences are not deficiencies. Each student brings his or her unique experiences to the classroom. My classroom is a place where everyone belongs. I model respectful behavior and utilize effective, descriptive praise. I establish clearly defined behavior expectations and use predictable, escalating consequences for harassment and aggression.
Learning another language is difficult. That’s why it is important to use a wide variety of authentic materials to expose learners to how language is produced by users of that language. These may include menus, advertisements, timetables, articles, or radio and television news broadcasts. Authentic materials not only help with a learner’s general skills but also increase his or her confidence when faced with a real situation. I create a nurturing classroom environment that encourages students to be experimental with language. I frequently use verbal, procedural, and instructional scaffolding to guide my students, I correct student errors with compassion, and I employ the use of mixed-readiness pairs and small group interactions to give students time to practice before speaking in front of the whole class.
I bring an informed personal approach to teaching English language learners in the classroom: I keep myself up-to-date on the latest, research-based trends in ESL/EFL instruction, how people acquire language, and frequently collaborate with other instructors in my workplace and around the world. I am a reflective teacher: I take notes at the conclusion of each lesson to figure out what parts of each lesson worked well and what parts could be modified to better reach all learners. I differentiate my instruction to meet the individual needs of each student through knowledge of my students’ home cultures, home languages, preferred learning styles, interests, and readiness levels.