New teacher, new company, unexpected issues.

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New teacher, new company, unexpected issues.

Unread postby banana_stand » 12 Sep 2013, 20:37

Hi Lucy,

I recently finished my CELTA in Canada and am starting with a new company who does corporate ESL. I've had some small experience teaching in the past, but this will be my first "real" teaching experience. I have been given 4 different classes ranging from beginner to advanced, with the class sizes ranging from 1 to 5 people. The company stresses the fact that class time is for oral practice, and that grammar and writing is something that the students should do at home. As well, there are specific topics that the classes need to cover in a certain amount of time. I realize that CELTA is certainly not a universal way to teach English and that as a teacher there should always be room to expand upon what you think is right in terms of teaching styles. What I'm beginning to realize, however, is that I disagree with many methodological things in this course. I've been criticized that my lessons have too much "structure", that the students feel like they are too much in a classroom setting and that grammar structures are taught too directly. She wants more of a discussion atmosphere where students practice specific grammar topics orally but are not introduced to it formally during class (she doesn't want me to ever again write down things like "future continuous" on the board). Also, the director and I disagree on things like vocabulary and how much time it takes to teach it and even how to teach it. Most of my past experiences have mainly been in school settings so I'm unsure how things work in the corporate world. My question,therefore, is this: does it makes sense to try my best and mimic the teaching model that they want and try to do things their way despite everything that I have been taught, or should I just try and get out of there? Furthermore, is ESL teaching in part really a constant battle between what you think is right and what your boss thinks is right in terms of methodology? If so, how can you find a balance?
Thanks for your help and insight.
banana_stand
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Re: New teacher, new company, unexpected issues.

Unread postby Lucy » 12 Sep 2013, 21:15

HI,

I'll answer your last question first: teaching is not always a battle between a teacher and a director. You can and should find a school where you agree with the methodology. I can't say whether you should get out of there now; only you know how much you need the job and the work situation in your city.

Of course, you need to be flexible when in a new job but it sounds as if this woman doesn't know a lot about teaching methodology. I suggest you try her method for a while. Continue to have structure in your approach by giving students work to do at home, then by having graded speaking exercises in class where they use the new language, going from easy to more difficult. See how that goes and then make your decision.

Best of luck,

Lucy
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Re: New teacher, new company, unexpected issues.

Unread postby MartinHejhal » 26 Sep 2013, 14:41

Hello,
I recommend going with the flow and doing what the director wants, at least for some time (yes, I'm an academic manager myself). I'm not saying her approach is ok, but I feel you need to gain more experience to be able to oppose her. As for your question on finding the balance - some schools would force you to use their methods and materials, but most schools would let you do your work if you bring the results - i.e. your students are reasonably happy and they continue with you as their teacher.
Good luck,
Martin
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Re: New teacher, new company, unexpected issues.

Unread postby banana_stand » 26 Sep 2013, 21:22

Thank you both for your input.
I took Lucy's advice and have made a comprise with my teaching style. It isn't perfect but I agree with you, Martin. Experience here is important in order to test out what works and what doesn't work. Some of the things she she has asked of me have worked out surprisingly well. Other things have been a disaster. At the very least, I feel less like I am drowning in uncertainty;it is now more like awkwardly floating.
Cheers.
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