Amateur teaching Vs Professional teaching

Escrito por / 28 junio, 17:27 PM Imprimir

I have spent most of my life teaching English and I’m sure that the learning process in this profession is never over.

Now, I know that a teacher, a professional one has a trained body, a trained mind and certain tricks and skills that an amateur teacher hasn’t gotten. Some amateur teachers can become good, but in my opinion really good un-trained teachers are geniuses. 90% of Mexican ELT teachers work without being trained. We should pay more respect to this profession.

Many teachers believe that any further training can come only from just teaching, I don’t think so. I truly believe that we can develop a higher level of performing than the one which has resulted from the hit-or-miss customs of the past.

I felt a strong transition from amateur teaching to professional teaching. The word “amateur” in its origin was a lover or someone pursuing something for love. When I was very young I was employed as an English teacher. I was an amateur in its original sense. I pursued my work for love. Undoubtedly I was unskilled. My strength as a teacher rested in the faith I had in myself and in my students. In the learning and turning process from amateur to professional I found my way by adopting the methods and attitudes of the “professional teacher”. I learned the tricks and theories for ELT, and during this process I discovered a new relationship to my students and to their learning process which was so close, that I thanked my training from breaking the walls of ignorance in amateur teaching which had so often separated me from my students.

The Mexican academic world poses endless trouble for anyone who wants to call himself a teacher. From the low salary to the level of education and critical-thinking skills of our students; to the institutional demands and the pain-staking process of dealing with parents; to the element of speculating if one day you have the job and not the next- these things have disillusioned me about my profession.
The only place I have known a degree of fulfillment has been at the University level where I am both a teacher and have continuous training in diverse programs and where I can carry out some research.

As a teacher trainer I am not an authority on pedagogy, linguistics nor education, but I teach teaching as I approach it: from the humanistic standpoint and through reflective teaching techniques.

For a would-be teacher the prerequisite is talent. A good teacher is an amalgam of sensitivity, high sensory equipment, creativity, a vivid imagination, the desire to educate others and of course on-going training. Character and ethics, a point of view about the world in which you live and an excellent level of English can and must be developed.

A point of view can result from the desire to change the social scene, the family scene and the conditions of education itself.
For me, the teaching practice also means holding up a mirror to our society as well as a statement of rebellion by teaching my students to think critically.

Two good reasons for our educational collapse are sloth and egotism. Every teacher must demand continuous training and self-reflection from themselves. Superficial and lazy teachers become stuck in their profession.

Despite the evidence, I refuse to believe that English language teaching in Mexico is incapable of professionalization, or development. Teachers are as responsible as any other SEP politician for the present state of our national education system.

We must overcome the notion of mediocrity which robs you of the chance to be extraordinary and leads you to be a boring teacher. This insistence on conformity prevents ourselves to be the best.

Carolina Labastida V.
Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico

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