Teachers under the spotlight
Starting out as a teacher is a terrifying experience: standing up in front of all those students whose names and personalities we don't know, trying to remember what we should be doing - and worrying that we're going to lose control. Quite soon, though, we forget our self-consciousness and just get on with the business of teaching. What we need to remember is that whether we like it or not, during the course of our daily teaching our students are watching us - and very observant they are too! (Think back to your own school days: I bet you can remember the mannerisms, behaviour, way of speaking and so on of many of your teachers.)
I've written an article about the kinds of personas we project in our classrooms because I think it's important that we remember that students make judgements about us based on our general demeanour, our clothes, our body language, how we react when students behave inappropriately and so on. I’m not suggesting for a moment that that we must behave in certain ways in our classrooms. We’re all individuals with unique personalities, distinct ways of behaving and individual teaching styles. And of course the circumstances under which we teach vary enormously from place to place, which means that in some situations it is appropriate to behave in strict (but never unkind or unfair) ways.
My personal view is that there are ways of behaving in our classrooms that will make us better liked and respected by our students – with the result that we’ll find teaching a whole lot easier and more rewarding. If you want to read more about this topic, and perhaps discuss it with colleagues, read the attached article - and don't forget there are questions for reflection and discussion at the end. And do feel free to leave a comment if you've got any further ideas on this topic that you'd like to share with others.
st About the Author
Dr. Rose Senior is a language teaching expert with an MA in Modern Languages from St Andrews University, and an award-winning PhD from Edith Cowan University in Western Australia. Rose is currently a senior honorary research fellow in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Western Australia. She presents at conferences on a range of topics and gives customized professional development workshops for language teachers around the world. Her socio-pedagogic theory of classroom practice, with its accompanying term 'class-centred teaching', provides a basis for understanding why certain language teachers are far more successful than others.
For more information on Rose's research and publications, please visit her website.