“Teaching” vs “Learning”

Giving and Receiving by Ninjasaus - theTEFLblog

What Is The Difference?

Theodore Roethke Once Wrote

“A ‘Teacher’ Is One Who Carries-On His Education In Public


| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!hink about your BEST class or classes in school.  Were they the ones where you were just being talked to or lectured for the entire time?  I doubt it.  A good teacher doesn’t merely “teach” — in the “Traditional” sense of the term — (just standing at the front of the class spewing information and then handing out quizzes and assigning homework.)  A GOOD teacher is one who is activated;  Is part of the class…  A facilitator.  But also…  One of the students.

“It is my belief that if One stops learning…  (which is Almost impossible)…  If One no-longer DESIRES to learn…  Then One’s Life is essentially over.  That One may linger-on for some time.  But the ‘order’ for Death has been placed.”


~The Teacher

So, Yeah!…  Learning Is Important

| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!here is not some magical point where one just “Knows It All”(well, actually there is, but for most people, it takes thousands of lifetimes to get there, and that’s a different story)…  So there is not this point where a teacher has finished his or her learning — and then becomes “A Teacher”.

| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!ctually — there are so-called “teachers” who may think that way.  And although they may be very intelligent about a certain topic or topics…  I certainly would not want to learn from that type of teacher…  Those types of people are NOT pleasant.  And they are usually shitty teachers.

| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!here is a point, however — in any person’s development — where One realizes how far he or she has come with the help of those “ahead” of them.  Those who “reached a hand back” to help — who took the lead, to guide.

| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!hat’s what a teacher should be doing.  “Lending A Hand” — “Taking The Lead”.  Helping, guiding, and explaining what it is that THEY have seen that those “behind” them ca not yet see from their vantage point.

| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!here are so many possible ways in-which learning can happen.  And if there is not any learning happening from behind the eyes of you — the teacher — then I would bet that there is not much learning going on behind the eyes of your students either.

It Is A Two-Way Street…

“Just Because the ACTIONS Of Teaching Are Happening — Does NOT Mean That Learning Is Happening.


| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!nd if you are simply going by the script in the “Teacher’s Guide” for whatever text-book you are teaching from — or from a lesson-plan that was not developed or at-least adapted by YOU…  There it is almost guaranteed that Learning is NOT happening…  At least not the learning that you THINK that you are teaching.

| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!nstead — your students are learning that you are a boring and ineffectual teacher.  If you are a new teacher, and not confident with your teaching skills — or maybe just a bit nervous.  Then watch other teachers.  Sit in on their classes and observe what they do that works.  (And especially what they do that does NOT work.)

| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!lso — if you are new to teaching & feeling a bit nervous — be open.  TELL your class that you are a bit nervous.  That you are new to teaching, but that you are there to help.  As long as you actually know the material, and actually CAN answer their questions…  They will become open to you and see you as a REAL person.  Not a robot that simply reads of a “To-Do List” for the class.

“Please Do Not Limit Yourself, Or Your Students


(Your Students Also Have A Lot To Teach You.  They Shouldn’t Be Teaching You About The Subject Of The Class…  That’s Your Job!  But They Should Be Teaching You About YOURSELF — And About Teaching, In General)


If you are only teaching English as a way to “Work & Travel”…  Please Stop!  First Of All — You can not work as an English teacher, and travel at the same time.  It Is A Myth!


Secondly — Teaching English is a REAL Job!  It may not be paid like one…  But it IS one.  Simply being a native English speaker does NOT mean that you can be an effective English teacher.


If you are only doing it as a way to “Take A Year Off And Experience A New Culture” — then just do that!  You will not make enough money to do anything more than MAYBE cover your rent.  But you will ultimately find that you are neither “Taking A Year Off” (because you have to actually show-up to your classes) — nor are you “Experiencing The Culture”…  (you are only experiencing what it is like to have a very low-paying job WITHIN the culture of the country you went to…  And maybe going to the pub with other teachers)


(Besides…  It usually takes at LEAST a year for a “Good” teacher to really start getting the hang of it.)


And then someone like me will end-up with all of your former students — and I will hear about how they had a British/Australian/Canadian/Irish/American teacher who used to always cancel classes late, and then finally just disappeared one day…  (because you realized exactly what I wrote above, and decided to go home.)

And If The Above Is The Case…  Then You Are Providing Them With
The WRONG Kind Of “Learning”

| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!nfortunately — the above situations are very true and very common.  There was an entire sub-culture of “English Teachers” living within Prague when I was there to get my TEFL Certificate To Teach English.  And almost NONE of them REALLY liked their job.  They just liked the idea of saying…  “Yeah, I took a year off and taught English in Prague.”  (But they did not like the reality of what that actually meant.)

| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!owever — if you have the desire because you actually want the experience to learn something new, yourself…  If you want to rise to the challenge…  And you actually WANT to Help Other People…  And — you are not under the illusions of the Myth I mentioned above.  Then Go For It!  Here Is A Way To Get Your Certificate.

| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!Just remember that you are taking on a REAL job.  (Unfortunately — one that will not really pay you very much at all!)  But it WILL provide you with much experience, and opportunities to Learn and Grow, yourself.  A job in-which you are not as much of a “Teacher”, as you are… “An Assistant To Learning”.

Have An Excellent Day!


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