You may be thinking of teaching English online and maybe you’ve been researching what you would need to do to get started. But have you ever thought about what your potential students expect from you as a teacher? Today I’m going to give you a different perspective: the students’ expectations of an English teacher.
When I started teaching English, I really didn’t think about things from a student’s perspective. I was so focused on finding a job, preparing lessons and getting to class that it really never crossed my mind.
But it soon hit me that I needed to take note of my students’ expectations. You see the classes that I taught I generally had the same students for months at a time. So to really help them I needed to know what their specific needs were, what they hoped to achieve from the class and then try to meet those needs.
Once I got my head around this concept, it became one of my first objectives when starting classes with a new student. During the first class, I generally take the first 20 to 30 minutes to get to know my student and their needs and expectations. Doing this transformed my classes. Not only did I feel more confident teaching but I noticed that my students really enjoyed the classes so much more.
My students even told me that they felt that the classes were just for them. This was even though I was using the same source material for multiple students. However, knowing their expectations really helped me to tailor each lesson to what they wanted and needed.
So what do students expect?
Let’s talk about some general expectations that your students may have. When it comes to the general view students may have of you as a teacher, in general, you can expect that students want you to be the expert.
“I’m not an expert though” you may be thinking. Well, if you are a native speaker or are proficient in speaking English, in comparison with your student, you are the expert.
You don’t have to be a maestro of the English language but you do need to inspire confidence overall. Your students want to feel confident that you know the process involved in making their English better.
Your students want to know that you understand their level of English and that they lack skills in communicating. They want to know that you are there to help them. They don’t want to feel embarrassed or stupid.
At the end of their course, your students want to feel that the time and money they have spent were well worth it and that they have improved.
Expectations of the class
When your students start your class they are going to expect that you will include all four areas of the language in the class- reading, writing, speaking and listening. There will be differences in how much time you spend on each area but in general, your students will want to spend time learning each of these areas.
Your students want you to provide informative, nicely presented materials so they can easily review the material later.
Even when you are teaching students in the same age group as you, your students still expect you to be professional as a teacher. They want to see that you can manage the classroom effectively. Especially when it comes to starting and ending the class on time.
Students expectations of teacher qualities
Your students want to know that you are on their side and rooting for them. So when you can provide encouragement and positive reinforcement in the class they will definitely appreciate it.
Parts of language learning can seem boring to students, so they will expect you to make the lessons lively and interesting. They want you to consider their interests and include those in the class when possible.
Students also expect you to be flexible and fair with them. Remember the real-world pressures that your students may be facing and realize that they may not be able to always complete homework or be on time to classes.
Also, don’t be afraid to give your students corrections. Your students want and expect corrections. They want to know where they are making errors and how they can correct them.
Students want to learn about culture
Keep in mind that your students will want to use their new language skills to discuss current events with you. When something interesting happens in the world they will want you to be able to depart from the planned lesson, at least for some time, to talk to you about it.
As you can imagine, culture is another really important part of language learning. For your students, you are a mirror into the English speaking world. They want to know about the cultural differences they should know about.
Your students want to know about any pitfalls they should know about and any expressions that are important for them. They want you to point out cultural differences but they don’t want to feel pressured to accept them as good or right.
So as you can see students’ expectations of English teachers are many. Keeping these expectations in mind will make you a better teacher. Looking at things from your students perspective will help you to become better prepared to teach your lessons. It will help you in the interview process through to completing successful English lessons.
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What other expectations do you think students may have of you as an English teacher? Share your thoughts in the comments below!