Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

Does your English Teacher Inspire You?

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Thu, Feb 09, 2012 @ 10:15 AM

English teacher Boston

Does your English teacher really inspire you? Many international professionals who relocate to large cities like Boston or New York choose to work with an English teacher when they begin their position at their company and feel that they can't communicate effectively enough to do their job.  If this is your situation, you will have quite a few English teachers to choose from. Your brain might tell you to pay attention only to the teacher's qualifications, experience and academic credentials. However, your "gut" or your intuition will tell you to pay attention to how you feel in their class. Do the lessons inspire you? Does your teacher make you want to go home and practice to come to the next class well prepared? For busy international professionals, a good English teacher must be able to inspire her students and as you probably learned in school, not every teacher has this ability. Here is why should look for a teacher who inspires you:



"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires"  -William Arthur Ward



6 Reasons an Inspirational Teacher Is Crucial for your Success:


  • He brings the joy back into learning English: Maybe you have some scary memories of your earliest English learning experiences in your home country. Did your teacher make you stand in front of the class, conjugate verbs and embarrass you when you made a mistake? A lot of international professionals have negative associations with English classes. The teacher that you choose must understand this and must be able to re-introduce English learning to you as a joyful process. If he cannot do this, you will feel like you are back in school but this time, you will be paying a lot more for it.


  • She motivates you: Your English teacher should also be a lifelong language learner (any language is ok). Based on her own trials and errors learning a language, she should know how to get you to the point where your motivation and desire to improve speak louder than your inner critic. She should also be able to help you take that motivation outside of class, where the real improvement will happen.


  • He knows that the class is about YOU: In a good conversation English lesson, your teacher should be speaking less than 20% of the time. He should ask questions that elicit open-ended answers from you and encourage you to keep speaking. He should structure the class based on the way that you learn, not based on the way that he likes to teach. This sounds like common sense but not every teacher is able to do this naturally. Your teacher has to have a genuine interest in you and your success and that should be obvious in his lesson plans and his ability to adapt to your needs.


  • She changes the way you view language learning: Perhaps you finished your school years thinking that language learning is a passive activity. How far did that get you with your English? An inspirational teacher knows that language learning is an active process. She should be working toward the goal of giving you the tools to learn independently. She should be encouraging you to get out, practice your English and take risks. After taking a series of lessons with your teacher, you should feel prepared and empowered to improve on your own and not have to remain dependent on the teacher for years and years.


  • He is able to connect with you: In order to really get inspired by your work with your English teacher, you need a point of connection with him. Has your English teacher ever traveled to your country or simply lived abroad long enough to know what it feels like to be in a new country? That is often a starting point for a great connection between teacher and student. It doesn't matter what it is that connects you, but it has to be there.


  • His attitude is exceptional: He should be charismatic, fun, interesting and optimistic about learning and life in general. This is the kind of person that you should be working with to help you reach your English goals.


Remember, when you look for a private English teacher, look for someone who is truly exceptional and able to inspire you.  If you have decided to invest your money in private English classes, this is not the time to settle for an "ok" teacher. If your current teacher doesn't inspire you, keep looking. Why? Because if you approach language learning from the right angle, learning English or any new language is a unique opportunity to see the world in a different way. A mediocre teacher won't get you there.


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