Teaching English to children is...... a mixed bag of emotions! by Bev Sisson - Teacher of English as a Second Language

Teaching English to children is...... a mixed bag of emotions!

That Eureka moment!

There is nothing more rewarding than when your student suddenly ‘gets it’ they have been struggling for ages on perfect tenses, conditionals, the pronunciation of ‘ough’ or shwa vowels…then BAM! A lightbulb moment and they will never make that mistake again.

For me, I find it even more gratifying when the student is a child. A child who has been so frustrated but put their heart and soul into practicing their Achilles’ heel.

But, why do some just give up, they do not go the extra mile, as if it doesn’t matter. But, does it?

Are we to blame? Is it nature or nurture for one student to go that extra mile and another to quit at the first hurdle? We are, as teachers responsible for creating a learning source full of curiosity, wonder and excitement. So surely that must work, for all students? That point of 'understanding something' varies from child to child. An experienced teacher will recognise this and adapt to the need of each child individually.

Diversity of lifestyle has an enormous factor in a student’s behaviour. They could be from any ethnic or cultural background, rich, poor or somewhere in-between. Something as simple as diet, too much sugar we know can cause peaks and troughs in energy levels. Sleep patterns, consistency in bedtimes, unlimited access to digital devices to name but a few.

As teachers it is often very apparent which students had their parent’s positive input and encouragement from a young age. Were they encouraged to carry out a task independently, try, try until you succeed, or did an increasingly frustrated parent carry out the task for them to ‘save time’, which actually teaches the child that putting in the effort is not worth it and said task will get done for them….easy!

Copycat behavior: Children learn even when they are not learning! Be the person you want them to be.

“Almost” is such a wonderful, encouraging word for young ears. It teaches that you are nearly there, just try a little harder and you will reach that goal, no matter how big or small it is.

Teaching children teaches me, and hey…. Every day is a school day!

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