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Why Do I Teach?
发布日期:2021-04-15 浏览次数: 作者:Andrew Saye 字号:[ ]

I am here today to speak about why I teach. Before I begin, I will provide a brief background on myself. My name is Andrew Roland Saye, and I have been a teacher for three years. I have been with Nanjing Foreign Language School Xianlin Campus for all three of those years.

Why I became a teacher is not a particularly interesting story, and how I teach is fairly standard. Today I’ll be speaking about why I continue to teach. Every year we must decide if we will teach for another year, or if we will head for greener pastures. And, honestly, we’ve all had those days, when nothing’s going right, students are acting up, technology’s acting up, something is happening outside so no one is listening to you, and you sit down at your desk after class and ask yourself a few times “Why am I here? What am I doing? Why am I teaching?”

For me, personally, I know that answer. I come back day after day, class after class, because of the students. The connections I form with my students can be seen, and it absolutely delights me every time I see them. When I walk down the hall, or I’m eating in the cafeteria, every few seconds I hear calls of “Mister Andrew! Hello!” “Mister Andrew! How are you?” “Good morning Mister Andrew!” and it feels wonderful. I can see on their faces that it is not just politeness, they are truly happy to see me.

We, as teachers—foreign teachers, at that—are in a pretty unique position. We have a chance to make an impact on hundreds of children. We might take it for granted, but it truly is a special privilege that we have, and we cannot forget how important our roles are. Not to sound vain, but if you take the time to form a bond with a student, they won’t forget you. Some of the most famous and most powerful people in America credit their careers to a teacher who took the time to get to know them, and form that connection I keep talking about.

We can form these connections by just talking to our students. By treating them like the living, breathing humans they are, they will quickly respect us and appreciate us. In one of my classes, there was a girl who seemed to hate me from day one. She didn’t want to listen, she made rude gestures at me, and would never participate. This set the tone that the entire class would follow, and it made every class difficult. About a month and a half into the term, I caught her making a ninja star out of paper and I took it and said to her “No ninjas in class.” She made some hand gestures at me, and I recognized them as attack gestures from the show Naruto, so I repeated those gestures back at her. She looked shocked, and I told her that I have been watching that show since (literally) before she was born. After class, she ran over to her friends and whispered to them, then they ran to their other friends, then suddenly in seconds the whole classroom was swarming me and yelling about Naruto. And right then and there, I was a different person in their eyes. Next class, I scrapped the lesson plan and we just talked about the show for the period. I’ve never had an entire class so excited, and they all were speaking English and were correcting each other if they made a mistake or spoke Chinese, because they didn’t want to stop talking with me. Now every week, I make another PPT for them, with Naruto examples and info pasted over it in place of my usual examples and whatnot.

Another class, they’re still difficult. It’s like teaching to a brick wall, except sometimes the brick wall says something hurtful. But I still try my best, and every week without fail, one student runs up to me as I head to my next class and apologizes for not answering during class because he doesn’t want to stand out. Then he excitedly talks about our lesson, and I’ve seen his English improve drastically in the last few months since he started talking with me after class. Why does he talk to me week after week? Because last year, I made a joke about how he always stands by the door for the first few minutes of class and scolds the students who come late. I called him my bouncer, and explained to the class what a bouncer at a club is. Now after every class, and any time he sees me in the cafeteria, he comes over and talks with me. Another student tells me English jokes and news that he heard recently, because he likes my jokes. Another student told me that he made a Japanese friend via Minecraft, and they talk to each other in English, and I teach him a new phrase or internet slang term to practice.

Every time a student races over to talk to me, I feel my heart warm a little, because they’re so excited to talk to me of all people. It’s such an honor, such a privilege, to know that these children like me so much. And it’s because I took the time to stop and listen to them. When my lessons are completely whiffing, I ask them what their interests are and I incorporate those. I try to teach them what they would like to learn, rather than just powering through what I want to teach. I change and respond to what they need, because they’re people too. They’re students, but they’re still people, with their own hobbies and interests and needs and desires, and if you take those into consideration, then these people will come to respect—perhaps even adore you.






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