I was browsing the internet, looking for a way to improve my teaching.
I came across this website:
Ten Tips for Teaching English Abroad
I agreed with most of the information I found there. There's a few things which I did disagree with however.
Look at this excerpt:
[quote]2. Behave appropriately. When Judith Johnson asked 250 students at the Sichuan Institute of Foreign Languages in China what they liked and disliked about native speaker English teachers, the studentsí main gripe was the informality of foreign teachers, who often seem to undermine their own authority by acting in undignified ways. In the U.S. teachers go on a first-name basis with students, sit on their desks, sip coffee, and even bounce off the walls without causing student discomfort or losing prestige. But these behaviors donít export well.[/quote]
I don't know about that. Actually I'm not sure as to how I'm supposed to interpret it. I'm teaching in China and my students are about 18-20 years old. I've always had really good references from my previous work.
I really don't consider myself as conventional though. I use plenty of drawings (cartoonesque) and do a lot of acting in my classes. The students laugh and are interested in the class. I've had really good comments about my previous teaching from the students. They said I had a very unique way of teaching which they really appreciated.
I'm not sure what the writers mean by "undignified" way. I must admit I do sometimes sit on the corner of a desk. Is it really that bad?
Do you think sitting on the corner of a desk is really frowned upon in Chinese society.
"If you describe someone's actions as undignified, you mean they are foolish or embarrassing."
As I'm teaching in Sichuan (where this survey was conducted) I'm kind of worried I might have done something considered undignified.
I make jokes a lot, about almost everything. The students find that funny and they buy me presents and want me to be their friends.
Here's the problem. I don't feel like behaving in a very formal way would really have some good results. I think that would end up being really boring like the other Chinese teachers classes. I want my classes to be interesting.
I think it's true that joking around does undermine my authority somewhat. I think what I would like to aim for is for my classes to be interesting without being formal.
I'm also wearing jeans a lot. I find that many teachers do the same thing however. I'm always well shaved however.
I'm a really new teacher, I've been teaching young children for about 6 months and I've been working in this college for about 6 months total.
What is your opinion on the subject?
It's always a sensible idea to be attuned to the cultural values of the country you're living in, but I don't think that means you have to be a slave to them. My students will all have to accept that I drink coffee in class and have no intention of stopping.
I don't know the individual items such as sitting on the corner of the table, though I have always done that in the UK and have had many Asian students and no complaints or even comments.