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  1. Just Joined
    English Teacher
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      • Native Language:
      • Georgian
      • Home Country:
      • Georgia
      • Current Location:
      • Georgia

    • Join Date: Jul 2016
    • Posts: 1
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    #1

    Hello

    What is the biggest challenge as an English Teacher?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
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    #2

    Re: Hello

    English teachers work in many contexts. The biggest challenge to someone teaching an advanced exam class in a well-resourced European capital may, and almost certainly should, have very different issues from someone teaching in a least developing nation with sixty in the classroom, frequent power cuts, and a shortage of chalk.

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      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Oct 2014
    • Posts: 16
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    #3

    Re: Hello

    I teach mixed-ability drop-in groups for immigrants in Canada. For my context, the most difficult challenge is the differentiation required in planning. I can have students who are CLB 1 (equivalent to a low A1) and CLB 8 (equivalent to a low C1) in the same group. Add to that, the classes are small and groups/pair work isn't a viable solution. It's so hard to keep the higher-level students interested without losing the lower-level students.

  2. Skrej's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: May 2015
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    #4

    Re: Hello

    As another example of Tdol's astute observation on the variety of challenges, I (and the other instructors at my center) find one of the biggest challenges to be student retention and attendance. We are granted funded through the state Board of Education, and as such are funded by outcomes. One of the measures used to gauge outcomes is the percentage of learners who enter the program compared to those who get an educational gain.

    Therefore, if a student enters the program, but leaves before they get an education gain, that hurts our percentages. Further more, we have to have a minimum of 40 hours of instruction before we can post-test. Since we have class 8 hours a week, that translates into roughly 5 weeks of instruction before testing, and with a primarily migrant population, it's really tough to get students to stay around long enough to test, especially considering they're adult learners.

    So, when we have say 60 new students enroll, but lose maybe 15 of those before we can test, it hurts us statistically. We're still gigged for the 15 that left as non-completers.

    As adults, attendance is difficult because they have jobs and families. If they're not having to work late, then they've got sick kids or parent teacher conferences, school activities, etc. And of course, we always have 3 or 4 students who go to the time and expense of enrollment (a 3 day process), who consequently never show up for even the first day of class. This is the one that baffles me - I can understand dropping out because of all life's various demands, but to never even show up once? If it were an occasional, isolated occurrence I wouldn't think much of it, but we know for a fact there will always be 3 or 4 such people each enrollment. Of course, since they were enrolled, they're counted as learners, who then never get an educational gain and statistically hurt us.

    I rarely have a complete class even once a week. I teach 3 classes a day, and I don't think I've ever had a single day of perfect attendance across all 3 classes.

    Oddly enough,our center was just this week recognized for having the highest retention rates in the state, and have been asked to do a presentation on how we retain students. So, considering how bad the issue is for us as described above, and then knowing we're the "best" in the entire state, I think that demonstrates how widespread an issue retention can be.

    I've honestly never received recognition for something I felt less entitled to. There were all kinds of write-ups in the local paper and various accolades, all of which make me cringe and think "Why are we celebrating this?"

    It's like getting an award for pooping your pants the least in public. Sure it's good that it's not happening as much, but it still stinks.
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

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