Things Teachers Take for Granted – (and I’m not talking about a spouse) or Should Avoid Doing

Sylvia Kar


You’re teaching at the proficiency level, so of course, you take it for granted that they (your students) understand what you’re saying.

Well, don’t!

Half the time they may not understand anything. If they did, they would ask questions when you say: “Does anyone have any questions?”

This may not be entirely the student’s fault because he or she has been placed in a higher level than he/she deserves to be in. Teachers and schools often take it for granted that the student will be able to keep up and improve enough to reach the level of actual proficiency students. Some of us have yet to discover that learning is not achieved through the process of osmosis. My eyes were only open to the fact in the middle of my 36 years of teaching; Anthi, a proficiency student asked me (on the Thursday before her proficiency exam on Saturday) why we use do in some questions and be to make others. I couldn’t have been more shocked than if I had discovered I had come to class without any clothes. This was my wakeup call. It’s not that she hadn’t attended classes or paid attention in class. Physically she was always present, but mentally she was thinking about the world of fashion or boys.

We take it for granted that just because all or most eyes are on us when we present a grammatical structure that their mind is also in the confines of the classroom.

Well, don’t! Physical presence does not always go hand in hand with mental presence.

As educators, our job isn’t easy and sometimes we may be tempted to try to make things a little easier by teaching for the good students.

Well, DON’T!

They need you least of all though teaching for them is such a breeze, and we go home much less tired at the end of the day. But, we all know that successes with good students don’t count even a fraction as much as do successes with weaker students.

Never teach down to anyone, even little children. They have an uncanny way of knowing when you consider them inferior. Haven’t you sat in on a lecture or workshop and the speaker had an aura of self-appointed superiority surrounding hem or her? How did it make you feel? Well, students feel the same way. They will have no respect or motivation to even listen to what you have to say. You’ve lost them. And from my personal experience, people who are wrapped around a cloak of superiority have absolutely nothing of essence to offer, and this cloak is for their own protection.

Your students must be able to approach you, but of course, you do set safety boundaries. They must know that you are human and make mistakes, as well. You are not going to get it right all the time, but it’s important to them to know that you’re in their corner and that you are trying with them.