How to Start Learning from Other Teachers
How I struggled, started listening, and then began having much better classes.
Enrollment for the How to Teach ELL Beginners course opens tomorrow and I was thinking back over all the experiences that led to my creating the course. The course was born out of my own experiences. I had a very difficult time at the beginning when I first began teaching English language learners, especially ELL beginners. I didn’t know what I was doing and had no one to show me, though I am not entirely sure I would have listened even if someone had tried.
After all of these years, I look back and wonder at how silly I was to try and learn everything on my own. There are so many resources out there and people who are willing to help. I could have saved years of my life and enormous amounts of frustration if I had put my pride down earlier. Life is funny like that. We are better together than any one of us can be individually.
We need the support of other teachers, experienced teachers who have been there and done that, and brand-new teachers who look at things with an entirely fresh perspective. We need teachers who question and teachers who answer. We need to encourage and support each other because teaching is one of the most important jobs in the world.
I struggled for a year or two, and when I found myself dreading class and certain cute little kindergartners in particular, I knew something needed to change. I started reading every book I could get my hands on about education, talking to every teacher I knew about what worked and didn’t work for them. After starting my own school, I listened to the teachers who worked for me. I took it on the cheek when they told me where they thought the textbooks could be better, how they thought the methods could be reworked, and when the training could have been clearer.
I am better for it. Even when it was hard to hear, I was better for it; even when I was stifling the desire to defend the design of a textbook page or justify a decision about how to set up a class.
When we listen to each other, really listen, we find that others very often see what we are unable to see, or at least what would otherwise take us much longer to see.
Let’s find an opportunity to connect with another teacher today, to share our stories, ask them what they would do, and listen.
It is my hope that I can support you in whatever way I can as well. One of the major goals of the How to Teach ELL Beginners Course is to provide a safe place to learn, vent, ask questions, listen and share. If you would like to be a part of that community, I would love to have you. You can follow the link below to find out more or sign up for the Kid-Inspired newsletter and I will keep you in the loop about enrollment dates.
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- Practical Strategies for Teaching Academic Language to ELLs