Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Why I love teaching (part 1)

I seem to spend a lot of time moaning about teaching, dreaming of the day when I can give it all up. Last week I was feeling miserable because our new semester was about to start ...

But sometimes I have a great day and feel that I make a difference to people's lives. Sometimes. I've just had a good day, and I thought it's worth sharing.

My first class tonight was a group of 10 pre-int adults. They really are seriously low level, so I have to work hard to keep everything graded and tight ... but I love it. It's real learning and real teaching. They know things today that they didn't know a few hours ago ... they can do things they couldn't do before.

My second class was legal English. The 10 students seem to come from every field of law there is, and between them they know the whole system. Between them - and that's the point. So the lessons are all about sharing that wealth of knowledge and experience around the classroom. It's wonderful. And as I mentioned in this posting last week, I'm also feeling much more comfortable than ever before teaching legal English, more confident that I know what I'm talking about and that I can add value. Very satisfying.

So ... yeah ... teaching's OK.

PS Don't worry. I'll be grumpy again soon.


  1. Hi Jeremy

    I completely understand where you're coming from. After having taught pretty much exclusively law students for the best part of four years I began teaching my first regular classes for legal practitioners a couple of years ago. I have to say, even with my experience teaching for the ILEC at a university I was a little nervous. The nerves soon went, and this particular class is one of the most rewarding I've ever taught. My students include family lawyers, commercial lawyers, trustees, criminal defenders, prosecutors, paralegals and judges. A pretty mixed bunch - and they all bring so much to the class. You learn so much as a teacher, and this knowledged can be recycled as one continues to develop materials that cover the kinds of language skills they need. Now - how to go about developing a case study that includes all of the above?! Really enjoying your blog, thanks for taking the time to record your thoughts. Looking forward to your session at the Warsaw Legal English Conference in November.

    All the best


  2. Thanks, Matt. I had no idea you were reading the blog ...

    Your class sounds very similar to mine. Yesterday it was as if whatever came up in the lesson, there were always 2 or 3 experts on hand to ask.

    Due diligence? Two students had done loads of them: one of them found them mind-numbingly boring and the other saw them as a treasure hunt!

    The tricky bit in ILE about lawyers drafting laws while legislators draft legislation? Let's ask the two students who actually draft laws/legislation for different government departments. Very satisfying.

    Anyway, I hear you're pursuing a new career as an actor after your performance as "George" at Bethany's presentation at Ulm. That was a role I'd made my own at the IATEFL Poland conference last month!

    Cheers, and looking forward to your blog ...

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