What Makes the "Perfect" Taiwan Teacher?

What Makes the “Perfect” Taiwan Teacher?

I know that’s a pretty broad thing to cover. There’ll be differences between someone teaching kids and adults, teaching styles, etc.

What qualities do owners look for in a teacher?
What qualities do teachers feel are most important?

Some thoughts from me:

I would think having a good command of Chinese would be important for teaching here, but I get the feeling (and have been told) that some schools would rather have a teacher that didn’t speak any Chinese (for various reasons).

Classroom management seems really important. I’ve always liked “winging it” but I’ve found that preparation before class makes winging it even more fun (though it’s not really winging it anymore).

I think being energetic is important for teaching kids (the younger they are, the more true it is). But, I’ve also recently found out that someone doesn’t necessarily need to be high energy to conduct a fun/constructive class if proper classroom management is employed.

OK, that does it for me for now.

Perfect in an imperfect system and perfect in a perfect system will probably be two different things. Also, is that perfect from a school’s point of view with profit in the picture or purely as educators?

I ask because, in the case of educators you’d want a teacher who would always stay within the curriculum and not innovate too much-- innovators are not as easy to replace if they die or something, while in the case of profit a teacher who wants to work for free would be ideal.

I prefer to discuss the perfect teacher for Taiwan as an educator but working within Taiwan’s current system of teaching.

Natrually you’d need things like: punctuality, good health, perfect speech and intonation, native English competency, solid command of grammar, emotional stability and control, serious attitude towards teaching, loves kids but not a pedaphile, cooperates and collaborates well with peers, able to form a good rapport with kids, desirous to put in extra time outside of class to help kids and prepare

Specific to Taiwan I think: speaks Chinese but kids won’t know it unless school policy allows it (in which case they still need to know to reserve Chinese for truly appropriate uses), aware of Chinese rote learning and culture and able to both exploit it and to combat its weaknesses, able to work within the system while injecting energy and fresh ideas within the framework of the provided curriculum and structure, comprehends the concept of face and knows how to act inside and outside of this paradigm to best achieve cooperation and harmony with coworkers, parents, and students

puiwaihin, thanks, exactl what I was looking for.

Ramblin Rube, uh, yeah, thank you too.

Putting up with totally spoiled brats and liking it is high on the list. :laughing:

I once saw a job posting for a bushiban in Tainan. They called it their ‘wish list’:

  1. fantastic motorcycling skills through Tainan traffic
  2. speaks Mandarin
  3. comes from North America
  4. on top of all that, just happens to be a certified elementary school teacher

I had to laugh…I guess the reason I laughed was because a lot of the people I used to work with Kaohsiung had 2 or 3 of the above points (like the European guy could speak Mandarin, but we had to lie and say he was from Texas…and the certified teachers from North America were great, but they kept getting put into body bags re: motorcycle accidents).

It is hard to find someone who matches up on all of the above points, but once you do, you’ve got a teacher that satisfies your school’s needs and your clientele.

Although the original post specifically asked about the owners’ and teachers’ perspectives, I thought that it would be interesting to share the students’ opinions described in Examining Student Perceptions of The Ideal English Language Instructor.

Some highlights from a ranked list of 48 teacher qualities are

  1. Arouses students’ interest in learning
  2. Teaches real-life and practical English
  3. Possesses a good sense of humor
  4. Speaks correct/clear pronunciation, intonation and fluency
  5. Enforces the practice of speaking and listening skills
  6. Gives little or no pressure
    7 (2-way tie)
    -Amicability and friendliness
    -Is a good communicator
  7. Makes learning English enjoyable
  8. Able to design skits or role plays for classroom activities
  9. Able to use both Chinese and English in class
  10. Is a native speaker of English, but fluent in Chinese

    28 (17-way tie).
    -Is female
    -Is proficient in the Chinese language
    -Has an attractive face

The qualities that students want probably are not completely in agreement with the qualities that are best for teaching. However, they may be worth taking note of in case you are angling for student retention bonuses.

edit: fixed one item in the list I messed up

Great post, ploor! Very informative.

[quote=“ploor”]Although the original post specifically asked about the owners’ and teachers’ perspectives, I thought that it would be interesting to share the students’ opinions described in Examining Student Perceptions of The Ideal English Language Instructor.

Some highlights from a ranked list of 48 teacher qualities are

  1. Arouses students’ interest in learning
  2. Teaches real-life and practical English
  3. Possesses a good sense of humor
  4. Speaks correct/clear pronunciation, intonation and fluency
  5. Enforces the practice of speaking and listening skills
  6. Gives little or no pressure
    7 (2-way tie)
    -Amicability and friendliness
    -Makes learning English enjoyable
  7. Makes learning English enjoyable
  8. Able to design skits or role plays for classroom activities
  9. Able to use both Chinese and English in class
  10. Is a native speaker of English, but fluent in Chinese

    28 (17-way tie).
    -Is female
    -Is proficient in the Chinese language
    -Has an attractive face

The qualities that students want probably are not completely in agreement with the qualities that are best for teaching. However, they may be worth taking note of in case you are angling for student retention bonuses.[/quote]

This is pretty good.
1-5 are enough to win me over.

That list must be for adult students. I was speaking about teaching kids.

Why is the list for adult students???

The one quoted here in this thread is pretty good for kids or adults.

I would like to add a couple things to ploor’s excellent post.

  1. Be creative
  2. Work within the curriculum, but personalise lessons.
  3. Able to think on your feet and change a lesson that’s not working.
  4. Control the class without showing it.
  5. Be able to stimulate brief discusions, even among children.
  6. Know when and when not to discipline to retain respect.

[quote=“wonder”]
6. Know when and when not to discipline to retain respect.[/quote]

I’d be much obliged if someone would go into the finer points of this one. I have to admit this is still something I’m trying to figure out. :notworthy:

1 shows up everyday
2 a good work ethic
3 preps well
4 teaches the material
5 enjoys teaching
6 can follow directions
7 works indpendently

Ski

[quote=“violet”][quote=“wonder”]
6. Know when and when not to discipline to retain respect.[/quote]

I’d be much obliged if someone would go into the finer points of this one. I have to admit this is still something I’m trying to figure out. :notworthy:[/quote]

What works for me is using a loud voice when saying “quiet” etc. Also I give them the ‘look’ commonly known to little black kids in the States as "you are pushing my last nerve and you know what happens when I lose that nerve " look. If the look doesn’t work, then I give them 3 strikes. If that doesn’t work then I talk to them like they ‘know’ better.

A good teacher isn’t satisfied simply with engaging a student’s intellect. A good teacher will also engage the student’s emotions.

In Taiwan, you don’t have the time to tell stories to drive home each individual point, but you can come up with ways of presenting the material and facilitating in the classroom that keep the students interested in what you are talking about.

I do this through multi-media presentations of material that is organized and relevant, through spacing jokes and anecdotes out at somewhat random intervals (they want to see what you’re going to say next), and by paying attention to what is happening with the energy level in the classroom and adjusting the pace and direction accordingly.

A few other ideas that have helped me:
-Showing up on time and very well prepared communicates respect for the student and seriousness about your work.
-The more you get your students to view classroom time as a team effort, the more effort they’ll put into mastering the material.
-Be personable, but not too personal. Maintaining a little mystique about yourself helps maintain student interest.
-Think in terms of methods, strategies, and tools that your students can apply to any learning situation.
-Good classroom management is a must. I am patient but very firm with those who aren’t focusing on what we’re doing.

And finally, when in Taiwan, the more you understand about what really goes on in your student’s lives, the better you’ll be able to reach them. Every foreign teacher in Taiwan should possess an unquenchable thirst for understanding local language and culture.

And by the way, if you hate Taiwan and/or Taiwanese culture, they’ll figure you out.

The point about enjoying local culture is very important. It is possible to hold a class all about Taiwan or what you did on the weekend without using one word of Chinese or Taiwanese…and the students love it!!

Here in Okinawa it is very difficult to use the above-named method, because the locals harbour so much shame over being Okinawan and if you say something like, I went to an enkai out in Yomitan on the weekend and learned 3 words of the Okinawan Language, it will be game over. Everyone will just clam up and might even pretend they don’t know what the hell you are talking about.

However, if you say, I am planning a trip to Tokyo and I was wondering if anyone would like to give me advice…then everyone will jump in and pretend they are real Japanese and it will be a good lesson.

THAT IS WHY I AM MOVING BACK TO HONG KONG IN 5 MONTHS.

[quote=“ploor”]
28 (17-way tie).
-Is female
-Has an attractive face[/quote]

Why don’t they just add “Is white” too? :unamused:

[quote=“Chris”][quote=“ploor”]
28 (17-way tie).
-Is female
-Has an attractive face[/quote]

Why don’t they just add “Is white” too? :unamused:[/quote]
Probably because not all attractive females are white

Great thread…

As I read through this, I kept thinking that people weren’t mentioning the “cultural” aspects enough. But, a few of you picked up that ball on the 2nd page! :slight_smile:

I’ll reiterate a couple of the points, hopefully without being too repetitive:

  1. Understanding as much as possible about these children’s everday lives. I’m not sure most teachers understand how REALLY, REALLY tough they have it at times. The pressure from family, from school and competition from friends can be stifling. I know I didn’t really get it for a LONG time (and maybe still don’t completely). Empathizing and placing yourselves in your students shoes is so important to fully realizing our potential as effective and compassionate teachers.

  2. Making your students THINK. I believe this is a huge part of the positive role we can play in the classroom. These kids experiece a VERY differerent style of learning in public schools. I always love forcing them to really THINK. Asking them questions about their daily lives, their family, how to solve Taiwan and the world’s problems, their dreams for the future, etc. It can take many months to break through the wall of their past educational experience. But, once you break through, the creativity comes pouring out. Having a 5 minute question and answer period at the end of each class was always a favorite of mine.

Finally, I think we can play a really important idealistic and inspirational role in these kids lives. Think back to your K- High School days. How many teachers do you remember as really being good? I bet you have a couple you remember who made a big difference in your life (I know I do). Are you going to be that teacher? Are you going to be the one your students remember as having a real influence on their lives?

I think thinking along those lines really helps me to have an attitude and approach towards teaching which pervades everything I do at school.

[quote=“Goose Egg”][quote=“Chris”][quote=“ploor”]
28 (17-way tie).
-Is female
-Has an attractive face[/quote]

Why don’t they just add “Is white” too? :unamused:[/quote]
Probably because not all attractive females are white[/quote]

Did you write that with a straight face?
That’s some funny sheet.

:bravo: