A lazy teacher works neither hard nor smartly. As a matter of fact, what a lazy teacher does can barely be considered work at all. Make photocopies and supervise students filling them out? A Xerox machine and a camcorder could do the exact same things and they don’t require a health plan.[/quote]
Heh! You must have hated your teachers back home, because I remember doing a lot of that kind of thing back in grade school. “Today is drawing day! Take out your colored pencils and let your imagination run free!” It seems to me that a lot of people who sneer at English teachers in Taiwan as being substandard compared to “real” teachers back home have short memories. How many teachers did you have in highschool who thought that popping in a video of Ken Burns’ “Civil War” and handing out a five question pop quiz was “teaching”?
Anyway, when I supervise students doing bookwork, more often than not I have my hands full, because students are always coming up to me either asking questions about how to do it, and handing the answers back to me to correct in red ink. Writing and reading are as important as speaking and listening, so don’t write in-class bookwork off. Ideally you should spend about 10-15 minutes per class doing workbook activities (as you shouldn’t spend more than 10 or 15 minutes on any activity, the kids will get easily bored).
I’ll tell you what the worst kind of foreign language teacher is (this applies to adult classes, mostly), that’s the teacher who thinks they’re working hard and doing a great job because they spend most of the class instructing. WRONG. The students aren’t going to improve their English if you stand there bloviating for an entire class without giving them a chance to speek or practice. I believe the communicative approach is best for conversation classes. The more you speak, the worse the class; the more the students speak, the better the class. I’ve seen many newbie teachers make this sort of mistake. Most of the vocabulary flies over the students’ heads, and the teacher doesn’t stop to make certain that the students understand what he’s going on about.
To a lesser extent this applies to kids’ classes as well. It’s not “lazy” to step back for a few minutes and have the kids practice an activity on their own, without you spoonfeeding them the language and expecting them to be little parrots. Of course this approach goes completely against the traditional Taiwanese concept of “teaching” which mostly consists of the students sitting in silence while the teacher parrots dry facts that the students are expected to regurgitate verbatim. No thinking stimulated, only the memory area of the brain is engaged. It’s sad to see as a teacher who’s taught all age groups, to see Taiwanese students actually regress as they get older, because they’ve been in the system too long - the younger the kids are, the more creativity and willingness to speak, but as they grow into teens, their brains turn to stone and they suddenly become too shy to say anything because they’re afraid of making mistakes.