Into the World of Veteran Teachers


Automated limb movement, geriatric impulses, memorized lines and the same jokes told at the beginning of each term. The gradual fading of initial joy, reflected upon the self-prepared, plain packed lunch of no flavour. Welcome to the world of veteran teachers…

Dreams of retirement start crowding the mind, as the teacher; once a king, finds it difficult even to entertain himself. His throne room; the classroom has become his own prison, vagabonding in a maelstrom of self-punishment, sentenced to write sentences that have lost their meanings through time. As for the audience; names change, faces change but the mentality stays in the same line of ignorance. The kids don’t care anymore as any information can be found online though instant feedback cannot; a teacher’s only remaining forte in the digital age… currently regarded as highly overrated. The generation gap surfaces in the form of a different understanding of basic terms: Critical thinking, now refers to the condition the students’ mental abilities… It’s time to leave the stage…

Non-Native Language Teachers versus Native Language Teachers

Non-Native Language Teachers versus Native Language Teachers

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In an ever globalising world like ours, you can be born anywhere on the sphere (Perhaps, Antarctica is a less likely destination but still… there are plenty of places to be born on our planet.) You have an instant advantage in becoming the master of your culture and native tongue the moment you are born. You begin learning your native tongue without even being aware of the process. It’s total immersion.You do not even remember learning how to speak it, read it or write it. It’s almost automatic like breathing.

Breathing!

The first action we learn right after being born! Every soul born, masters it in just a few seconds. Everybody is excellent at it… We can easily say that we are all native breathers! Now, imagine that you are hired as a native breathing-instructor to teach how to breathe to a bunch of newborns (and just for the fun of it, imagine that they cannot learn it by themselves). What would you do? How would you even start? What would your first instruction be?

Open your mouth and suck in air through your mouth or nose???

In theory, being a native and having it done a zillion times, you should be an excellent teacher at Breathing – 101. However, that’s not the case, is it? Think about Albert Einstein or Dr.Michio Kaku (if you want a more contemporary example)! Did they start gaining scientific knowledge right from the time they were born? Were they native physicists? The answer is a big “no”. But, noone can claim that they are (or would be) “not so competent” in teaching Physics, can they? We should look at the non-native language teachers the same way. There may be marvels among us (language teachers) who will always fall behind in job hunts just because we are not passport holders of a country that we are teaching the language of. Having mastered the target language for decades will not put you in front of a native candidate (in a job application) who has no experience in teaching! Sometimes the label is more important than the content.

I have no intention of offending native language teachers in this article, but don’t we at least, deserve an equal chance in professional life? Below are some points which might make non-native language teachers a choice at least:

Non-native language teachers…

* have gone through a similar learning process as their pupils and can identify the tough parts in learning the target language and take precautions…

* can explain unexpected questions about grammar points as they have not learned it unconsciously unlike native teachers…

* can adjust their level of English according to the students’ level and communicate much easier with them…

* are more intercultural and aware…

* have better sppelign, speeling, splenig….spelleing…. (or maybe I should leave this one out)

I want to know what you think. Please comment!!!