Dance to the Beat of Your Own Drum

I had the opportunity today to sit in on one of my co-teacher’s English classes. (For every one class that they co-teach with me, all my Korean co-teachers have three or four additional classes with that group of students each week. I teach the listening and speaking sections and they teach more of the reading, writing, and grammar.)

Just like I had (and will have more) open classes so other teachers (and the principal) could observe and take notes, all the Korean teachers have to endure this torture as well (albeit with far more pressure and stress to perform well than I have to deal with).

So I joined my Korean co-teachers and the principal to watch. There were things I admired and things that didn’t fit my style, but at any rate she did well under pressure. And of course, the 3rd graders’ decibel levels were at least 90% lower than usual.

As I watched, it occurred to me that there are so many styles and so many approaches, and becoming a good teacher is not about copying one perfect style, but embracing your own individual strengths and personality and using them to your advantage. There are fantastic teachers who are flamboyant and loud and energetic, but there are also fantastic teachers who are laid-back and non-authoritarian. There are teachers who keep the class engaged by making jokes and being a performer, and there are teachers who keep the class engaged with puzzles or games or riddles. And some teachers just have that special something that makes all the students hang on their every word (alas, I am not one of those).

The best thing you can do is be genuine and teach in harmony with your personality rather than against the grain of it. The kids respond to sincerity much better than a put-on persona. So, you do you. Dance to the beat of your own drum.

P.S. I know, I know, it’s supposed to be march to the beat of your own drum. But dancing is much more poetic.

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