Growing up in traditional school systems here in Geneva I never in a million years thought I would want to grow up and be a teacher. I’m sure most of you can still remember those long hours of being stuck in class listening to the teacher talk about uninteresting things, or coping notes off the bored or just doing exercises in our books and not being allowed to talk to our classmates once the class starts… talk about boring! But I guess most of these classes for me were ok-ish as long as they were being taught in a language I could understand, but growing up the most difficult classes for me were language classes.
After going through a few years of attending different language classes just because “I had to”, something different and unexpected happened one day that influenced me more than I could have known back then. A new teacher got hired in school and was assigned to our class. Mrs. Specter was young, fun, joyful, and full of positive energy. She was a teacher that was so caring, someone you could just talk to about anything. She would laugh with us when we were feeling like being silly and felt our pain when we were feeling down. I absolutely loved going to her class just to have fun and joke around, I mean she was the only teacher in school that always let us do fun exercises, and none of those exercises required us being sitting on a desk. I remember we all wished we could have her class every single day.
Time flew by and before I knew it the exams were here and I had to revise for this class, and that’s when I realized I was actually good at this subject. I didn't know how or when I learned all this stuff but it didn’t matter because I got it and it all made sense to me. I was able to form sentences in a foreign language. I was able to put these sentences in questions form. I was also able to answer these questions in both positive and negative form. Not only did I know how to do all this, it even became effortless I didn’t even have to think of the rules, it just sounded right to me.
The years passed by and I graduated from university majoring in media and communications and was blessed with two beautiful kids who changed my world, including my view on the educational system. You see both my kids are so kind and sweet and sensitive, maybe even more sensitive than most kids, which made me re-evaluate my own educational experience. Most school systems have the objective of giving kids the tools and knowledge to be able to be successful in life once they are graduated and on their own, without actually damaging their own creativity, imagination and uniqueness in the process. But from my first hand experience and my kids’ ongoing struggle with the educational system, most teachers do not prioritize “creativity” and do not celebrate “our differences” the way they should. Everyone gets so caught up on the books and the subjects and the curriculum that they forget to give room for kids to be kids.
Encouraging creativity doesn’t just mean letting kids draw three periods a week and give them a sports class twice a week, it’s about encouraging creativity while you are in the process of teaching them. “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge”—Albert Einstein
When I send my kids off to school, I know they are going to spend most of their day there! They spend more time at school than with me at home, which makes me hope my kids are lucky enough to be taught by good teachers. A teacher is not just a person who passes on knowledge, it’s a person who shapes and influences a child, which makes me think… what are the characteristics of a good teacher?
In my experience as a teacher and a mother, I know that children respond best to teachers they actually like, or even better, love. I think the most important characteristic of a good teacher is to be friendly and congenial with the students. In addition, a teacher should provide a safe and comforting environment where the students should be able to share their problems without fear or hesitation. Why is that important you are wandering? It’s because a student should not feel alone if he or she has difficulties in or out of class. It can be fear of telling the teacher that they couldn’t understand the lesson because they are afraid of their teacher’s anger and punishment. Maybe they are facing difficulties with their friends at school or personal life, and feel lonely with no one to talk to out of fear of being judged. Any kind of difficulties a child holds inside him can affect the learning process.
However, a child does not only need a teacher who gives knowledge and is a trustworthy person, or someone who is a good listener when they are feeling under the weather, they also need a teacher with a good sense of humour and positive energy. All children are full of energy, fun and laughter; thus, a good teacher is someone who can keep up with all that. A good teacher should have a good sense of h
umour; keep an open strong communication line between them and their students, while maintaining order in class. Did you notice that I used the word maintaining “order” instead of “discipline”? It’s because for me this term makes me think of punishment, restrictions and forced authority, which is not an environment I would expect any child to feel comfortable in.
If you agree with my opinion on what makes a teacher a good teacher, then imagine finding a languages School that has only good teachers, teachers that are picked not only on their experience and qualifications, but more importantly on their level of creativity and ability to independently create unique lesson plans that are tailored to each and every Childs need. Spell Languages puts teachers through constant training and provide unconditional support, and gives absolute freedom for teachers to create their own lesson plan the way they feel fit for their students, as long as the lesson plans are based on their methodology: learning through play, cognitive development through experience, motivation stimulation, development of curiosity, involvement by the five senses, and development of creativity.