What does teaching a second language mean?

Teaching a second language is one of the most exciting experiences that a person can live during his/her life. Bringing people and culture together, spreading your own language abroad or to foreigners in your country makes you a different person.

First of all you have to fall in love with your language and your culture, and then treat them as an object of study rather than your familiar mother tongue.

Your enthusiasm should help you see beyond the difficulties of every day matters such as lesson plans, bureaucracy and salary expectations. Being a teacher means involving other people in what you like and in what you consider part of your life. In order to do it you should use all your personal skills, make your lessons as engaging as possible. If you fail it doesn’t matter, you will have a second chance to show your skills.

So what really makes the difference?

One of the most important parts of your job is motivating students, making them feel comfortable while they are learning something new. They should not feel under any sort of pressure, and that depends on the teacher’s method and on the teacher’s personal skills.

When you teach a language you should approach all the cultural world in which the language is recognised as the official language. History, society, beliefs and stereotypes have to be part of your lesson plan.

A teacher doesn’t close the door of his/her classroom, a good teacher shows to his/her colleagues what is doing. Having feedback is important for lifelong professional development. Feedback should come not only from colleagues but also from students, who play an active part in the learning process. There is no other way to develop your professional expertise.

The teacher is an actor: when teaching a language you should be as comprehensible and engaging as possible and the use of gestures and body language is essential to comply with your duties. Performative skills are more than welcomed to be a good teacher.

As a teacher you can spur students to discover new cultures, and help avoiding cultural misunderstandings and conflicts. The teacher is a link between worlds.

In three key words teaching a language means: spreading culture, engaging people, bringing people together.

What do you think? Share your experience with us!


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