What I love the most about language teaching


‘What’s your favourite thing about teaching?’ a friend asked me last weekend. My answer is threefold, and perhaps not what you might expect.


The first thing I love is, when a student starts speaking, then pauses, corrects themselves before continuing. That is a far more satisfying moment, than had they said the correct thing in the first place.

Why? Because this means my students understand what they’re doing, as opposed to throwing words at the metaphorical wall (i.e. me!) to see if they stick. My job as a teacher is to give them an understanding of the language, as well as the tools, to navigate it, so they can grow into confident speakers. Who would want to drive a car, without knowing the basics and how to use it?


The second thing I love about teaching, is what I call ‘the light-bulb moment’’, i.e. when a student is speaking in the language they’re learning and forgets that fact, or to judge themselves in the process, then pauses, soon after, shocked by the fact that they are indeed speaking fluently.


They invariably break into a smile, because they realise they can actually do it. As always, the proof is in the pudding…


My third favourite about teaching, is the fact that I get to share moments in my student’s lives, whether big or small. From the new dog, rescued hedgehog, and gardening progress, to their holidays in/move to French-speaking countries, getting into university, their newborn children or grandchildren, and wedding ceremony.


Teaching languages is never just about the language, and neither is language learning.


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