What Makes a Good Foreign Language Teacher?

It is not a secret that teaching has a great role in our life, it is everywhere. In our constantly changing world we have to get knowledge from everything: e.g. from people and things surrounding us, from different technologies, from our experience. But nothing of these can take the place of a teacher, who plays a great role in life of every person. During rather long period of time a teacher is an integral part of children’s life.  A teacher does not only impart the knowledge of the world, prepares children for everyday life but also influences their  souls, teaches them to be honest, to be patient, to help each other, to respect each other; the teacher helps children to develop their true selves. He can change a young person's life by helping them to realize their potential, helping them to grow, helping them to find their talents, skills and abilities. But who is a teacher? According to The Free Dictionary a teacher is one who teaches, especially one hired to teach; a person whose occupation is teaching others, esp. children. But in the broadest sense, a teacher can be defined as someone who not only teaches or imparts knowledge, but also most importantly, someone responsible for shaping and molding the minds and hearts of all those whom they teach.  

Foreign language teachers have a lot of common qualities with the teachers of other subjects, but they are seen to be distinctive in terms of the nature of the subject, the content of teaching, the teaching methodology

So I think that it is obvious that the future of any student depends on the qualities and dedication of a teacher of foreign language or any other subject. That is why it is necessary to be a good teacher who will create an interest in students to develop and progress and achieve whatever aims they set for themselves. 

But what qualities, features do make a teacher a good teacher? 

Speaking about it first of all we should touch teacher’s personal and professional qualities. The most important feature for both foreign language teacher and teacher of other subjects is to enjoy his profession and love children. If a teacher loves his profession and his students he is ready to devote themselves to such a difficult profession, such a hard work as being a teacher. A teacher who is full of love for his work is motivated, energized, and creative; he comes to place of work in high spirits, he is open and can share his positive emotions with the students.  If being a teacher, one is sincere to his profession I think he will do his maximum effort to make himself successful. 

The  next most important concern is teacher’s eternal patience. A foreign language teacher    MUST be patient. He must never  be annoyed with students because they don't understand something . Not all children learn at the same pace and inevitably some will require special attention. However, giving up on these children is a mistake as they can usually succeed with encouragement and hard work. 

A good  teacher must possess leadership qualities, should do whatever he says, to enable the students to follow him. He must have great confidence and strong will power to obtain the best results from his students.

A good sense of humour is another great tool that helps a teacher to simplify his task. Wits and humor, when applied in the proper manner, can form an important part of a successful teaching program. I think that a good sense of humor may be even called one of the obligatory  features of a good teacher because it creates a pleasant  atmosphere where everyone knows they can ask questions, make mistakes or try out new ideas. 

One more qualities of a good teacher which is necessary to mention  is respect. It is very important to respect the students,  their opinions, ideas, style of living,  attitude towards something. Having that respect for others gets you the respect back from others.

Responsibility and conscientious attitude of a teacher are other qualities of a good teacher. It means that a teacher must prepare is lessons, mark homework and different tasks, attend professional development sessions to improve his/her own teaching methods

Persuasiveness, endurance, tolerance, optimism, enthusiasm, objectiveness, amiable disposition are also in the first ranks of qualities of a good teacher.

I think that all these characteristics are some kind of challenge for a person because it is not so easy to combine all of them. But as the future teachers we must make every effort in order to develop them because we are the future examples for younger generation.

A good foreign language teacher as any good teacher should possess  certain professional knowledge. First of all he must know psychology of his children, namely the peculiarities of certain age period in general and peculiarities of every pupil individually (separately). A teacher also must be conscious of pupils’ potential, abilities, inclinations and interests. It will help a  teacher to have a certain way with the students, to involve them, to make the lessons more interesting and effective. 

Without any doubt a good foreign language teacher  must be knowledgeable in his subject, because he is an example for the pupils.  He must know all the peculiarities of the language, its grammar, lexical structure perfectly well. The pronunciation of a good foreign language teacher must also be on a high level.  In other words he must be a professional, a master of his skills (a crackjack).

We know the learning of foreign language to be connected not only with language but also for example with history, different spheres of our life, country-specific studies. That is why it is important for the foreign language teacher to have infinite knowledge not only in his subject but also in different disciplines. 

Of course a good foreign language teacher must have his impeccable teaching techniques which will help the students to learn the language properly. First of all it is necessary to mention the variety within the lesson hour. The matter is that the students should not only do drills. It is better to have a little grammar, reading, writing, listening, communication during the classes. In other words a good teacher should set different kinds of activities into motion during the lessons. Undoubtedly  it will improve pupils’ skills and make the lessons more effective. Different language games, projects, compositions also have  good influence on  the students, make the lesson more interesting. A foreign language teacher should use hardware such as computers, video equipment, audio equipment in order to interest the pupils, to draw their attention to learning language.

Speaking about professional skills of a good teacher it is necessary to say that the profession of a teacher is connected with communication especially the profession of foreign language teacher. Thus a good foreign language teacher must have the ability to speak in public. So he must be able to formulate clear aim of his speech, to choose the content accordingly, his speaking must be well organized, distinctive, be easy to hear, his voice must carry well and not be monotonous. In spite of it a good foreign language teacher as any good teacher must be able to arrange his lesson in such a way (so) that the content and results of the lesson answer the aims of it. A good teacher also must have the ability to analyze his work in order to  see his mistakes, to find more effective and productive way of teaching. I think that all these skills will give an opportunity to a teacher to be an expert in his work, to hold pupils’ attention during the classes and to be the best for his students.

In conclusion I would like to say that as future teachers we must remember that  being a teacher is a great responsibility, because teachers are charged with children’s young souls. We must improve ourselves in order to become good teachers, to acquire the qualities  which will help us to open children’s hearts, to become friends for them, to become examples for them to follow, to stay in their minds and hearts  forever.