NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS FOR ESL TEACHERS

1. I will remember that I'm working for my students. They are not working for me.

2. If my students are adults, I will remember to treat them like adults. I will not revert to the days when I taught middle school.

3. I will take some time to find out as much as I can about the features of the students' languages and cultures, so that I can get some ideas on how to help them better. This will include finding out something about the education systems in their countries of origin, particularly as it pertains to language.

4. I will avoid the temptation to use exaggerated speech with my students, to achieve instant communication. I will speak normally to them, and repeat something several times if necessary, so that they will understand English in the real world, in which they will function. Wanna' and doncha' are real words in spoken English. If my students ask me to "slow down," I will smile at them nicely. They will appreciate this later.

5. I will always concentrate on my students' performance, rather than force them to listen to my long and fascinating lectures about English. I am a trainer, not an educator.

6. I will use English as the medium of instruction, even if I know a student's language, except during terror alerts! I want my students to depend on English, while they are in my class.

7. When I realize that certain students have come a long way in English, I will remember to compliment them and reinforce their sense of pride and accomplishment. I will be patient with my slower students. When I get frustrated, I will ask myself why I don't speak Farsi or Twi.

8. I will find out as much as I can about why my students are in my class and what their plans are for the future, in which English will play an important role. That way, we can establish objectives together and find the quickest ways to accomplish them.

9. I will remember than I am not teaching to become rich. If I need a lot of money, I will become a coach, an MBA professor, or work for Halliburton.

10. If I become bored with what I am doing, I will quit ESL and become a firefighter or a test pilot.

Ted Klein