“Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher” (Parker J. Palmer, 1997 p.16)

“Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher” (Parker J. Palmer, 1997 p.16)

My venture into the world of education, particularly as an English teacher, took an unexpected turn, tracing back to my high school days. Those were the times when I found myself thrust into the role of explaining materials to my classmates in front of the classroom. Despite considering myself a quick learner, this experience left me feeling inadequate and embarrassed. It planted a seed of aversion towards teaching in my mind, as I believed it wasn't my forte.

Years later, fate led me to a volunteer teaching position at Xavier Learning Community (XLC). Despite my hesitations, I embraced the opportunity. As anticipated, my initial class proved demanding and disappointing, challenging my belief in my teaching abilities once again. However, a supportive colleague's encouragement to "be confident and believe in yourself" prompted a critical reflection. This reflection led me to realize that my effectiveness as a teacher was intricately linked to my belief in my ability to engage students and facilitate learning.

Now, it has been years since my first step into the English classrooms at XLC, where I have shared thousands of stories with diverse students from various places, countries, and ethnicities. I have always believed that my teaching extends far beyond the confines of classrooms. It goes beyond the transmission of knowledge and involves inspiring and guiding students to achieve their full potential. Through my identity, I hope to be a source of inspiration and motivation, igniting their passion for learning.

Oftentimes, I find myself teaching English without explicitly teaching English. I relish creating an environment where my students naturally engage with the language through storytelling, conversation, discussion, projects, presentations, and role-playing. These are enjoyable, relevant learning experiences, applicable to their real-life situations. Finally, I've learned that while techniques and methodologies are essential for teaching, it is the genuine connection between the teacher and the students, rooted in authenticity and integrity, that contributes to a truly impactful learning experience.

by Sumit Choemue (Sumit Choemue is currently an English teacher at Xavier Learning Community, Chiang Rai, Thailand. He is passionate about English education, especially in teaching and learning in rural areas. He is also a member of Magis Thailand.)


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