Identity as a English teacher Essay

Submitted By Aleka_yan
Words: 1034
Pages: 5

Identity Changes as Environment Changes “Identity formation is a dual process of identification and negotiation of meanings” (Tsui, 2007). I used to think that identification is endowed by oneself. But Tsui’s article makes me reflect my journey of being an English teacher and found that my identity is affected by the surrounded students and the educational context.
The first attempt of teaching English was being sort of a tutor of my younger cousins by chance. English is my strength among all the subjects in my high school year. I was the subject representative of the class. Thus, when my relatives gathered together, the parents often took their kids to me to help their kids’ English. Sometimes kids asked the key to learn English well; other time they seek answers for their homework. I can barely say that I was an expert in teaching English that time. In most cases, I sit with my cousins on sofa and shared my way of learning English randomly; taught them several words and phrases; or solve their problems in the assignments. But this was the start of my experience as an English teacher. And it was still the most comfortable start I had so far. I was neither under any institutional pressure nor need to negotiate with students’ requests. There was no preparation for the tutoring. I only gave what I had at hand and told what I thought was effective learning, which means what worked on me. Both parties did not have objectives to achieve. The tutoring was built on outcomes from natural conversations. We were in an absolutely relaxed teaching and learning environment. Therefore, my role was more like a foregoer to pass the knowledge to the young in my family rather than a teacher in institutional construction. Though the way of tutoring seems unmotivated, the environment and my cousins’ reaction gave me confidence and encouraged me to pursue a career in education. As related to the article, I was superior in negotiation of meanings in this stage. My words and opinions were taken by the group and later adopted by others in the group that made me feel valued and feel the responsibility of being an elder member in the family. I was the forerunner as well as model for my students at that time.
After I entered university as an English major and realized my potential in teaching English, I found job of teaching English to high school students. It was one-on-one class that different from tutoring. Generally, the class was to prepare the students to pass the exams they would take no matter in school or for other purposes, such as study abroad. Then, I moved into the second stage of being an English teacher. In the university, I usually immersed in the communicative language learning classroom. However, I was still under the examination-oriented system when I did the teaching outside my university. Even though, as mentioned in Tsui’s article, Chinese government conducted CLT method in English education; and more and more schools and institutions jointed the trend, the larger social context was not changed. Due to the large population, we had tons of standards and pressure for entrance and exams or standard-tests seem the only practical way for that. Consequently, the orientation of education was led by the social situation. I received a lot of requests from my students that they want to improve their English proficiency in a short time; that they need shortcut or strategies to safely pass the examinations. While on the bottom of my heart I hoped my students could master English through interests and hard working day by day, the urgent request and institutional situation drove me far away from my original intention in teaching English. I had to implement and taught my students some skills and strategies that the institution (where I worked) gave to me. Even myself was in doubt that if the strategies would really work. It was hard tell from the students’ feedback, since my students often blame on themselves instead of criticizing…