I don’t really know who “great” teachers have high expectations of, as I’m not sure what a “great” teacher is.
For me as an EFL teacher in a foreign land, I have great (possibly even unrealistic) expectations of myself and my students, but I accept that reality often falls short of my expectations as far as others are concerned.
Partly this is because different cultures and different educational systems within them don’t always work the same as we might expect. Partly it is also because the structures that do exist bar “foreigners” (here, we’re actually referred to as “aliens”) from climbing the institutional ladder to gain greater power or influence, or even be consulted.
At some point, after banging your head against the wall, or perhaps the “glass ceiling”, for long enough you adjust your definition of “great” to suit the circumstances you are in, and you put aside most of what you learned throughout your advanced studies at university for the reality of others’ decisions, however poorly founded.
For example, it would be great if every classroom had an IWB or even a regular whiteboard, let alone a working CD player. It would be great if we could have teachers’ books for classroom texts that are written in English rather than Chinese. It would be great if we had dedicated classrooms rather than having to trudge from room to room where we enter like something from outer space. It would be great if we could set the format and content of exams or even decide if or when there would be exams. It would be great if we had access to computers with English operating systems, the commands of which we could read. I guess you get the picture.
For a more stress-free life, when you cannot change things, it’s easier to make your high expectations fit the situation.
Posted at http://busstop.stedi.org/index.cfm/2010/5/14/Quick-Question
5/14/10 11:19 AM