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English Teaching Info

Your Mission as an ESL Teacher

Over the past twenty years or so anyone who has kept up with advances in business practices has seen the growth of an entire industry based on the psychological/spiritual side of business.

As an ESL teacher make no mistake about it: you are in business. You work for a salary if you are an employee at a school and probably get paid by the hour. If you teach privately you are in business for yourself.

So it doesn't hurt to study about how you can make your business better and how you can improve yourself as a business person. I have read business books and sales books for years and one of the things that has always struck me is how spiritually oriented many of these books are.

The highest of such books are all about how to contribute to others and how to make this a better world. The more people you serve in a beneficial way, the more you provide for other people so they can improve their lives, the more your life has meaning and purpose.

One of the best ways to keep you on target and focused on what you are doing as an ESL teacher, who is in the business of improving other people's lives by teaching English, is to come up with a personal mission statement.

This statement is not necessarily meant for you to show other people. This is mainly for you.

However, you may want to include it in a cover letter to a prospective employer or put it on your website if you have one.

The purpose of the mission statement, really, is to outline for yourself what exactly your purpose is, the whys and wherefores of what you are doing as an English teacher

Also, I think an important aspect of the mission statement is to keep you inspired, to keep you reaching higher, to be the best you can be. So not only does it inspire you and add to your life but how what you do, how you be, your overall attitude inspires and benefits others.

The great Indian sage Ghandi said that the way to truly find yourself is by losing yourself in others. So a good mission statement is meant to be somewhat altruistic. In addition it's meant to provide you with a guide so you can stay on track with what you are trying to accomplish.

Also, a mission statement is not meant to be done in a matter of a few minutes. Although the initial writing of it might be executed in a quick spontaneous way, it's good to sit with it and cogitate over it for several hours, days or even weeks.

It's something that can stand constant revision and revisiting because as we learn and grow our concept of who we are shifts and changes. So our mission shifts and changes as well.

You can write mission statements for every area of your life. Keep them in a three ring binder along with your dreams and goals.

How do you write a mission statement as an ESL teacher?  

Simple. Just take a piece of paper and write at the top "My mission as an ESL teacher is..." Then just start writing.

Here is an example of what I wrote. Feel free to use some, all or none for your own statement. The statement can be done in a paragraph form or in a list form as I have here.

My Mission with Teaching ESL

  • to build trust in the student so he can gain confidence in himself and the language
  • to patiently guide the student in increasing his comprehension, vocabulary and verbal skills
  • to help the student feel comfortable with the language
  • to help open their creativity
  • to make a noticeable improvement with their pronunciation and diction
  • to encourage the habit of daily practice and increase
  • to have the student feel each lesson is fun and stimulating so he looks forward to each class and gets sparked in him the desire to ongoingly improve with a hunger to learn more.

Now here is another example of a mission statement in the paragraph format.

"My mission as an ESL teacher is to greatly improve the lives of those around me, to be an example of high integrity and class, to be a great communicator, to uplift and inspire. To make the teaching experience fun for the students as well as for myself.

To inspire the student to reach new heights, to want to go "outside the box", to challenge the student to go beyond his own perceived limitations and to provide a hunger to want to learn more.

To always hold the student in the best light, to be always going beyond my own pre-conceived notions of the student's talents and abilities, to expect more of the student than he expects of himself, to be a great coach, a great listener, a great inspirer.

And to always expect more of myself as a teacher with constant and ongoing training and development."

Now do you see how these statements are inspiring? They are the kinds of things that give you as the ESL teacher meaning and purpose and provides you the opportunity to step up and be bigger and better then you perceive yourself to be.

So it's important with a mission statement to not be small and play it safe but to write something that will help you stretch yourself on a daily basis. These words are deceptively simple but who knows with these simple words what you can accomplish.

Try your hand at your own ESL teacher mission statement. It's a fun and rewarding exercise. And don't be afraid to shoot for the moon. You just might miss and hit the stars.

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