College English Teacher’s Job: A Firsthand Account


English teacher job, illustrated by apple for teacher, pencil, books

Introduction

Considering pursuing a career in teaching? This is a true career story as told to Latpro and is one of many interviews with individuals in the teaching profession which among others include a Spanish Teacher, a High School Department Chair, and everything in between.

Here’s the story, in her own words.

I’m a college English teacher. I teach two courses: ENG101 and ENG101E/F. The latter is an ENG 101 class for students who did not test into the regular ENG101 class. It lasts an entire year instead of the normal semester. I have been teaching college English for three years. The words dedicated, creative, and open-minded describe me well.

College English Teachers Experience Issues With Student Motivation and Performance

My job can be very stressful. More often than not, I am disappointed in my students because they do not want to work to their full potential. It can be difficult to reach some students who already believe they are going to fail.

On the other hand, I have had many great students who have grown significantly in my class. Some kids find education enthralling and are willing to commit themselves entirely to it. These are the students I remember the most.

I never thought I would have to seriously discipline students. I assumed that I could earn their respect by being cool and reasonable. This strategy did not work. Within weeks of my first teaching position, I had lost control of my students. I do not like to discipline my students regularly, but sometimes I have to come down hard on a student in class. It can be embarrassing for the student and myself.

College English Teachers Can Also Have Issues With Curriculum and Materials

Besides the inconsistent performances of my students, there is another problem with teaching in higher education. The bureaucracy makes it very hard to personalize the class and choose the best materials. We are sometimes given our teaching assignments just days before the class starts and are expected to come up with an organized syllabus.

The book the department provides for us is hardly the best available, nor is it one I would choose.

I would like the job more if I was teaching the same college classes with better source material. Half the reason why many college students don’t want to participate in class discussions is that they are bored with the reading material. To be honest, I am often bored with the reading material, too! Our current reading material is very bland and practical. I want to teach something that my students will enjoy.

Conclusion

There are times when I feel great about my job. Some days I give a great lecture and the students really respond. Other days the students bring some really interesting information to class and we have wonderful discussions. It is great to know that the students are interested in learning; it makes my job more enjoyable and class time more interesting.

Unfortunately, these experiences do not happen as often as I would like. Most days are somewhat of a struggle to get the class involved. All I can do is to commit myself to class as much as I can and see what happens.

I never sugarcoat my job when I tell people about it. Teaching is a tough line of work that requires patience and understanding. I let people know that my job can be great one day and awful the next. I work hard to make sure there are more good days. That is why I continue to go to class and teach. All in all, I would rate this teaching position a 7 out of 10. I am hopeful that over time, I will be able to teach some higher level classes or move to another institution that would provide a superior opportunity.

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