The ABC of ELT

5 things that aren’t on a YL teachers job description (but should be)

There have been several moments during my career where somethings happened and I’ve thought “This wasn’t on the job description”. Mostly, these have happened with Young (and very young) learners, but there were some exceptions. Anyway, I thought I’d share 5 things that aren’t on a Young Learners teacher’s Job description (but should be).

1. Be prepared to clean up dog muck

I wish I could say this was a one time offence, but it hasn’t been. Kids like playing, certain countries don’t clean up after dogs as much. Sometimes Kids come into class with something brown and smelling on the sole of their shoe. It’s in everyone’s interest if you clean that up quickly.

2. Your contract hours are a minimum not a maximum

This one is pretty obvious but your contract hours (I include “contact” and “teaching” hours in that description) are a minimum and you WILL go over them.

3. Parents may leave children up to an hour and a half before the lesson… You’d better look after that child.

Okay, an hour and a half has only occurred once but I’ve been pretty shocked by how early some parents regularly turn up to drop off their kids. In some cases (off site classes) there might be no one from the school there and the parent may need several messages before they stop leaving their child with no one else around. There was a time where I used to enjoy hiding surprises in my classrooms for Kids to find, I’ve all but given up as I know that there will probably be a kid waiting the whole time and watching everything I do.

4. A PhD in Psychology wouldn’t be a bad thing

This isn’t an essential requirement…though it might be for remaining sane. Some students* are…interesting. Just when you think you’ve got them (more or less) figured out, they prove you wrong. Of course, it’s not always students acting strangely, but sometimes we teacher do something which in hindsight was always going to lead to that reaction.

*Also applies to parents and bosses

5. You need a strong bladder

Sometimes your break between classes won’t be that long at all, and if you have a parent want to talk to you afterwards, and then have to supervise the next group of kids, well…it could be several hours between trips to the loo. If you’re drinking plenty of fluid in the summer, that can be…difficult.

(Bonus 6. You need the patience of a saint)

Sometimes a kid (or a group of kids) will start doing something that drives you crazy. Be that fidget spinner, asking “why” every 5 seconds or my personal favourite, kids who say “I don’t understand” as soon as you start to explain an activity.

Anything I’ve missed?

I’m sure there’s more that should be added to a Young Learner’s job description (or requirements). Feel free to leave your own ideas.

About Chris Wilson

I'm an English Language teacher based in Krakow, Poland. I enjoy writing, using technology and playing the Ukulele.

One Reply

  1. SO true! Great post – sharing!

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