Posts Tagged ‘transferrable skills’

We said our final good-byes today. My students’ graduation had come and went, and as I sat at my teacher’s desk for the very last time, looking around the classroom that contains so many memories from the past two years, I found myself reflecting on what this unique experience as a foreign teacher has given me.

I can honestly say I didn’t give teachers enough credit before I became one and realized first hand the dedication and diligence required of the position. Being a teacher is being a leader, a manager, a supervisor, a counselor, a mentor, and a representative all in one. 

Consistent Leadership

As a teacher, I quickly learned the importance leadership plays in the classroom. A good leader will take the time to understand those who look up to them, create positive moral, and value and appreciate others. Just like anyone in a leadership role, a teacher cannot expect or demand immediate respect; it needs to be earned and mutually nurtured. This also applies to relationships with fellow teachers and colleagues. If co-workers or students sense a lack of leadership, they will not trust you to lead them.  I’ve seen the classroom full of students who don’t respect the teacher as a leader and trust me, it’s not a place you want to be.

Flexible Management

Flexible management are essential skills a teacher must learn to maintain order and facilitate success in the classroom. I say “flexible” when referring to management because even though a teacher might have a particular way of managing the lesson, it is sometimes necessary to adapt to a situation if the “usual” way isn’t working out. What works for one person might not work for another, so we can’t expect to use the same tactics for everyone. If a teacher isn’t flexible in classroom management, the success of his/her students will not be consistent since some will be left behind. By changing and adapting to our environment, we can become better managers, prepared for all types of situations and people.

Perceptive Supervision

Perhaps perceptive supervision is even most important for teachers, since they are trusted with the care and safety of children, who many times cannot take care of themselves. A teacher must know what is going on in the classroom at all times, lest a child gets hurt or does something dangerous or inappropriate. This could be compared to how a supervisor or manager of a company must be constantly aware of the workplace environment, carefully monitoring the employees to maintain a safe, comfortable, and productive environment.

Objective Counseling and Mentoring

As the person who spends the most time with children other than the parents or guardians, a teacher must be prepared to provide support to the students if tough situations arise. The students should view the teacher as easily approachable and easy to confide in. This can be a challenge at times since the teacher should do their best to remain objective and fair, which the student might have a hard time understanding. I found the best way to handle this kind of situation is to explain to them very simply, in a way they also can agree is fair. This explanation is vital if the student will continue to look up to the teacher as a role model.

Respectful Representation

As I just mentioned, a teacher is a role model not only to the students, but possibly for other teachers or co-workers as well. During my time as a teacher, my role as a representative was very unique as I was also representing my country, my culture, and other foreign teachers for my students, my co-workers, my school, and my company. I quickly learned the best representative must first SHOW RESPECT to others’ cultures and traditions, and remain neutral in debates on the subject. I’ve seen too many teachers in my position abuse this role and talk down on the Korean culture while talking up theirs. I took this as a challenge to show my students and co-workers that not all stereotypes about foreigners are true. I made sure to listen to what others had to say, as well as ask appropriate questions to express my interest in the subject. By doing my best to learn about the Korean culture as much as I was sharing my own, I was able to portray myself as a credible representative not only at my school, but FOR my school as well.

I realized while writing this post that all of these experiences and skills I have been lucky enough to take away from my teaching experience can 100% be transferred into a successful career in any field. I can’t wait until I get the opportunity to learn and teach again as a Human Resources professional.


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