The Hidden “Wow” of Teaching

A few hours remain until the end of YouTube’s “On the Rise” contest, and I am able to reflect on what has been gained from the experience of being a nominee in this rollercoaster-like mainstream contest. Ever one to look for the positive, I think I am most impressed by people’s commitment to education. So many votes were not for me as an individual, but for what I represent. Those who know the kind of work I do voted because they believe in the power of learning.

Learning changes us for the better. We become better communicators, better community members, better workers, and better people. If someone fails to understand how a not-so-glamorous teacher of not-so-exciting topics (well, exciting to us ELTs, of course), such as prepositions and the IPA, could earn so many votes in a social media contest, then the person sadly lacks good memories of his or her school experience. Personally, I can remember most of my grade school and high school teachers. I remember them, and I thank them for helping me grow as a person. I remember the professors who also touched my life in college and graduate school. They cared for me beyond the classroom walls.

A language lesson (especially one filmed by an amateur video maker!) does not have the wow-factor that mainstream audiences can readily see, but there is a hidden wow-factor that the learner experiences over time.

To all of you teachers reading this, I look at you and your work and say, “WOW!”

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Nina Liakos says:

    Whether you win or not, you can be satisfied knowing that your videos reach so many students and teachers around the globe. Happy holidays!

    1. Thank you, Nina. I am happy – I’m a teacher. Like you, I have the chance every day to make a difference in someone’s life.
      Wishing you happy holidays as well!

  2. Mashael says:

    May I say you are a great teacher Jennifer
    you really do explain lessons in a very interesting and yet
    clear way to English learners.
    I showed my students some of your videos in the classroom.
    You do make a difference in people’s lives and we can’t thank you enough for that ..
    It is amazing what you do in life..
    I hope I can be like you one day
    with that enthusiasm and support to your students.
    you are just perfect !
    Since you are an expert in pronunciation, I would like to ask
    you if you can recommend a software to evaluate students’
    I have some voice recordings of my students pronunciation
    of specific words, and I would like to use a software to
    evaluate their pronunciation before and after I taught them
    and check their scores..I have been searching for a while and
    couldn’t find any.. it is for my research.
    Is there any software you could
    recommend? I would really really really appreciate your
    Thank you

    1. Thank you very much for your words of support. I am also grateful that you have shared my videos with your students.
      Well, I am not certain I would call myself an expert on pronunciation. As ELTs we all know more than the average English speaker when it comes to phonemes, suprasegmentals, and the like. 🙂 I haven’t had the need to evaluate pronunciation through software, so unfortunately, I am not able to make a suggestion. I will leave this discussion thread public, and perhaps another reader will chime in with an idea or two.

      I do know that certain series include interactive materials online. For example, Pearson’s NorthStar series has MyLab. Students can record themselves for playback and share those recordings with their teachers.

      Similar exercises have been created by Mike Marzio of Real English.

      Good luck in your search. You might also try making an inquiry within a TESOL community group. The CALL folk may know.

      Best regards,

      1. Mashael says:

        That’s great

        Thank you very much. I appreciate your time and your reply

        although it is a very busy time of the year.

        Have a good time and good luck.

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