In last week’s article, we proudly announced that our teacher Jeremy Glass was awarded with the Inspiring Teacher Award at the 8th ELT MALTA Conference.
As Jeremy said in his interview, the prize also belongs to the entire Maltalingua teaching team under the direction of Michael Porritt. Michael, our Director of Studies, has a great knowledge about teaching, the philosophy at Maltalingua and his colleagues. Therefore, we wanted to ask him what a good teacher needs to have, how he motivates his team and why he thinks Jeremy was honoured with the award.
“Hello Michael, thank you very much for your time! First, we would like to know why you think that Jeremy deserved this award so much?”
“Jeremy has been teaching for a very long time and if you teach for such a long time you inevitably benefit from more experience and you become a better teacher. However, the thing that really stands out about Jeremy is that after all these years he still has such passion and enthusiasm about teaching and helping every student achieve their goals. The award is for being inspirational and he is an inspiration to his colleagues and to myself every day.”
“Seems like it’s a big honour to work with Jeremy! How do you motivate him and the other team members to give their best every day?
“Motivating the teachers is very easy because they are motivated by the learners in their groups. They always want to give their best to the students and so that is why they plan so diligently, teach with such enthusiasm and look to develop themselves – all to help their students more.”
“It must be quite difficult to get such a good team together. What traits should a good teacher have and what are typical mistakes that newly-qualified teachers make?”
“Patience! When learning another language, it takes time to process what you have heard, and to formulate what you want to say – and so the teachers must give learners time for these things. You also have to be able to put yourself in the students’ shoes and see things from their point of view. The most common area for development for newly-qualified teachers is the amount of teacher-talking-time (or TTT). Teachers who talk a lot are like football coaches who are trying to explain to children using words how to kick the ball rather than letting them kick it.”
“Talking about time: there are a lot of teachers who have been working here for several years now. What makes Maltalingua so attractive for teachers?”
“The good thing for teachers working here is being fully supported by the rest of the academic team and admin staff. We have regular training sessions, but it is not always me giving them but different teachers that have contributed to the development of the whole team. Of course, they also learn from working together, and with teachers like Jeremy, each and every day.”
“I guess that’s exactly how it should be. What makes Maltalingua unique for both: teachers and students?”
“I think because of the size, Maltalingua is such an intimate school. I as the Director of Studies know many of the students by name and the teachers even more so. That means they take a real interest in their learners and their individual goals. Students aren’t just numbers to us. It’s like a family in many ways.”
“Thank you very much for giving us an insight into your philosophy of teaching and who knows? Next year I hope another member of your team gets selected!”