One of the things I find slightly annoying in my Bachelor of Education program ( annoying may be an overstatement, quirky is probably a better description) is that some of my retired-teachers-turned-professors speak to us using their “teacher voice”, like they are speaking to children or teenagers. It even seems to me that sometimes they are conscious of it and occasionally catch themselves.
Despite just starting my career I already find myself in a similar situation. I had taught ESL (*) overseas for a few years before enrolling in this program. While teaching ESL, I had been extremely conscious of both my verbal and body language, and some of this has carried over to now. While giving class presentations, I sometimes find myself exaggerating my body language, especially my hand motions, and I have to reign myself in. On top of that, this week I visited my five and three-year old nephews and I taught them how to play some card games. Funny enough, at certain moments I found myself talking to them like they were young ESL learners. Hard habits to break, even when I’m conscious I’m doing it.
I wonder now, when I get in the math classroom in January, will I need to constantly remind myself that the students are capable of complex vocabulary and subtle innuendo, and not over-think it? Or perhaps, in the long run, being a little neurotic how I choose my language might serve me well?
(*) Technically, EFL (English as a Foreign Language). I kind of feel that term is too technocratic though and just use ESL.