1. Not all teachers should be teachers
2. In an ESL classroom you have to be extra vigilant that they are ONLY speaking English
3. Teaching adults English is not easy, not in the least bit
4. Not actively engaging the students leads to them not listening to you
I am sure I could have learned this in any other classroom but I have been going to visit different ESL classrooms and levels with different teachers. Until this past Tuesday I had not yet found a teacher that I considered "good". She made plenty of English conversation with the students, encouraged them to talk to each other in English only, allowed them to work in groups, used plenty of everyday examples, used the board a lot and allowed the students to use the board as well. She encouraged peer correction too. Everything I just said helped keep her students completely engaged and not once did I hear any of them speak in their native languages.
I know everyone has their own learning style and that teachers are all different but having to sit in different classrooms for different levels for 2.5 hours at a time and see these teachers sit at their desks and read from books, barely engaging their students did not make me hopeful.
On a lighter note, one of my classmates from my certification class sent me an email to catch up. She has been teaching in Thailand for a few weeks now and is enjoying it. She says that while what we learned is useful it is difficult to employ with young children trying to learn a new language. Things are very different in Thailand and she is still learning to adjust. I am excited to keep in touch with her and learn more. Looks like I am going to have my work cut out for me!