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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: November 2012

10 - Frustrations and rewards

Summary

The previous chapter focused on how language classes function as learning communities, with all class members privy to shared understandings about how their particular class typically functions – understandings that cannot be accessed by outsiders who observe classes on a one-off basis. The chapter showed how each language class is a unique social environment with an individual culture that, by definition, can never be repeated. It then illustrated the kinds of steps that language teachers typically take, and the kinds of classroom interactions that subsequently occur, which help to foster and maintain a spirit of friendly intimacy within each class. The chapter concluded by showing the kind of ritualised behaviour that often occurs as language classes draw to a close and the students within them prepare to go their separate ways.

The present chapter has a wider focus, showing how teachers' feelings about language teaching are related to the broader educational contexts within which they work. The chapter demonstrates that, even though language teachers teach in individualistic ways, their feelings about the experience of language teaching are surprisingly similar. Section 10.1 describes the kinds of situations in which language teachers in Englishspeaking countries typically find themselves working. Section 10.2 identifies those aspects of language teaching that language teachers find most frustrating, showing that the causes of their negative feelings most commonly stem from constraints on their teaching resulting from financially driven management decisions.