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Role of the teacherIn a classroom environment, a teacher?s job can change from minute to minute and from student to student. While one activity may demand lots of guidance from a teacher, a later activity may require them to take a back seat to proceedings, allowing the students to work alone. In the past, lessons were almost exclusively centred on teachers. The students were lectured at, expected to understand everything they were told and then given some work to get on with. Perhaps this is a little too sweeping a statement, the implication that all teachers from 20 years ago were bad is not meant. However, language teaching has evolved in recent times. Lessons are now very much focussed on students? individual needs: activities are more wired towards each student experimenting for themselves. It is inevitable then that the teacher?s role will also change to accommodate this new classroom atmosphere. Let?s start with perhaps the classical roles of the teacher. The manager of the class: wherein the teacher needs to control the students carefully and ensure that they remain on task. This can often mean that the teacher needs to become the disciplinarian. It is important that the students (especially children) see that there are boundaries which they may not cross. This should not be done at the detriment of the class atmosphere. As the manager of the classroom the teacher must find that balance between controlling the students and allowing them to flourish. In tandem with managing the lessons comes organisation. One of the many parts a teacher must play is in being able to join lessons together in an orderly fashion and also to be able to bring in resources which the students need, most importantly interesting activities to captivate the students. Onto the more modern part of a language teacher?s job: in order to get the very best out of students, they must be given a chance to get things wrong. They need to be encouraged to try something new rather than be ridiculed for making errors; it is important for the teacher to foster an atmosphere in which this is allowed. Doing so can take many forms, the simplest of which is just being approachable. For a student learning a new language just being able to talk to or even just listen to a fluent speaker can be of immense use. The teacher must therefore play the role of friend in a way. The students should feel comfortable enough to talk to the teacher about their problems, not limited to language issues in many classes. This friend role can help the student get the most out of any one-to-one time with the teacher and see them as more of a mentor in this time. In activities where the entire class is participating, such as discussions it is then the responsibility of the teacher to act as an initiator. That job being to start any discussion or debate and to then, ideally, sit back and observe. To listen to the students and to pick up on any issues they are having linguistically. Secondly in such a role, it is important for the teacher to keep the discussion interesting: this being the most important part of language lessons. To finish, I don?t think it is possible to pin down the role of a good teacher with one or two words other than to say they must be adaptable to the situation. The teacher must be capable of playing the roles of leader, friend and mentor (plus many others) at different times and to sometimes be many of these at once. The teacher?s job is to do the best for their students and their role at any given time should be suited to doing so.