Teaching tips from Breaking Bad

If the six seasons of Breaking Bad have taught us anything, is that Walter White is probably today’s most influential figure in TEFL: the guy put meth back on center stage. Granted, by ‘meth’ he meant crystal meth, not methodology, but we’re splitting hairs.

Back in the day, classes began and ended with the bell and the role of the teacher was crucial because, among other things, they were the main source of input. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that institutions used to hold in high regard teachers with proven mastery of the subject and native-like or near-native-like pronunciation or encourage TTT on the basis that it was exposure.

In recent years, though, with the development of ICT, we’ve all witnessed major changes in education paradigms, such as e-learning, b-learning, m-learning, basically pick-a-letter-learning. But two things remain the same. One, teaching in the 21st century is no different than teaching in any other century: we have to adapt to our circumstances. And two, the role of the teacher is still crucial. A different kind of crucial, but crucial nonetheless.

This is the era of the ‘teaching in pairs’. If you think about it, there are always two teachers in our classrooms at any given time. I always work together with my colleague, Mr. Google. Mr. G’s great. He’s friendly and easy-going, students love him, he’s never absent and it doesn’t matter how much I know about a topic, he knows more. Some have asked me, considering, how come I don’t feel threatened by his presence. No need, cause the thing is, he sucks at teaching. And my point is, being a teacher nowadays is more about methodology than ever before. When we have a doubt, we can always resort to Mr. Google and he delivers, plus he’s there for our students 24/7. (I can’t, I have a life, you know). He’s got the knowledge, I’ve got the know-how. Crafting engaging tasks, setting up speaking practice, developing a good classroom atmosphere, giving feedback, catering for the needs of the students, they all have my name written all over them.

That’s why our little symbiosis works wonders.

He completes me.