- The teacher must be TOTALLY interested in the subject he is teaching. Interest generates interest. The teacher must be interested first of all before the student takes interest. Show enthusiasm for the material being taught.
- The attitude of the teacher must undergo a radical change. He should introspect his teaching methods. Does he come to the class listless, tired, talk like he is about to put them to sleep? This is a sure recipe for boredom.
- Most importantly the teacher should be completely prepared on the subject matter he is teaching. He should be so thorough that he does not need to peep into his notes or refer to books each now and then and continue. He should have the subject on his finger tips which enables him to look squarely in the eye of the student who shows disinterest. If the teacher is well prepared he will be relaxed and would be able to answer any difficult questions.
- If possible, invite other members of the staff or guest speakers to break the monotony. Different teachers covering the same subject matter will hold the interest of the student.
- Involve the students by asking them for ideas to make class room teaching more interesting. Anytime the student is involved he would show interest as this becomes personal.
- If the subject is difficult split it into small blocks and teach this. This makes concentration easier.
- Split students into groups and have group exercises. Peer pressure helps students to learn faster.
Eventually it is the teacher who has the power to convert a bored student into a student who keenly learns the subject being taught.
Every teacher has, from time to time to deal with angry or dissatisfied parent/s concerning their children in school. The parent will never believe that his/her son/daughter would be lying when they complain about their teacher. They invariably believe that the fault lies with the teacher. There is another variety. The parent staunchly believes that his child is very talented and if, in the course of selection for a particular event, if the child is not selected then they confront the teacher in the hope that restitution could be made. The child takes advantage of the fact that his parents will believe in him completely. He uses this blind faith his parents have to his advantage and seek revenge on the teacher.
The teacher has to deal with such difficult and meddling parents at some time. Here are some tips to handle such uncomfortable situation.
- Listen to the parent with full attention and never interrupt. Listen and listen more and have a pleasant face. Let the parent have his/her say completely and after he/she has exhausted his/her argument only then try to answer in a slow and measured tone.
- Look at the parent squarely in the eye as this indicates that as a teacher you will NOT be intimidated by any pressure tactics and there is nothing they can do to change your mind.
- Calmly, but firmly explain the reasons and give explanations which led you to take the action you took and the decisions you made which was without any malice or prejudice.
- Remember, every parent has a right to complaint but it is not necessary for the teacher to be compliant!
- At times it might be a good idea to put yourself as a teacher in the shoes of the parent to understand the problem. A new perspective may emerge. But never buckle if you are right.
- If the parent is angry and continues to be vituperative, give the parents some space to calm down. Leave them alone for some time by giving some excuse to go out. This may help them calm down a bit.
- Enlist the co-operation of the parent to arrive at a solution if that is possible at all. This will give them a sense of accomplishment.
- If after all your efforts the parent continues to tirade, the only solution is to be silent. Just look at the parent keenly, turn around and walk away. The problem can be tackled by some other means later on..
There is, though, a third category although rare. Some students who live in dormitories or alone elsewhere would rather prefer to stay back and study by themselves rather than attend class. This could be due to the quality of teaching of that particular subject which only reflects upon the teacher. Well, this is something that needs action of a completely different kind. Whatever the cause it is NOT a good idea for any student to “bunk” classes however boring they might be because there is something almost mystical in absorbing knowledge from a teacher. The student should realize that that there is something at least he will learn from attending class however averse he might be in doing so.
As far as the teacher is concerned, he should take this student who absents himself regularly a little more seriously. He should show personal interest in him, even going to the extent of offering his help outside class hours, in special class exclusively for him/her. The key word is ‘motivation’ and if the student gets adequate motivation the Newton’s first law of motion is set into motion...i.e once the external motivation is imparted the student will take it from there and continue to attend classes and not be a laggard.
Students will attend class if:
- The teacher explains that the subject matter fits into a much larger picture which is more understandable and acceptable.
- The structure of the subject matter is explained logically and easy to follow
- The explanations are clear and the subject matter is made easy to understand.
- The students are encouraged to ask questions and these are answered unequivocally without any confusion to the satisfaction of the student.
- Examples are given wherever needed and to which the student can relate to.
- The objective of the subject and the class are laid down so that the student knows what it is all about.
- Finally the teacher should show his respect to this students without which the student are most likely to treat him with contempt.
- The lecturer must be enthusiastic in his teaching methods and must have excellent knowledge on the subject and not hem and haw while teaching.
A teacher should have above all, honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, a sense of fair play, and humility. If one is endowed with these attributes then this teacher will realize that he has indeed erred and being pointed out by a student should doubly encourage him to be careful, to teach better and accept the mistake and correct it immediately. He should also thank the student for his alacrity and intelligence in pointing out the mistake and say further that if anyone else finds mistakes in his teaching they are encouraged to point it out as we are all interested in developing knowledge and knowledge is truth. The teacher becomes a better person and the student will admire him for his honesty and understanding. He thus earns the respect even more. If on the other hand the teacher denounces the student and raves and rants he will not achieve anything. On the other hand he buys derision which may last forever.
It is also essential for a teacher to accept the fact that he does not know the answer to some questions, rather than, with bravado, try to answer the question in a devious manner, confusing the student further. One of the main arsenals in the teacher’s armoury is the divine and humble statement: I DO NOT KNOW. Having said this, the teacher should immediately say that although he does not know the answer, he shall ensure that he learns the answer and get back to the student in the next class. This gives the students confidence in the teacher and their trust in him doubles.
Knowledge in most cases is a two way street. It is more than likely that some exceptional students have the propensity to understand the subject quicker and thus are able to discover mistakes, if any, and room should be given for such students to express this in the interest of education. A teacher is always a student. Remember this.
It stands to reason therefore that we, as eternal students, have an obligation towards such teachers and remember them with gratitude. In India we celebrate 5th September as Teacher’s day as this is the birthday of our second President Dr.Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, a great scholar, educationist and above all an inspiring teacher. UNESCO has declared 5th October as World Teacher’s Day.
Surely we can devote one day in a year in celebrating our teachers! It is a day we set aside to express our most sincere gratitude to our teachers and remembering them should they have left the world after finishing their tour of duty.
If these teachers are still around then wouldn’t it be a good idea to show your appreciation by sending them a heartfelt card expressing gratitude. It would be wonderful also if you could invite them to a lunch and dinner and express your gratitude by giving them an appropriate present later on. May be you can give them a gift certificate which will remind them of you as one of their students.
Remember: What you are today is a direct result of the efforts put in by your teachers and if you are successful then these teachers should also share some of the pride and credit.
Finally it is worthwhile to quote John F. Kennedy who said: The fact remains that we can never thank a teacher enough. The recognition and appreciation the teachers deserve is beyond meagre words. As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
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