Some Words for New Teachers

19Jun08

When I was in grade school, I spent some of my recess time teaching my classmates some Math wizardry. I would teach them patiently how to answer their assignments and how to understand the lessons better. I’d like to think I was successful.

Fast forward to August 2004, I was employed as a tutor at a tutorial center. And thus began my career as a teacher. I have only been a classroom teacher for one semester during my practicum. Most of my teaching career have involved one-on-one teaching or teaching small groups. I more of a tutor than a teacher. And lately, I’ve been more of a seminar and workshop lecturer than anything else.

Nonetheless I’d like to share some things I’ve learned as a teacher.

Teaching, my education teacher told me, is a vocation. And it is. It takes a lot of dedication and commitment to be an effective teacher but it does not pay well. However, the non-monetary rewards are more fulfilling. I miss it sometimes. Even the best university professors earn more from consultancy gigs and other side jobs. You have to love teaching to be able to enjoy it, because if you’re doing it for the money, well, find some other thing to do.

Expect to be frustrated. You might have the perfect plan to inspire, to impart knowledge, to bring out the best in your students. It doesn’t happen most of the time. Students are kids. Even most college students are immature. They will test your patience. Don’t think that just because you have everything planned out, things will turn out well. Even your colleagues and your superiors will disappoint you.

My Philosophy teacher told me that the best teachers focus on the average kids. The bright kids will always do well, and the errr… stupid (my Philo teacher used the word “bobo”) ones will always be that way. There is not much you can do for these two extremes. The average students, on the other hand, these are the people who can either become better or worse depending on how effective you are as a teacher.

Don’t set out to be strict or nice. Either way can work as long as you are able to impart the message well. Don’t make yourself a stereotype. Adjust with every situation. You may be nice on certain occasions but stern in others.

Do not be afraid to be human. Teachers can make mistakes. Don’t be afraid to be embarrassed or not know the answer to questions. I am more impressed with people who admit they don’t know something rather than those who pretend they know everything. Rather than being humiliated by a question the answer to which you don’t know, why don’t you make it an assignment or discuss it during the next class after you have researched about it.

Be prepared. Don’t go to your class without a (lesson) plan. Prepare lecture, activities, quizzes, and tests beforehand. Research well. It is best to look for the definition of words the students might not know. Prepare and bring all necessary tools such as visual aides, chalk, whiteboard pen, and eraser to class. It’s also best to know about the latest developments and theories on education, teaching, and even psychology.

Don’t forget the fundamentals. Not all teachers are education graduates. Nonetheless, all have been students. Thus, there is no excuse for any teacher to forget the basics of learning.

Make learning relevant. As much as possible, make your exercises practical and relate-able. Rather than giving them alien tasks, ask them to apply their lessons to things they are already interested in. Ask them to solve for the standard deviation of their favorite basketball player’s points scored per game.

Communicate. An effective educator is an effective communicator. Keep eye contact. Listen and observe. Do not just communicate in class. Have consultation time. Be approachable or approach a student if necessary.

Learn. Never ever forget to learn continuously constantly.

It’s going to be a wild rollercoaster ride of emotions. Prepare to be frustrated and angry. Prepare to answer the dumbest questions and read the most profound answers. It’s going to be a big adventure.

HAVE FUN!

Advertisements


7 Responses to “Some Words for New Teachers”

  1. 1 Poyt

    “My Philosophy teacher told me that the best teachers focus on the average kids. The bright kids will always do well, and the errr… stupid (my Philo teacher used the word “bobo”) ones will always be that way.”

    Ang sama! LOL! Sped teacher pa naman ako. HAHA. As for the preparedness thing, you can never be too prepared. Sometimes, you might even throw your plan out the window while in class. I feel this vocation thing that’s why I’m having a hiatus as an educator. It IS hard friggin’ work. :/ Good luck though!

  2. Excellent advice! I was teaching for 3 years and know exactly what you’re talking about. Although I’d have to say, be CONSISTENT as well. If you’re going to allow open book tests, be consistent throughout the term… if you’re going to allow people to walk out of the classroom at any time, be that way till the end. It helps when they know what to expect from you.

  3. Thank you so much for granting my request. Actually, I’ve decided not to continue with the teaching job for now because of monetary reasons and I think my former classmate needs the job more. Nevertheless, I would still love to try out teaching even just for one semester. I will be keeping this article of yours 🙂 Thanks again!

  4. 4 Fitz

    Teaching is so self-fulfilling. Even after several years, I still get thank you’s from former students of mine. This profession keeps you young and motivated. Thanks for sharing this article. 😀

  5. Thank you all for the kind comments! 😀

  6. when things don’t go according to plan it’s always best to consult with riajose! you know best cheers

  7. very inspiring 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: