There are many practical points which should be considered as aids to the understanding between the teacher and the pupil without which there can be no real success in class activities.
- Adequate Preparation
A good teacher knows if she is well prepared, her class will have no time to let their minds wander. She knows that any awkward pause in class, while she thinks out what he is going to say or do next, always lead to disorder. Sometimes it is noisy disorder, at other times it is disorder of laziness, carelessness and restlessness.
- Keep the Pupils Busy
The teacher never preaches sermons to the class on the evil of in attention and carelessness. Instead, she quietly and friendly demands the proper carrying out of every task. If it is not done again and a slightly higher standard demanded.
If the pupil has done this two to three times, thus cutting down his free time, he begins to realize that it pays to do it properly the first time, knowing that his teacher is not to be fooled with, and eventually takes a pride in doing it as well as possible.
- No Empty Threat
A good teacher does not make threat unless he has thought them over make threats unless he has thought them over beforehand, and knows that they are just and that he intends to carry them out. On the whole, it is often better to suggest possible penalties without actually saying what they are for example; when a pupil is obviously out to discover how much of a nuisance he can be without being checked, it is often effective to give him a slip of paper and ask him to write his name, age and how long he has been at school etc.
No further information need be given until the teacher is about to end his lesson. Then he might say briefly that such misconduct has been notes and that anything of that nature in future will be death with.
This is most cases has for more effect than a direct threat which may not be carried out.
- Planned Lesson Transition
One of the ways by which a good teacher gains as much attention as possible is to arrange her timetable in a manner that pupils will change from one subject to the other, example Mathematics early in the day and subject like Music when the pupils are probably mentally and physically tired. He realizes that some of the pupils understand very quickly, others very slowly. He needs to divide the class into groups according to speed ad brightness, and gives extra work to the pupils who finish quickly as they will be a distraction to the class if left unoccupied. The teacher should also give extra attention to the slow ones.
- Accuracy and Speed
She is never a slave to her syllabus but modifies it to suit her class. It is no use for a teacher to finish her syllabus if her pupils are far behind. They need time to take it all in and fully understand it. He tries to present the same fact differently so that even the slow thinkers have a chance and no one is bored.
- Emotional Stability
Teacher are co-creators with God. God creates and they form immediately children enrol in a school, their biological parents transfer the training of their children to the school, the teacher automatically becomes the parent of the child assigned to him to teach her state of mind reflects how he relates with his pupils on daily basis. Personal anger should not be transferred to the pupils as he should mind what she says to his pupils.
A story was told of young Thomas Edison who came home one day with a note from his teacher to his mother. He was warned never to open the note, an instruction which he adhered to. Getting home he handed over the note to his mother who after reading the note was told by the mother that the note reads “Your son is a genius, this school is too small for him and doesn’t have enough good teachers for training him; please teach him yourself.” A task the mother carried out devotedly and delicately.
Many years later, after the mother had passed on, he became one of the world’s greatest inventors. One day he found a folded paper among other family items. It was the very paper he gave his mother years ago, on opening it, it read; “Your son is mentally ill, we won’t let him to school anymore.” At that time, Thomas realised what his mother had done for him so many years ago. He wrote in his diary, “Thomas Alva Edison was a mentally ill child that by a hero of a mother, became the genius of the Century.” Can you imagine what would have happened to Thomas if his mother had read to him the reckless and hurtful words of that teacher? He might have never invested the light bulb or made his other contributions to the society.
In the book of Proverbs 12: 18, we learn that “The words of the reckless pierce like sword but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
In conclusion, let us be mindful of the things we do or say to the pupils we teach, for they will always remember us, good or bad.
By Mrs. F. O. Opara (MCPS English Teacher)
First published in The Mustard Seed, A School Magazine of Maryland Convent Private School (MCPS), Ikeja, Lagos, commemorating their 50th Anniversay, 23 January 2017