Thoughts Lead To Appreciation
My students are worth much more than their academic achievements.
Academic achievements obviously earn students scholarships, school awards and entrance into the best colleges and universities.
However, self-esteem and self-worth make the students who they are, create a self-identity for the students, and enable students to excel in both professional and social life.
With self-esteem, students confidently pursue their dreams, engage in self-advocacy and understand their needs much better.
Students who value themselves have an increased propensity to value others, to be proactive in their own life and to be adept at problem solving.
Students with a high self-esteem are disciplined, self-regulated, and less prone to peer pressure. The pressure to conform and be accepted in school social circles is the bane of students with low self-esteem, even if their academic achievements are excellent.
Students with a low self-esteem are more likely to perceive their environment as threatening, less likely to seek help to overcome this perception and more likely to suddenly explode into violence.
Recent school shootings in the United States, notably the Newtown school shootings, are valid examples of this.
As a firm believer in just rules and regulations, I believe that rules must be obeyed to the best of one’s ability.
I believe that some of the best rules students obey are the ones they make for themselves. I believe in assisting my students through creative and interactive learning to formulate their own principles.
Some of the principles I have enabled in my students include:
a) Truthfulness – My students understand that truth pays.
Irrespective of what my student has done, I insist on being informed of the truth. Once the student concerned is honest, I overlook the error committed.
Lies are cheap and self-defeating; the truth liberates and calms.
b) My Work Is Mine – From the very first day of meeting with my students, I ensure they understand that homeworks and assignments are not meant for their parents, elder siblings, another student or any other individual.
With the exception of reading assignments, as students may forget the pronunciation of words, students must do own class exercises and homework.
Any other form of assistance must be unrelated directly to the assignment. For instance, for a mathematics assignment, my students understand that they are to seek a worked example, but not assistance in solving the given exercise.
For class exercises, my students learn that they assist students with learning disabilities by explaining the steps in the exercise and not by allowing the latter students to copy their worked exercises.
Should I notice that a student received help with class work or homework, again the student must tell the truth. The act is pardoned on condition that the student is able to solve another similar exercise in class.
c) No Distraction – Students learn the fewer distractive gadgets they have in their possession the more they concentrate on their work.
No phone must ring. No chewing of gums. No discussions with other students, unless during open interactions or to seek an explanation.
d) Ample Love – My students learn to love good behaviour and politeness. Disputes are settled with collective effort.
Standardized tests are often rebuffed as improper, however they offer a competitive exposure to students outside of their usual school (or state) environment.
Healthy competition should be encouraged in students.
As much of my work as an educator have been with low-income city students, I present these factors as crucial to success as a teacher:
a) Concern For My Students – I ensure each of my students understands that she/ he is important to me and to the community.
b) Participation Of All Students – Every student is asked questions in class depending on their learning ability.
Each student is encouraged to comment and ask questions. This is a unique feature of my class as many teachers do not allow students to ask questions in class.
c) Freedom Of Expression – I encourage my students to discuss what they may have difficulties discussing at home. I want to know what is going on in the head of my students.
d) A Relaxed Environment – Regardless of the situation in students’ home, they should feel comfortable in my class to express themselves.
e) Problem Detection – Often even assertive students are silent when they do not understand a topic. After asking the class in general whether they understood the topic, if I receive silence as a response, I proceed to ask a named student. The response, then, is a resounding “NO”, with much relief from students.
Teacher effectiveness is achieved after each lesson when the average students – outside of the best and poor performing students – in that class comprehended the lesson, while the entire class participated freely without prejudice against any student.