Third term holiday is ideal for us teachers to rest after a long period of hectic work which involves teaching, mentoring and empowering young people with life skills.
However, as we prepare for the new academic year, we should evaluate ourselves in terms of how we have helped learners to attain higher grounds and the challenges that we have experienced. After identifying the challenges, we can be in a better position to research on better ways of imparting knowledge and skills in the minds of the learners next year.
Let us reflect on the teaching methods and materials that we have been using vis-à-vis the students’ performance in our subjects. If their performance has been on the lower end, part of the problem could be the methods and teaching aids that we have been using. We should address this problem by consulting our colleagues who teach in other schools. We need to share experiences and pick some ideas that we can apply next academic year.
We should reflect on the way we have been motivating the learners to study. Teaching and learning are supposed to go together but without adequate motivation of learners, we may end up just teaching when they do not grasp the concepts. We should adopt positive re-enforcement that develops the students’ sense of enthusiasm.
This is the right time for us to visit various websites on the internet to get more information about the subjects that we teach. As teachers, we should try as much as possible to be ahead of our students so that whenever they ask us questions about topics that we have not yet taught, we can answer with substance and confidence.
It is very embarrassing when the learners ask us questions when we cannot give the right answers. Some of them ask us questions to test our abilities. Gone are the days when teachers were considered as the only sources of knowledge. Nowadays, we teach some students who are more knowledgeable than we are because their generation is exposed to a lot of information. Once they realise that a certain teacher always fails to answer their questions, they lose confidence in him and some may even begin dodging classes. Therefore, we have to do research on the internet and in text books to deepen our understanding of subject content.
Let us also update our lesson notes so that we begin the year with updated notes that are a bit different from the ones we have been using. I have seen teachers who use the same notes for many years. Pages of the books that contain lesson notes reach an extent of turning yellow and that is why some critics call them yellow pages.
Honestly, students don’t like such notes and if they realise that the teacher does not update his notes, some of them request their colleagues in upper classes to allow them photocopy all the notes and whenever the teacher goes to their class, they just sit and look on. When the teacher grills them for not copying his notes, they confidently tell him that they have all his notes.
In such cases, the teacher is dumbfounded to realize that actually the students have all his notes even on the topics that he has not yet taught. As teachers, we are not supposed to be predictable to our learners. We need to keep varying the lesson notes every year so that what we give a given group this year is not exactly what we gave the group of the previous year.
This calls for research because through research we get more information to update our lesson notes.
Through reflection and research, we shall be able to begin the year with new approaches that will benefit the learners greatly.
The writer is a teacher at Riviera High School