Teaching is a delicate yet noble responsibility that requires utmost dedication and art. Yet even the most artistic and dedicated teachers fault while dealing with the reality of a classroom. In fact, we make innumerable mistakes daily, some of which are “unforgivable” but can be avoided.
Most of these mistakes, however minor, can have a significant effect on the students we are charged to teach. One of such mistakes is allowing our personal problems to impact our classrooms. Your students need you to be 100 per cent. They need us to provide stability, normalcy, and a natural calm in the classroom. The hours between 8am-3pm should be a safe haven free from the issues that await us outside of school hours. If personal problems are interfering with your ability to teach, you should take a few days off to deal with the situation. Otherwise terror and tension in the classroom are anything but conducive.
It is common knowledge that tittle-tattle destroys relationships between teachers, students, and parents. School gossip can be defined as discussing or sharing information about an individual that may embarrass that individual and/or does not have a direct bearing on the education of a student. It does not have any place at school, yet walk into virtually any teacher’s lounge, and you are likely to hear teachers talking about another teacher, a student, or a parent in this manner. Gossip can quickly cause a rift amongst faculty and staff members often interfering with the overall school atmosphere and student learning.
Another thing to note is that principals and students quickly lose respect for teachers who send students to the office for every little thing. Classroom management is a crucial part of a teacher’s job. When a teacher sends multiple students every day to the office, it says that they are inadequate at handling that part of the job. It tells the principal that the teacher is dealing with discipline issues more than they are teaching. It tells the students that the teacher does not demand the respect needed to have control over the classroom.
An additional mistake teachers sometimes make is rigidity. Teaching is continuously evolving and changing. There is always something bigger and better than what we did previously. They must then be willing to embrace change. They must stay up-to-date with the latest educational trends, make adjustments to their philosophy, and improve all areas including the ones in which they already do well. They must recognize that every day, every year, every student, and every class are different. Good teachers must embrace change, or they will be left behind.
Delayed feedback to students is another common mistake teachers make. While grading papers is monotonous and time consuming, it is an essential duty of being a teacher. It validates a student’s work providing them with valuable feedback which can spur growth. Teachers who get behind find it nearly impossible to catch up. A good rule of thumb is that papers should be graded and recorded within 2-3 days of an assignment’s due date.
Finally, too many teachers believe that yelling or berating their students is an effective form of student discipline. In reality, it is a quick fix that demonstrates ignorance. There is a difference between occasionally raising your voice and continuous yelling. So maintain your calm and treat students with respect if any learning is to occur in your class.
The writer is a Language Consultant