Meeting the expectations of students

Meeting the expectations of students

Meeting the expectations of students

If you are a new teacher or begining a new academic year with a new set of students, they look expectantly to see who their new teachers are.  

Many teachers’ reputation precedes them in class.  And if an exhausted teacher who herself is starting the new term with tiredness and apprehension walks into the class, the students just write her off. Both sides have begun on a sour note.   Teaching is definitely stressful, and the beginning of a new session can be quite challenging.  But like we tell our students, if we prepare in advance and do not leave matters to the last minute, we can sail through smoothly, and enjoy the process of teaching and learning.
New beginning

Check your grooming. You need not be flamboyant or over-dressed, but you should not walk in wearing slippers held by a safety pin!

Put on the best make-up – a smile.  See that your smile sweeps the entire classroom, make eye contact in ‘W’ movement of your eyes over the students. Walk in with a firm and brisk gait. Avoid carrying too many papers.

Ensure you look confident and pleasant. Do not shuffle papers, keep looking down. Refuse to get provoked by any unwelcome behaviour.

Start memorizing the names of all the students in the class. As far as possible call out and talk to them by name. If you have a large class, make it a point to memorize ten names every week, and tell those ten to repeat their names to you. You can even have a game where you make a student volunteer to remember and call out all his class-mates names just by looking at their faces.

Make periodic positive comments, about the weather, about the children, about IPL matches – be spontaneous and cover wide issues, and never make derogatory remarks about anything the children may find interesting or attractive. Keep smiling.

Do not form negative opinion about any student based on what other teachers say, since each student behaves differently with specific teachers.  Also, don’t get upset about bad behavior at the beginning of the session, since that could be the way of the student to seek attention or show off.  Be tactful and you will be able to not only manage such students better, you will enjoy your classes.

While there is no fixed answer to how strict a teacher should be, she should ensure that she is consistent in discipline or punishment.  Reacting based on your mood at different times to different students gives them the feeling that you are “partial.”Be ready that the creativity and imagination of your students will manifest itself right at the beginning of the year by coming out with the most innovative “nick-name” for you.
 Take it sportingly (unless of course it is obviously offensive), enjoy it with them, and make them understand that you don’t hold any grudge.  If incidentally you feel that students don’t give a nick name particularly to you, then you are not only sadly mistaken, but also not in synch with the thinking pattern of your students – which will make your teaching less effective.

Encourage students to explore the topic and subject on their own.  Give a few minutes to whichever child wants to contribute to the discussion, and give positive strokes for the study done by the student.  Do not compare or point out the child grandly to others. Those who were not interested will learn from the appreciation and attention given to those who worked hard, and will get slowly inspired.
Plan relationships

Keep in mind that no student was given any choice in selection of teacher, and he or she is stuck with you for the entire academic year. Some unpleasant interactions right in the beginning can spoil your relationship, not only with the difficult student but also with all his friends, for the rest of the year. Don’t keep a grudge in your heart – talk it out and explain your unhappiness directly to the student (before you talk to his parents or to the Principal).  

Ensure that you talk about your unhappiness, instead of accusing him of HIS behaviour.  Most children and adolescents are quite moldable, if listened to (not talked to) patiently and then explained both logically and emotionally.

Never form opinion about any teacher till you have interacted sufficiently. Don’t get carried away by a few disgruntled classmates who will influence your independent thinking. 

If possible, talk individually with any teacher you want to know better, ask questions, and understand a basic fact that if you develop a positive attitude towards a teacher, it will help you learn better (even if the teacher is a little difficult).

Only one request or tip to parents: Never say anything derogatory about your child’s teachers, Principal, school etc, even if you are upset with them.  In fact, teach your child to accept and respect his teacher, as that will prepare him to face much worse and nasty bosses in later life.