The other day, I was on a forum discussing everyday challenges teachers face and there was this rookie teacher who shared her story about how she was dragged into something, rather unwittingly, by some of her students.
So here’s what happened: During her class, student ‘A’ told her how he disliked another teacher, for which she didn’t quite know what to say. She asked student ‘A’ what made him say so and that, backfired. Students ‘B’ and ‘C’ who had taken a liking to the other teacher in question ended up saying nasty things to Student ‘A’, which made his parents furious. They complained to the Head and the Head took the rookie teacher to task.
While many people on the forum thought that the Head was right in blaming her, I thought otherwise. They were of the opinion that she shouldn’t have acknowledged the student, while she defended herself by saying that she didn’t want to hurt her student’s feelings. Such a mess.
I don’t blame the rookie teacher though. We all make mistakes, don’t we?
And what makes it more so, is the fact that each teacher has different sort of an experience and there’s no possibility of one rule fitting all. When such is the case, only time can help teachers get better at being a teacher. Although there is no get-great-quick formula, there are some basic things that could help a newbie teacher take control of his/her classroom:
Avoid favoritism: We all know that there will always be that one student we can’t help but adore. But then, praising one student in front of all the others is not a very good idea. It could be deemed as favoritism.
Treat students the way you want your students to treat you: A great teacher is someone who is loved by a majority of students, if not all. To be able to be liked, it’s important to maintain a safe and equal distance from all students. If you don’t want them to treat you like a peer, then you’d be better off not behaving like one. It’s good if they like you, but it’s great if they respect you.
Remember, each student is different: While some are quick learners, there could be others who need a little extra help or that much-needed nudge. Some quiet encouragement can work wonders for such students.
Get student feedback: Hand out a questionnaire and ask your students for their feedback on your style of classroom management. Use that feedback to see if there is something you can do differently.
Be prepared: Preparation doesn’t just mean being ready with a lesson plan. You ought to be prepared for handling all kinds of challenges, expected or otherwise. Make mistakes, learn from your mistakes, and while you’re at it, keep your chin up.
Here’s wishing all newbie teachers, the very best. Enjoy your journey!
If you want to add your two cents, the comments section is all yours.