In today’s dynamic era that has been made even more fast-paced with the advent of technology, the education industry has somehow been slow to catch up. Resultantly, pupils of today are learning more through the internet than in an actual classroom. The age-old system of schooling has failed, with researchers now focusing on making the classroom more interesting. And if there is anything that researchers are worried more about than the actual curriculum, it is dealing with students.
Teachers in Pakistan are also struggling with similar issues. One of the several factors that make the class environment interesting is the way teachers handle students. Pupils of today are easily distracted, get bored or are just simply not interested in lessons. To add fuel to the fire, many students are under pressure from parents to study a certain type of course, which further disconnects them from the education they are receiving. This disconnect from the lectures and classroom is reflected in the students’ behaviour that is often rowdy, and disrespectful towards teachers.
Each class has a number of students with varying personalities. Some just like the teacher for no reason, while others would hate him or her without a reason and miss no opportunity to put the teacher down. The situation becomes even more cumbersome and difficult to handle if you are young – and a female to top it all.
But despite all the hardships, the show must go on and a teacher is expected to deal with the class and its inhabitants one way or the other. In fact, the way you handle a groups of students tells a lot about your own methodology. Many conventional teachers tend to engage students via old tactics like deducting marks, marking students absent or simply telling them to leave the class. However, these methodologies do not work much these days.
I have been teaching for around three years now and I firmly believe that every class works on a particular frequency. As long as you understand the wavelength your pupils operate at, you will not get desired results.
But with practice, I have discovered a few tactics that have almost made every class of mine work. Teachers’ primary objective, and roadblock, is to gain the students’ attention. For without it, the process of transfer of knowledge simply cannot begin.
Here I am sharing a few tips that I think will be quite useful for teachers the next time they head to their class. Please note that these are based on personal experiences. You may and you can differ.
- If you are a beginner, I mean new at teaching, remember that you will be mocked. No matter what you do. You have to learn to let go and work around it.
- Always be prepared with the teaching content. Always. But if you are not, do not worry. Try to talk to students about things in life in general. Their likes and dislikes, their wishes and aspirations. Every one of them will respond, I am certain. That is ice-breaking rule number one.
- Show your power. Do not scare them if you want to succeed as a modern-day teacher – but joke around about what you can do and what you cannot. Well, to be frank avoid sharing what you cannot. It gives them ideas.
- Tell them you can receive that important phone call as many times as you like, but outside of the class.
- Tell your students that they can sleep in class and still not be marked absent.
- Make it clear to students that they can talk all they want, as long as they do not bother the teacher and their classmates, of course. Also if a student does not wish to be taught, he or she will not be forced.
- Never insult any student for anything he/she said, individually. This tends to get students cornered and singled out, leading to negativity. Rather direct your correction in a generalized manner, even if you know exactly who has been at fault.
- Be a good observer. There are always only a few rowdy individuals that cause disturbances. Befriend them. Be kinder to them and give them importance. Ask them questions, but not necessarily about the curriculum. Remember, they will always appreciate your concern eventually and may even be inclined to behave better.
- Spot students with different interests and then talk to them about it. This would give the teacher a more humane outlook and provide a greater opportunity to connect with students.
- Be nice whenever you meet your students outside of school. Do not complain to their parents or family members. Always appreciate them and be kind with your words. That ought to do some instant magic for you and earn you great respect from the pupil.
- Be reachable and approachable to students. Stop creating borders of time and space for students. This is a sure-fire way of wining students’ confidence and letting them know that you are always there.
- Lastly, do not take jibes from students personal and do not get emotional. If you get angry, try not to express that anger. That is hard, but probably the best response to a student’s naïve misbehaviour.
The views and opinions expressed in the article are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views and policy of The Academia Magazine.