Friday, 26 October 2012

Lessons from my students...

Scene One: Teaching impacts lives...

I recall one female student in particular back in the 90's...when I was a teacher in SM Sains Johor, Kluang but I can't remember her name. We stumbled upon each other in an international conference- I think it was MICELT. Although it was a brief meeting, her words were to my mind the most indelible. To this day, I can't forget her words. She thanked me because she was successful in her teaching application. Her exact words were "Cikgu terima kasih. Saya berjaya dalam interview saya kerana cikgu." (Thanks to you, I was succesful in my interview for a teaching application.) This puzzled me greatly because I had never taught her before and how can I take credit for such a thing. I remember seeing her in school but the truth is I had never taught her before. She then related enthusiastically how during the interview, one of the interviewers asked if I had taught her before and what she thought about me. Strange but perhaps I had worked with the officer before. Things started to become clearer after her explanation but just before we parted our ways, I had to somehow tell her that it was not me but God had meant it for her to be a teacher. Wherever she is, I hope she will impact her students' lives in one way or another, the same way she thought I had impacted hers.

Lesson learnt 

Teaching impacts lives. Someday, somewhere you never know when you may help a student or two however remotely. The best part about the whole thing is for someone you'd never taught to thank you for the little you have done. Now, that's your reward in teaching!

Scene Two: Everyone is teachable...

Teaching this class was an eye opener for me two years ago. Don't worry too much about being techy or having copious handouts. The main thing was how to get the students' attention. Be a clown, a reporter, an actress, a mum, a doctor, a singer, a dancer...anything you want as long as you can grab their attention. One day I decided to be a singer. Even better..I decided to be Celine Dion! Instead of playing the CD, I sang from the beginning to the end. Interesting did you ask? Well, I didn't have Celine Dion's voice or anything close to it but I think my pitching was ok and hey the students completed the tasksheet in no time! Word of caution though- be prepared to repeat as they wouldn't have got it the first time. Rehearse before you come to class so your voice box will last! Were they all praise for my singing? Definitely! But of course, play the real song afterwards so they will appreciate the real singer (and do justice to her), the song  and can sing along :)

Lesson learnt

Do anything and everything you (possibly) can because attention is a problem with poor learners.Not only is discipline 80% of problem in teaching these days but grabbing students' attention too is a real challenge. Don't ever give up on your students!

Teaching is one the greatest learning experiences.

The Thinking Teacher



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