Monday, March 22, 2010

Lighting The Fire In Students

A junior teacher once asked me... what should she focus on in school? She was finding the multitasking a bit wearing and she was losing focus. She found herself deep in typing worksheets, analyzing numbers, preparing powerpoints and she instinctively felt that she was going the wrong way.

She was lucky because she asked a senior teacher. I didn't ask... and I only figured out the answer for myself after about four years of teaching. To give you an idea of how busy I was, just picture a cat running around after its tail...LOL...

Anyway, this is what I told her :

A teacher's most important duty is to make the student hunger and thirst for knowledge badly enough that they will take charge of their own learning.

Not to finish the syllabus or textbook chapters
Not to prepare and grade test papers...
Not to sit in class and make sure everyone is doing something.
And most definitely NOT to condemn a child for his disinterest in his books.

I have a secret to share : when a colleague complains about students who are bored in class, the first thing that comes to my mind is... perhaps the class they are enduring is boring.

Sounds terrible of me, right? And YES I will be the first to admit that I HAVE been responsible for some pretty boring lessons.

However, I live for those moments when a student's eyes suddenly brightens and this look of awareness dawns on his features. Suddenly he begins to have an idea just what it is he is supposed to be doing in his classroom. Suddenly he begins to think of working towards something he wants...

So much better for the kids than simply trudging to class and going through the motions of doing work and reading books, don't you think?

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