31 July 2007

Am I a good teacher?

What makes a good teacher?

My own take is that he must be passionate about his job. He must also have a good grasp of the content knowledge. What differentiates a good teacher from a great teacher, is that a great teacher is able to bring the class to a higher level, to enthuse them and to put into them a desire to learn more.

I don't think I am a good teacher. I tend to be dictated by the class' moods rather leading them to meet the lesson's objective. I am not able to change the climate of the class around. When they do not pay attention and are doing their own things, I find it very challenging to catch their attention. Perhaps it is the lack of support systems in the school that hampens my ability manage the class to the desired discipline levels.

What should I do then? Can I improve and how?

On reflection, a huge part of it is internal. My content knowledge is adequate, as my Section Head and mentor attest. I am lacking in self-confidence when it comes to confronting and disciplining the students. I chose often to back down when I should perhaps have scolded them.

Why do I fear? Embarrassment. Loss of face. Uncertainties. No support. My real fear is that when there is a serious confrontation with the student(s) and it is not properly resolved, i.e. he gets away with it, then I do not know how to face the class for the rest of the semester. Sigh, so far my training does not train me for these situations. I do not know whether this is a real fear or an imaginary fear - but it is powerful.

Student discipline is but one arena of a teacher's work. Today at the canteen, my colleague mentioned about helping to guide his student by putting into him the need to think about long term benefits rather than short term quick gains. He has this real desire to help the students beyond the confines of the classroom. This is also another area that I am weak in. For me now, I seldom go the extra mile for the students. Maybe, I'm too frustrated by the bad ones. Perhaps there is a need to grow in Christ-like love for the students.

Am I a good teacher? Or one that is in it for the money to pay the bills? Deep inside I strive to be a good teacher and to learn by God's grace to overcome the growth challenges. Lord, help me as it is not an easy road that I am walking. Give me opportunities to learn from my better colleagues. Grant me the courage to move out of my comfort zone and risk saying the needed corrective words.

Wisdom, courage and love.

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