Every year we graduade groups of kids and they just fly away to the real world. Some of them manage to enter the best universities in the country, some of them are luckier with some financial support from their parents, some of them have no support at all, other than the teachers and friends. Sometimes we complain that they don’t study enough or they don’t give importance to their lessons or we think they are not aware what is waiting for them. And when the time comes and they stand there to recieve their diplomas with their bright eyes, hopes, fears and dilemmas, I believe in them. I know they will fight for their rights, they will stood proudly on their feet as individuals and I know they will at least try to survive to be able to successful in this highly competitive world.
The world is more difficult than the world we grew up but I know, I believe they will do their best.
Every year when they go I have very different feelings. I feel proud and sad and happy but I also think…
Why do the students come to school?
Is it because they want to?
Is it because they think that it is really necessary?
Is it because socializing?
Will they choose to come if they don’t have to come?
We all know that we, the teachers and the students are like chalk and cheese. The case with the parents is also the same.
We all know that the students come to school because they have to come to school until they are 18. The motivated and intelligent ones continue their higher education and try to have a more secure life with more options for a better life once they find a job with great promotion opportunities. These will be successful, whether we, the teachers, help them or not. May be in the hand of a more creative and helpful teacher they will reach the point that they will reach a bit quicker but I believe with us or without us they will go there.
Our main concern should be the others: the ones who have problems at home, the ones who are a bit slow to learn, the ones who need to be supported or motivated, the ones who need to see the need for a better education, who need to be guided to see the light at the end of the passage.
So what can we do for them?
- Give them a purpose for learning.
- Make learning enjoyable, memorable, desirable
- Give each of your students a chance to contribute.
- Give them responsibilities for their own learning
- Tell them you care for them
- Be approachable
- Smile and be kind towards them
- Be fair
- Make them feel they are important
- Bring the real life to the classroom
I would like to hear what else we can do for them?
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I just got home after deliverying my graduation speech to new teachers. Got several comments afterwards about the part where I insisted like you – that we are there to help those who need help, the lower level students, the ones struggling. It is those we help that we should count and measure our teaching by – not the number we send to elite universities etc…
I still think the most important things we can do as a teacher are implicit. It is how and how we act as a human being that affects young students. Reading and enjoying a book, sharing your own interests, being passionate about issues and life…. learning is sometimes indirect and by osmosis. The students pick all that up.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts – I’m still though, despite my dedication to public education, wishing somehow that we’d open up schools and make them non mandatory. Or pay students to learn. Make learning important by giving it a value. Now that would be doing something for them..