This June marked my 18-year anniversary as an English teacher.I pride myself on having learnt quite a lot on what makes students tick-and what doesn't.It's fairly easy to make students like you,as long as you are willing to take the time to do so.Otherwise,my fellow-teacher, below I list some rules on how you can make your students totally hate you if you are hellbent on it.
Here we go.
1.Forget your students' names.In fact,don't ask them for their names at all.Use your student list to call them if necessary.Who needs to take the trouble to learn names?Too much fuss over nothing, you think.
2.On the same note,avoid personal contact with them at all costs.You wouldn't want to become personally engaged in their interests,their hobbies or their lives for that matter.Make sure to be as detached as possible from your students.You don't get paid to show them your interest,you get paid to do your lesson and leave.No connection,no emotional mess.Who needs that after all?
3.Never come prepared for your classes.Do not go over the finer details of each day's lesson and for God's sake do not correct their homework on time.After all, you have a life.Why on Earth would you bother over a stack of essays or dictations?They can wait.And surely you can improvise should you not remember something you are meant to teach them.Or maybe give them an impromptu test.That should keep them busy.
4. During your lesson, speak in your most monotonous, bored out-of-your-mind voice.You are there, in class doing your duty,right?Why make it any more interesting or engaging for your students?They don't like you anyway,so give them some more reasons to continue doing so.
5. Never allow them to participate actively during your sessions-make sure the sound of your own precious voice is heard.And above al, make sure they don't take initiative or make an effort to become a more integral part of the lesson.Ignore their requests and continue talking and doing your thing.You've always wanted an audience that would just listen to you.Now you have it.Even if it's against their will.Even if they'll hate you for it.
6.You've got that shy student just sitting there,never raising a hand or participating in your lessons.Don't bother trying to make any effort to engage him/her in your lessons.Keep them quiet.Less effort for you.You can deal with those students who actually want to learn from you or are top of the class.Why bother to empower one more?Too much trouble.Similarly,avoid the cumbersome task of helping out your weaker or more indifferent students like the devil.Whoever said that they ought to be helped to step up their game and become all they can be?Nonsense.You don't have time for that.
7. Never teach your students anything outside the set and approved curriculum.Their interests?You couldn't care less.After all,their interests are not more important than your job.Why on earth get involved in teaching them about the matters troubling the earth or the people?Nothing is going to change if you do.They can figure it out for themselves.Besides, you are not getting paid to do that.
8.Never use that tool of pair and/or groupwork the other teachers keep talking about.They can just as well work by themselves and for themselves.Who cares if they could learn something from their classmates or worse,feel confident about themselves?Nah,too much noise and trouble.Let things be as they are.
9. Likewise, never assign any projects/presentations or book reading assignments or do oral
work like debates in the classroom.Too much diversity.It would be a burden for you to prepare all that and it deviates from the curriculum.Innovation and teacher initiative are overrated.
10.Speak to your students in as demeaning way as possible.Humiliate them in front of their classmates for their failures and whatever you do,never,ever acknowledge ,praise or celebrate their successes inside or outside the classroom.Your job description said nothing about politeness.You are there to teach your subject.Keep yourself professional and standoffish.
If you think the above examples were outrageous then you are not a teacher or you are still new to the occupation.In the past 18 years I have seen examples of all 10 types.I am sad to say that some of my colleagues were very much unapologetic about it.As I grew as a teacher I've come to develop my own theories of what makes a teacher likeable by his students -and which of course come in direct contrast with everything I've described above.
A teacher is always,always prepared for class.No matter how seaoned we are there is always some studying involved or there is always something to add to the lesson to spice it up a bit.
We never forget our students' names.It is true that for all people,even our students the sound that is dearest to us is the sound of our own name.So, why not make the effort to connect with them doing this little,very simple thing-remember their name?
Connect,connect, connect.I can't stress it enough.YOur students need your attention.They need to feel you are someone they can trust on all levels,someone who will listen to them and yes, even accept them and love them just as they are.That goes especially for the less confident, shier students or the less"good" students who need your unconditional trust and constant encouragement to take that leap of faith.
Whatever subject you are teaching,always make the time to bring some diversity to your sessions by teaching them something different.There is no lack of matters that are as appealing as they are necessary for them to know and be encouraged to think about.Environmental issues,humanitarian issues,poverty etc.YOu would be surprised how excited that will make them.New minds, new views.Who knows what YOU can learn from them.Organise that presentation/discussion.Encourage them to read that book, watch that video and assign that project.They will jump at the opportunity to show off their knowledge and express their opinions.And they will love you for giving them the chance to do that.
Finally, our students are worthy of our respect and nothing less.Our own respect towards them will ignite their respect towards us.We get what we give.So,I don't care if you have financial issues,if you had a fight with your spouse the night before......your duty is to your students once you enter that classroom.Set the example.Leave your troubles outside the classroom.Be your best version in that room and you will see it reflected in your students.Make the effort.Take the trouble.Change your students and change the world.
That was a typical Lia rant.I know it was a long post but it is a matter that is close to my heart and I feel passionate about it,We teachers hold the future quite literally in our hands.Let's make it a good one,for all our sakes.
As always,with love and light,