Monday, June 26, 2017

3219. Are You a Great Teacher?

Uniqueness, I told you about it on last post: every student is unique, and that’s okay. Every teacher is unique too. Is that so?
And you, for certain, have much to give to your students, even now, if you’re in the summer break. Take care of you, teacher. And try and be honest, honorable and upright, because we teachers give our dear students whatever we are. We transmit what we are, ultimately. Even from our private lives.
Whatever we do, whatever we don’t, is transmitted to our dear students. And we cannot give what we don’t have. If we want our students to be honest, honorable and upright, we have to go overhead. Do you say “overhead”, because I mean we teachers have to lead our students’ way by going before them, and by setting nice examples. Maybe the right word is “ahead”.
Sometimes we teachers may be tired and hectic: let’s be careful because at those times we could give a snap and bad answer to one of our students, or to all the class of students, and we might regret it after that, after the storm.
We have to know ourselves, and learn how to have a small laugh at ourselves. Psychiatrists say it means you’re okay if you know how to laugh at yourself, in a nice and delicate way, not a harsh one, of course.
Now in the summer dedicate to God, to your family, to friends, to pleasantly thinking of your students, to reading, to have a beer maybe with other teachers or friends, maybe to swimming or any sport, to strolling, to traveling or trekking, to making yourself a nice and efficient teacher by reading any fine book about teachers or education… / Photo from: 13-things-your-pilot-wont-tell-you-airplane

Friday, June 23, 2017

3218. Every Single Student Is Unique!

Uniqueness. Every single student of ours is unique. They are not a mass I have to master. I have to think of each one, they may be many though.
People need to feel they are loved, whatever they are like, not because of what they have or because they’re good at learning English. We feel strong and supported when we know we are loved not conditionally, according to Jutta Burggraf (2007).
And this love is love of benevolence: we want and wish to do what’s good for them. I don’t confine my work to mere teaching, but also to being at my students’ disposal, if they want to talk with me.
I knew a female teacher whose female students turned to her between lessons, just to tell her something of their own. And in that way we teachers do what’s good for our students. We should dedicate some time to think of our students, to pray for them and their families, to think about their potentialities. We are not going to be paid for that but it is part of our work as teachers. I think that way.
And that benevolence love will be transmitted in the classroom: we will see not mere learners or students but people, persons with a name and a family name, and a biography.
And sooner or later our students will turn to us, to tell us their things, like that teacher I told you about. Better if male students turn to male teachers and the same with female students and female teachers: those students could tell us personal concerns and worries, and joys too! Your students will learn from you, not only English or math but from what you are, and that’s a great responsibility.
Furthermore you yourself should know you can turn to your colleagues for advice and help, as I told you yesterday on post #3217. Plus always consider that you can count on the Other, on God I mean. I can remember how my colleagues used to help me when I was starting my career. It was great! / Photo from: My English Language

Thursday, June 22, 2017

3217. Teachers Working Together like a Fist!

I usually write about what we teachers can do in the classroom, and that seems okay, right? But we should also consider we are not alone before our nice hard-though work.
We can count on other colleagues and companions. I do know there can be teachers who hinder and trip up other colleagues, but as well I know we can count on others for fulfilling our nice work. Also we often can count on the department head.
I could tell you about when I was starting my career as a teacher: I could count on the teacher head, the principal, one foreign language coordinator we had, some colleagues with more experience: had I listened to them more carefully, I would have improved much better.
Alike we always can count on the Other, on God himself. I could also tell you about this point, only if my experience were not so personal and interior. With our companions and with God we can reach farther. Remember we are not alone at school. We can count on our comrades. Hopefully!
We together can reach and go farther. I’d also tell you something if you’re the department head: take care of your workers and listen to them and guess what they might be suffering, above all at somebody’s starting career. I had a friend and colleague that told me: the first school year you suffer a lot, less the second year, and things may go fine in the third year. The thing took me longer than merely three years anyway.
And now if you’re a simple teacher and you’ve got a department head: don’t confine to silence if you think you have some idea(s) you think they could improve the school or the lessons: do not shut up and remember a teacher’s success often depends on a team work!
Oh, and remember to turn to your Father God, both if there’s a school chapel or not. Remember also that He has a never-ending love like all dads and moms together, and even more, limitless. He’s always close to you. / Photo from: NYC gov. The picture may show a tender and affectionate love a dad has to his baby, like God’s one to each of us.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

3216. Staying Easy before Exams!

A second or foreign language teacher can become mad as a hatter regarding getting communication in that language in the classroom, but let’s consider that we’re referring to communication among people, among persons.
We have to take care of that communication: we have to treat people in a nice way, in a human and humane way: our communication must have human nicety.
For that language teacher it is paramount to create communication in the classroom, but he should consider that he’s creating communication for real people.
For example beside drills and other exercises he should communicate in English – the target language – for the actual conducting and leading the lesson. In other words he should give announcements in that language. For his students to understand him he should explain with rather massive language, until he considers his students understood him well.
For example if I was to implement exams or tests next school year I should explain it clearly to my dear students. In case I had the purpose of introducing exams I should set clear that those tests would be for me to learn about their progress and not much else, and also for them my students to also learn how they’re advancing and progressing.
You may remember I have senior students, and all of them deserve very positive grades, because of their perseverance, their attending the lessons and all the effort they invest in a pleasant and free way. About those exams or tests I don’t know yet if I’m going to apply them or not. In any case it should be for their beneficial learning: they should stay easy because those tests will not infer they’ll have to do much more than they have been doing this far. Those exams will not be traumatic at all. / Photo from: hang-gliding-in-sikkim1 Trekking in Sikkin. The picture is a nice illustration.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

3215. Our Students as Able to Communicate Naturally

We second or foreign language teachers must help our students reach communicative competences. In that target language. We don’t confine our work to teaching language facts but we target our students’ communicative skills. We target our energies toward our students would get those abilities to communicate with other people.
So we do not just assess and test and evaluate our students’ concepts about that target language. Thus our exams and tests will be predominately practical, although we might also wish to assess their language knowledge.
If we assess our students’ communication skills we should plan and prepare tests that should have similar, very similar, activities as the ones we have carried out along lessons: our students shouldn’t find activities they have never done, as it happened to me at the beginning of my career as a teacher: I then expected the students could abstract their knowledge to carry out activities they had never done, because I thought they would be able to solve those exercises: I had recently finished my college degree and I was used to doing college exams, which exacted an demanded abstract operations.
I’m referring to the very first exam I carried out, close to twenty-five years ago. Even my best students failed at that test.
As I was saying at the beginning of this article we teachers have to help, show, teach, and train our students to gain the capability of talking with another person out of the school in English – if that’s the target language, as it is my case. Can our students communicate, orally or by writing, with a person out of the school, with any person out of the school? And that’s our target. And not other: we teach using and employing a language.
And we have to accomplish that goal by creating immersion in that target tongue, but this can be explained on another post, and I’ve written about it: you can click on the “immersion” label, on the right column of this blog. / Photo from: woman-talking-to-friends Mother's Circle. On the picture you can see people naturally communicating with one another.

Monday, June 19, 2017

3214. Our Kids Are Just Great We May Assume

Psychologist Leonard Sax states that it might be dangerous and hurting to treat young people or kids as if they were grown-ups, and I wrote something about this on post #3212.
You know, I think that in some way we could treat our young students as they are, in accordance with their age, okay, but a bit older than they really are. In that way we foster their freedom and responsibility. Even we could treat them a bit better that they really are – otherwise they will become even worse...
We can assign them small jobs in the classroom, of course.
My experience says that we can treat kids by counting on them and trusting them somewhat even quite a lot. We can also talk to and with them by recognizing they’re intelligent persons, persons with some discernment, some growing discernment.
They can’t direct the syllabus, the program and the rhythm of teaching but we can demand from them to get nice grades. We teachers must appeal their responsibility and we’ll gain quite much, I mean it.
So let’s treat them a bit more than their age, a bit older, not much older, of course. On this point I coincide with that psychologist – and I bet many of you too – we can’t treat them as grown-ups, for sure! Ultimately I think the same as Leonard Sax I guess. / Photo from: StanfordNews. The picture might show a dad talking with one of his children.