Teachers are the backbone of our education system. Students look up to their teachers for many reasons. But, the way teachers ‘look’ at their students goes a long way in determining if we will be able to create great citizens for the Nation and the world. How can teachers tune their behavior to the needs of average students? There is no doubt that there are excellent qualities in teachers; however, there are certain things that do become a barrier in the learning journey of the student, every now and then. Let’s look at some scenarios which will help us introspect and make conscious changes in the way we interact with our dear students.
1>Calling them names
I have seen teachers and parents calling kids ‘stupid’, ‘idiot’, etc. on a regular basis. Some do it out of anger, while others wish that kids would be embarrassed and mend their ways. Wrong! The only two reactions that take place are increased insensitivity or deep hurt. I have myself faced this situation a lot of times. After a while, kids tend to stop caring (while pretending to care!) and develop a thick skin. Moreover, they subconsciously start rebelling, either acting in the exact ways that bother the adults or find other ‘creative’ ways to make sure they ‘get even’ for their lost sense of dignity. So, both the sides involved are at a huge loss. Instead of losing control, the need is to be more patient, kind and develop an understanding if the problem is their inability to perform the task or their lack of interest/efforts in doing it. It is very well known that incentivizing a child’s positive behaviors encourages them to repeat those behaviours. Worth a try!
2> Comparing them with others
This happens at both places, at home and at school; which is pretty much all the time for any child. We intend to push them to perform better by telling them that they are not better or equal to someone else. But at such a young age, kids are not worried about competition as much as we adults are. Their world is slowly expanding as they get to experience new things in life. By comparing them to their neighbors or classmates, we are only embarrassing them, putting undue pressure and bringing down their confidence. To truly empower kids, point out to them the unique qualities they possess. Everyone likes to feel special! Kids need our pampering not necessarily through gifts but definitely with our kind words and actions. We should become their help center and not make them avoid us out of fear of ridicule.
3> Remembering their mistakes
Are we as adults able to forget, forgive and move on? Not really, and this has implications on children at many levels. For example, we often remember their mistakes and it sometimes pops out of our mouths at the wrong time. Children are constantly learning from the adults in their surroundings; so we need to be very careful about what we chose to speak and do in front of them. Labeling a person because of their mistakes or repeating it to them regularly is a poor strategy towards raising forgiving individuals. Remember, children learn to forgive only by experiencing forgiveness. No amount of value education classes can teach them that!
I have made mistakes and have not understood how my elders have come to the conclusion on the punishment I should receive. Many have not cared to ask me why I did it. I could argue that even if that teacher or principal were in my situation, they would have done the same thing. Every child has the right to be made to understand exactly what his/her mistake is. Take every mistake a student makes as an opportunity to make them understand the difference between right and wrong or winning their trust anyway by forgiving them.
4>Insensitivity to their worldview
Teachers and parents teach a lot of things to children on a daily basis. But the interaction with the kids will decide how they will value that learning and choose to apply it in their lives. Kids live in different world, whereas we adults have evolved over the years to become mature and responsible human beings. We need to understand their age and the world they inhabit; we cannot blame them for not behaving like a responsible person. We all were silly and childish at one point of time, when we didn’t know what reason/logic was. We should not raise the expectations for children before time and criticize them for not reaching it. They need time to naturally evolve and find the different dimensions of their personality, like we all got the opportunity to do.
So it is important that we take into account their worldview and mentor them with patience. Everyone has a different learning speed and capability. If we can avoid some situations like these, children will have a happier environment to reach their potential. We must remember always that whatever good we do, does not die but lives on as a learned trait in many people from our environment, especially innocent children. Kids can achieve the impossible irrespective of their backgrounds; the only thing we need to ensure is that we don’t make it impossible for them.
“Every child should have a caring adult in their lives. And that’s not always a biological parent or family member. It may be a friend or neighbor. Often times it is a teacher.“ –Joe Manchin
Abraham Vargheese is a freelance content developer by profession, who in deeply interested in studying human behavior. For him, learning is a life-long experience. He has also started developing interest in fields like Journalism, Politics and Sociology. He can be reached at email@example.com.