TEACHING– it’s perhaps the oldest profession known to mankind. From Jesus, Anne Sullivan and even Socrates; teachers come in many forms. In present-day, it’s a profession that is known to create other professions and helps to pass down the knowledge in all subject areas of human life.
I think it’s safe to say that teachers do not feel as valued as we’d like to think. But I can assure you that I have many teachers whom I hold close to my heart. They’re the reason I am who I am today. In fact, you would not have been reading this or wouldn’t have even seen my name in this newspaper, were it not for the tremendous work of my past and present teachers. The sharing of knowledge from one mind to another, better known as teaching, has moulded us all in all of its forms. From your mother teaching you the alphabet; your grandmother teaching you table manners; your father teaching you to drive and even your coaches at sports, teaching has always been a part of your life.
I can personally say that I was not the best student to many teachers, not because of something they did, but because of my attitude towards their class. I know many students can attest to this; when there’s no emotional connection or humanistic approaches to class sessions, you pay less attention. It is safe to say that, that is not entirely our fault because humans in most ways are very emotional beings. In no way am I trying to devalue the hard work and efforts of teachers. However, as a youth writer, I am driven by the “not-talked- about” issues. I’m writing this mainly because I believe teaching is of utmost importance to us all, young and old, black or white. As such, just as we, your students who always listen to you as you teach in front the classroom— I kindly ask you to listen to us now as we form a conversation on finding ways of improvement for both sides of the table.
Constructively criticising and appreciating something or someone at the same time can be tricky, because words and their meanings can get lost in translation through emotions. However, I’ll try my best to make this as simple as possible. If you’re a teacher reading this, I’ll need you to be honest with yourself and acknowledge the fact that perhaps you or a colleague you know may not be the best teacher in terms of attitude to work and execution of curriculum. As any human being, we tend to generalise most aspects of our lives. As such, you’d find some students holding a somewhat negative attitude towards all teachers because of one or two ‘not-so- good’ experiences.
That is not the only reason for students’ reactions to teachers— there are countless. From disliking the country’s current education system to being a reminder of a very strict parent and even for simpler reasons such as giving frequent amounts of homework! As a teacher, not every child will appreciate your approach to teaching and vice versa and that’s fine to an extent. The point I’m trying to make is that some of the negative responses students may have towards you are deeper than you think. And even if we do find out these reasons, what do we do? Well, that is where there’s a bridge between us–social workers–and you, teachers.
I need all teachers reading to remember that every child is different, has different learning styles and coping mechanisms. There are children in your classrooms from all walks and classes of life. Some are without parents, some have been hurt by their parents. Many are without physical and financial resources for a better education. Believe it or not, your classroom sometimes is an escape from life’s problems for most students. Your classroom should allow students to have hope and in the moment they can envision and become whatever or whoever they strive to be. With that said, I do hope all the teachers of Guyana have a wonderful Teacher’s Month and may you continue to be an inspiration for your students, may you continue to plant the fruits of knowledge for all generations to come.