By Nabil Es shaimi
By Nabil Es shaimi
Morocco World News
Casablanca, March 9, 2012
I was mistaken when once I thought that the job of teaching “kids” is a hard one. It’s not only hard, it’s tough, tiring and time and energy consuming. Since I started the job, not long ago, I can’t think of a day, in which I haven’t thought about how to plan a lesson, or about measures I should take to control the behavior of a disturbing student, in particular, or a class, in general. I literally was unable to sleep one night during vacation, thinking of how I should start the first sessions of the second semester. Questions came rushing to my mind in torrents seeded by many preoccupations. Some would say: “Why are you bothering yourself that much? Do it as it is usually done”. Does this mean I should do as the lazy ones do? Sincerely, I don’t know how they do it and I don’t want to know.
I am “probably” a perfectionist. I want my teaching to be excellent. I want all the pupils to get engaged and understand the lesson. I want to excel in my job and be the best. I want to be a reference in teaching. And, above all, I want to do my job as it is supposed to be done and have a clean conscious in front of God.
Maybe I am asking too much for a teacher with less than one-year experience in teaching. However, does this mean that I have the right to make mistakes, make blunders, and use the native language in teaching a foreign language? Or, mix up methods and approaches of teaching, or even, not follow strategies of teaching vocabulary or grammar…? But, how about those kids, don’t they deserve to have an excellent teacher?
According to my humble experience, I definitely believe that this overwhelming situation for a novice teacher is due to the poor training teachers have before getting into the world of the “warrior-like-job” as some like to call it and I am sure that many would agree with me.
I heavily criticize the way teacher trainees get introduced to the job. The practicum sessions held are so poorly managed and don’t meet the expected outcomes. The mentors who volunteer to conduct the practicums should be highly qualified teachers, have enough experience and most of all willing to give trainees their clues and hints, starting from lesson planning to classroom management. Besides that, the mentor should supervise only two trainees, under the condition that the trainees should NOT get along with only one mentor throughout the whole practicum sessions. They should at least get to see three different mentors and get used to their teaching strategies and classroom management tips and clues. Also, there should be more practice stages during training than theory.
I’ve started reading some stuff about teaching English as a second language, and I came across an interesting article about the preparation of teachers of English as a second language. This quote, in particular caught my attention: “It can be said that the most important factor which leads to students’ failure relates to the insufficient training of the teacher[s] of English. One can probably expect good results if we have well-trained teachers, for a trained teacher will be able to overcome or get around most of the problems….” In fact, the teacher has great influence on the students’ academic achievement, since he and only he can motivate students to learn a subject or discourage them to go on in their studies. According to a survey done by Eons (1982) it sets the characteristics that a teacher should have from students’ perspectives and it stated the following:
* A good teacher ought to know more than just what’s in the book.
* He shouldn’t act superior and order us around like servants.
* He has to keep control of the class.
* His lessons should be organized and he should return our papers while we’re still excited and care what’s in them.
* A good teacher should be young, or young at heart
* He has to like teaching us. It’s easy to tell if he doesn’t, you know.
In the survey, the students also requested:
* Variety within the lesson hour: “If we just do drills forever, I fall asleep”.
*Why do we have to do idioms for a whole hour? It’s nice when you have a little grammar, and then a dictation and then some reading or a discussion.
* Many students seemed to feel they should be given the opportunity to participate in the lesson: “The teacher shouldn’t do all the talking. I like it when the students go up to the board.”
* In addition, students mentioned the teacher’s sense of humor, his preparation of the lesson, his willingness to have a sympathetic attitude and to “remember what it was like to be a student”!
* The teacher should know each individual and treat them justly: “She only talks to the best students. Doesn’t she know I am trying?”
* The students praised teachers who seem to be self-confident and enjoy their profession: “If he does not know the answer, he is not afraid to say so, so you can trust him”.
* Students also referred to the patience of the teacher who could be provoked to anger only in extreme cases.
* They also mentioned that the teacher’s voice shouldn’t be monotonous: “You have to hear him in the back row.”
* Few responses were concerned about the appearance of the teacher.
In one way or another, it’s those young inexperienced trainees who are going to raise upcoming generations. So, the state has to invest and make more efforts to train them properly in order for them to be highly qualified to teach young learners. Moreover, not only the training should be of high quality, but also, the state should provide to teachers classrooms that meet standards for teaching and learning. The teacher should find adequate teaching conditions. I don’t mean by that, highly equipped classes with the latest version of interactive white boards, or a fixed data show projector on the ceiling with a computer on the teacher’s desk and at the teacher’s disposal. Nor, a class of 15 brilliant students with eyes wide open and who heed to the teacher’s instructions. And of course I will not ask the state to provide IPads or laptops as the Turkish state did for its young learners. No, I don’t mean that at all, because for some teachers doing their jobs in distant rural areas who don’t even have electricity, I would be asking for a science fiction classroom in Morocco.
The 2012 teachers only ask from the state to provide them with a white board in class. Enough of blackboards which are no longer black, enough of chalk and dust. We want more than one available data show projector in the laboratory, so that the teacher doesn’t have to compete among the whole staff of the school for it, so that at the end you hear: “Oh! It doesn’t work”. We want average classes; not the one I talked about of 15 students, no, we just want a class of 25 students maximum. We want an available and working Xeroxing machine at the teachers’ disposal not the principal’s and his relatives. Teachers can’t afford making photocopies for 300 students, especially novice teachers. We want the administration to be tough with distracting students, especially when they’re sent out for misbehavior during class after the teacher has repeatedly tried to discipline the student. We just want people to do their jobs correctly so that we can do ours the same. Is that too much asked?
Teacher of English at a secondary school in Ain Harrouda, near Casablanca. He obtained a Bachelor of Art in English Literature at the University of Mohammed V, Rabat. He has TEFL certificate from The Regional Pedagogical Center of Tangier.([email protected])
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy.
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