Who didn't have a teacher he/she loved back then in junior schools? Be it primary or secondary school, there was perhaps one or even two teachers you just clicked with. An interesting thing about this friendship is that it was not like you planned it; I mean, at that time, you were even too young to really understand friendship - but it just happened.
A lot of factors come into play in an issue such as this. This is because the essence of being in school is to learn, and learning doesn't come easy when the person teaching you is a turn off to you. But when you admire and respect the person teaching you, you're more likely to assimilate better. Bring that home! You may not have realized it but those teachers you felt comfortable with and had a cordial friendship, you did well in their subjects. It's thus important that teachers realize they hold a strong influence on the outcome of their students' cognitive abilities.
Basically, a teacher should be as friendly and approachable as possible to the students. Does this mean that he should be more focused on becoming friends with each student in his class? No! While getting to know and familiarize himself with his students is not out of place, he should realize that not all students will bond with him.
The following points could be helpful:
1. Be flexible
An unduly stringent teacher is definitely a turn off for any student. While it's necessary to set clear boundaries and enforce same, it's also important to consider the circumstances of each student. Let's take for example, some students fail to do a homework. As a teacher, understand that student A who didn't do the homework might not have the academic support at home or resources like student B who did the assignment does. You can consider some of these before meting out discipline. It's also very important not to allow your flexibility become laxity. Children need appropriate discipline and correction. The essence should be to teach them how to study.
2. Be approachable
You're dealing with children. This one fact is as important as whatever you teach them. This is because they consider you the authority in that classroom. A situation whereby they can't approach you would only bedevil their learning process because they won't feel the freedom to even ask questions where they don't understand what you've taught. This quality is important to help you win their trust; and with their trust, trust me, you become their favourite teacher.
Sadly, a lot of teachers don't see this correlation. So, how can you develop the approachable attitude? Note:
-Children mostly bring their challenges to adults, especially the ones they're comfortable with. So, even when they bring seemingly irrelevant matters to you, don't shout them off. That matter you consider inconsequential might just mean the whole world to that kid. Rather, pay them some attention; when bigger issues arise, you'll be the first they'll come to. It becomes normal for them to approach you. He that is faithful in least will be faithful in more.
-Really listen. When I say listen, I don't mean punching your phone's keypad and telling the child "I'm listening" when clearly you're not. You need to pay attention by focusing on them. Look at them and follow along what they tell you.
-Play with them. It doesn't always have to be academic work and solving one mathematical problem or the other. A relaxed atmosphere will always make them free to approach you with personal challenges.
3. Carry your students along
To be able to carry them along, you must be well grounded in what you teach. Having a thorough knowledge of your lectures will help you spot when a student is deviating from the pattern of understanding you want him to follow. This involves giving personal attention to certain students when necessary.
In the end, the main thing is for you to imprint in these young minds lessons they'll not forget in a hurry. It's not all about the academic information you load them with but the manner and atmosphere in which you deliver such information. Note that the above recommendations should complement the rigorous academic activities in the curriculum.
With sad regrets, I remember how some of my teachers back then in high school made themselves into demigods. The classroom was more or less a battlefield - us against them. I'm not proud to say that this adversely affected my academic abilities.
On the other hand, you must have heard some persons reminisce how they were groomed by certain teachers whom they're very grateful to. Think about the teachers who taught Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Dangote, etc. Imagine one of these were your student.
-Imoh Udoh Iniekpo
Communications Executive @ Edusko Africa