For those who do not know me or have never met me, I am a qualified Primary and Secondary teacher. During my 8 years as a teacher thus far, I’ve discovered many things inside and outside the learning environment that will either amuse or shock you. I have worked in the public and private sectors. When I was an undergraduate university student, studying to become an educator, a person of knowledge, it did not strike me how the world of teaching has changed so much from when I was a student at school.

As a qualified Primary and Secondary Teacher, this has allowed me the privilege to work in both primary and secondary schools. It has allowed me to see both ends of the scale, from Kindergarten right through to Year 12. During these 8 years, I have undertaken a range of roles as a Teacher such as a Primary Teacher, a STLA (Support Teacher Learning Assistant), an Arabic LOTE (Language Other Than English) Teacher, an English Teacher, a Geography Teacher, a Commerce Teacher, a History Teacher, a Learning Support Teacher, and an ESL (English as a Second Language) Teacher. Throughout these roles, I have experienced so many various experiences that have shaped and continue to shape my teaching and learning journey.

There have been so many experiences that I can write about, but I think I will stick to those what I really wish to highlight upon. I have seen so many students, who have walked into the school-learning environment, with little or no knowledge at all and have out achieving greatness. I have seen children who are complete ‘terrors’ come out as the most angelic of students.

In one year, I had worked as a Kindergarten teacher; I have always loved the kindergarten classroom. This is the most challenging year of any primary grade and the reason is because as a Kindergarten teacher, you have the vital role of shaping a child for their future, you set them up for their journey to being lifelong learners. Imagine a large classroom filled with 5 year olds, 20 of them to be exact. No kindergarten classroom from my experience should have more than 20 students and the reason behind this is so that the teacher can give each student sufficient time to get to each child and their learning needs. My kindergarten classroom was probably the biggest highlight of my entire teaching career. From this role, I have learnt the importance of basic values such as Adab and Akhlaq can shape a child’s learning. So I have decided to focus upon these and other key issues that I have highlighted from my teaching career.

Time and time again I have always stressed the importance of manners and respect. I truly am a strong believer that as a Teacher, a child who comes into the classroom with manners and is respectful will do so greatly in their learning. Do you know why I say this? I say this because without these fundamental values, a child will not be able to engross themselves in their learning when they are not behaving appropriately. I stress that this should start at home. I may not be a parent, and I guess a lot of parents will tell me that you have no right to say this, you have not had any children, you know nothing. I am sorry parents, but as a teacher, what you, a parent, do at home with your child, is reflected in their mannerisms and behaviour within the classroom and playground. Simply teaching your child to say “please” and “thank you” can do so much to make their learning day a great one. Why do I say this? Well, let me share a few of my negative experiences as a teacher. I have stated that I have undertaken a variety of roles as a teacher, one of them was an Arabic LOTE Teacher. As an Arabic LOTE Teacher, I would take a class from each grade for a 2 hour period to teach them a community language, and in the case of the schools I have worked at, it happens to be the Arabic language. Now, all I can really say is, I honestly feel sorry for any teacher who goes in day to day with the experience that I had to endure. Now before you all start with the whole, it’s the teachers job to make sure the students are in line etc etc speech, let me tell you something reader, the teacher is only 50% and the other 50% is the child and how they are brought up at home. Why do I say this? Well to be honest, I really am sick and tired of seeing some students who in their normal teaching classroom as angelic students then complete ‘terrors’ in the LOTE classroom. Why is it that the students who undertake Chinese or Vietnamese are always good students no matter the teacher or learning environment? Why is it, the students with an Arabic speaking background as wonderful students or not so wonderful students in their classroom then complete horror stories in the LOTE classroom or when they have a Casual Teacher when their teacher is absent? Why, why, why?

My role as a teacher and for every teacher is to provide an education for your child that is enriching and encouraging. My role is to activate your child’s mind, to become a lifelong learner and to think beyond their dreams. My role is to continuously have kids do their best learning and always instill in them that if they really put their mind to achieve something, they will achieve it. So parents, if I am spending valuable lesson time teaching your child how to behave, basic things they should be learning at home, this really questions how you spend your time shaping your child. Now before you start throwing tomatoes at me or giving me the evil eye. I am not saying this to discourage or make you hate me, no not at all, if anything, I am pleading with you to really have one look at your child, is your child going to be that highlight of conversation that you will have with anyone when you discuss your child progress in life? If you are answering no, then you really need to change this.

Here are few tips that can help you as your role as a parent which will then be reflected in their mannerisms and behaviour in the classroom and playground and in every environment:

Manners

I truly stress raising your child with proper manners. I goes beyond saying “please” and “thank you”. You really need to teach them every basic form of manners. Never laugh at your child when they say a bad word, it is not a joke and it is not funny, if anything, it continues to encourage bad behaviour. Teach your child to be respectful, to ask when they want something. It is also important for you to explain to your child why things are appropriate and not appropriate for them, and parents, don’t give them some cotton-wool story because they do not want to live their lives based on falsified information.

Encouragement

Did you know simply encouraging your child to do their best can make a very big difference in your child’s live. Please do not ever call your child ‘dumb’, ‘stupid’ or ‘idiot’ or anything else along those lines. Once you instill something like that in your child, you have broken them, never tell your child they are a failure. Always encourage them and please stop comparing them to your neighbours kids or you relatives etc. Comparing will also hinder their confidence. Your child will do the best of their own ability. Something, I have done as a teacher and something my students don’t know is that I use to give them work to do which was always higher than their own level, I continuously use to encourage them and you know what they could do it. Why, simply encouraging a child is the difference between success and failure. When your child says “I can’t”, you are there to say “You can” and you always tell them they can, because one day, they will blow your minds and go beyond their expectations.

Students own work

How many times have parents complete homework and other school projects for their child. Parents, this is your child’s work, not yours. Yes you can sit and assist your child, but it doesn’t mean you do it for them, because you child will learn absolutely nothing if you continue to do this. Children need to take responsibility of their learning and need to figure out the problems and projects set for them to do. Parents can assist with their learning but you can not do it for them. This means, that you should sit with your child, go through their work, have their student do their work. Check your childs work and if there is anything your child does not understand, help them try to understand it. Try a variety of strategies, don’t just simply give them the answer. Parents, I know a lot of you are taking your kids to tutoring, and I am not saying that you shouldn’t, but your tutor like a classroom teacher can only do so much. Your role is to be part of your childs learning, when you are sitting there and actually participating in your childs learning, your role as a parent will rise and your child will always know that their mum and dad was there through their learning journey, encouraging them to do their best and assisting them when needed. Teachers love when we see parents who actually are active in their child’s learning, it shows that they care and it allows teachers to provide you with other strategies as well as a report of progress of how their child is doing in the classroom. It truly makes a difference.

Goals and reward time

Something that every child and parent should do is to set goals, these goals are little steps of things that your child wants to achieve. I say little because it is better to start with small achievable goals than those larger ones. Some small goals you may wish to start with could include, finish reading one chapter of a book, writing a page or simply finishing homework on time. It can be little and then you can set the bigger goals such as coming first in a race or getting better grades, whatever it is, make sure you are there supporting them. Now, in terms of reward time, reward time does not necessarily have to be materialistic goals, it can be simple things like playing outside or reading your favourite book or painting a picture. Parents really need to stop shoving digital technology in your child’s face as part of reward time. If you do want to use digital technology, ensure it is something educational that has a purpose not something that is to keep them quiet. And I mean reward them for what they achieve even if it is simply that they behaved well at school that day. You don’t even need to actually spend money with reward time either, you can simply say something as encouraging as “You did a great job today, I am proud of you”. You honestly don’t know how those simple things can make a huge difference in a child’s life.

I could rant on and on about various important issues that are highlighted upon every day that need to be fixed in the classroom, but I guess it would end up writing a book instead of an article since there is so much. So for now I will stick to these four and from there, you can work on these to change and shape your child. So before you question the teacher’s abilities in teaching your child, reflect upon what you do at home and with your child, work with the teacher and we always open our doors with a smile and are happy to assist you so help bring up bright, intellectual students in the world who can achieve great things no matter what their learning capabilities are.

Dina Mohamed

B. Arts (English, Texts and Writing) UWS

B. Business (Management) UWS

B. Teaching (Secondary) UWS

M. Teaching (Primary) UWS

M. Education UTS (Current)

Education – The outcome depends on you by Dina Mohamed.

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