Tuesday, 9 August 2016

“Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense!”



Back in the days, the teacher was the final authority, students were not allowed to think for themselves or ask questions so they swallowed everything hook, line, and sinker! But have you noticed the little inquisitive minds that are in your classroom? Most likely your students have challenged you with some questions and some dimensions of thought that your uncritical mind had never even bothered to explore before.
Imagine this scenario during your English lesson, your student asks “Ma’am, why is the plural of sheep ‘sheep’ and not ‘sheeps’?
Option 1: You are excited to answer because you know it, so you eagerly explain.
Option 2: Pin-drop silence as you sift through the old files and dusty archives of your brain and come up blank then you stammer, scratch your head, put on your gruff teacher voice and say “don’t ask me stupid questions just write down sheep like I told you to and daz all’?
Option 3: maybe you’ll own up and say ‘hmmm I am not sure about that, could you let me look it up and get back to you, or is there anyone here who can help Curious Cathy out?’- this is ok but shouldn’t be your response always.
Option 4: you pretend to know and say something misleading and wrong in order not to appear stupid in front of your students.
If you were a teacher in the 19th Century you could get away with option 4 but in this age where children are armed with all kinds of gadgets and have access to all kinds of information, brace your self because the next thing you will hear are the lines from Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s song “Teacher, don’t teach me nonsense” and no it is not your phone ringing, it is your student looking you straight in the eye and telling you that they will not take that crap for an answer because they are aware. They probably even saw it on google and came to check with you or test you but you were clueless, poor you!
ateacherknowsNeedless to say that we teach in a supersonic age where we have to move fast to catch-up and keep abreast of what is going on in the world or be swept off by it. The vocabulary of a 3-year old now is not what it used to be. Children know a lot more now than you knew when you were their age so you need to step up. Nobody is asking you to be a walking Wikipedia but please own your subject matter and also know a bit about every thing. Follow social media trends and keep abreast of current happenings.
In a case where you do not have an answer to a student’s questions, don’t feel stupid. After you have done option 1 above, go back and read up, challenge yourself and bring back the answer to your class.
An ignorant teacher is an oxymoron. The hall mark of a teacher will always be knowledge- what you know that sets you apart and qualifies you to help others know too.
Stay on top of your game.
CIAO
sign off

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