There have been great teachers of our time who have not only sizzled their teachings with intrinsic values of stability, consistency, stoicism, dependability and regularity, but matched their teachings with complementing actions. In so doing, they have silhouetted their image in history forever and left a legacy that their progeny will benefit from eternally. The ageless truth declares that a good name is more desirable than gold and silver and that the day of one’s death is better than of one’s birth. How profoundly true!
More often than not, values or acts of integrity, which essentially are what is referred to as ‘a good name’ do not give immediate rewards or gratification. You may even be repressed, name-tagged or ostracized for being good. This however should not deter you from doing the right and honourable thing. You may have acquired your good name by way of legacy or they may have become ingrained in you (through association) by your parents or mentors who were themselves unsullied.
Is your integrity squeaky-clean? Is it self-taught, or gained through years of self-discipline? Does it need further touch-ups like mine? Maybe yours is the more realistic & dynamic type that requires constant and progressive priming and pruning. Does this also need prayers to God to make it perfect. Whatever state your integrity may be in, you as a teacher needs to rise above tardiness.
Let’s look as some ways teachers lag behind:
In persistent lateness to work or to lessons and in our lackadaisical attitude to work, we may be endangering the progress of our students.
Disorderliness – Excellent recordkeeping, great planning and sequencing skills ensure a smooth progression to the happenings of the day. A good teacher facilitates a flowing chronology of topics in her subject so that her students link the known to the new.
Untidiness and uncleanliness – Maintaining tidy and clean classroom is not expensive. Endeavour to keep the class free of dust, cobwebs, mildew and clutter. This addresses the simple health needs for everyone and projects an exquisite, tasteful, ‘classy’ and graceful image of you the teacher. Insist that your students bin their own rubbish and not throw litter about. You could soften and brighten your class with a simple pot of indoor plants, this is easily obtainable.
Brighten up your class with a small patch-work of Nigerian fabric. A tailor would graciously give you pieces of or un-needed cloth.
Drabness and routine – There should not be room for flat, uninspiring, ‘wishy-washy’ techniques of teaching on the one hand; a boring, mediocre, unimaginative and stale teacher on the other. You must be a master of your teaching subject and gracious enough to demure on a topic you don’t know rather than fabricate lies! You can’t afford to be regular! Inject fresh and new actions and ideas into your lessons and put an element of surprise into when and how you bring them in.
Your language – Are you fluent, expressive, comprehensible, intelligible and or understandable? There is nothing worse than a teacher who speaks in the wrong tenses and is making no active effort to brush him/herself up! English cuts across all science and art subjects. Refrain from shouting, using abusive words and expression s on the students when they go wrong, speaking abusively of their parents and generally projecting an image of an ogre! Apologise to a student when you have been wrong, say thank you to them when they have helped or done a good thing and negotiate with them when appropriate. Good teachers don’t always give orders; they come to an understanding on issues with their student and in so doing, teach them how to respect other people’s perspectives. Before you send home your student’s reports or school-home communication, take a few moments to read through what you have just written. A school report is not where you unleash your vendetta on a student or their parents! Endeavour to write in excellent, professional and non- patronizing language. Maintain your dignity and good name.
Sleeping on duty – Sleeping in class before your students or dropping your head on the table for a quick snooze should not be practiced by you. It projects an image of laziness and idleness. Your students are watching and they are very impressionable! If you feel ill, go to the sick bay or to any provision you school may have and refuel there. Please check your school’s policy on this.
Selling/trading on duty – This is absolutely wrong and should not be practiced within your daily contract hours. It is true that the times are hard and we all feel the pinch. Organise your time to fit in what you do outside your contract time. How would you feel if an employee of yours was carrying out his own business in your paying time?
Using your mobile phone irresponsibly – Check your school’s policy on this but as a general thumb of rule, you should keep you phones off or its ring tones on silent and return calls at more acceptable time during your daily contract hours, for example during your break.
Your grooming – A good bath, oral care, some deodorant, hair and nail care contribute to the entire image of a teacher. Unprofessional dressing, impractical dressing, unfashionable dressings are all subjective description of someone’s grooming. As a role model, Aim for stylish modesty. Your students should want to be like you!
Omoru is a freelance writer, education, health and social care advocate