Sunday, 25 January 2015

The State of Teaching Today

In the last years, I feel there is a concern in society regarding the way children are being brought up, and most of the eyes turn to schools questioning what we, teachers, are doing to prepare students, so they will be able to solve, in the future, all the heavy damages that we are doing to the world nowadays.

Once upon a time, there was an era when teachers were considered honourable citizens, people upon whom you could look, they were respected by authorities, families and students themselves. Well, that era is over, and we need accept it to be able to respond to the new reality we all are facing currently.

It is not easy being a teacher nowadays. Not easy at all. And I am not talking about what should be obvious for everyone, which is for example the insane amount of useless work demanded to us by authorities, or the challenge of being in a classroom with 30 teenagers, for whom their social and love life is the most important thing in the world, trying to make them see how important it is going to be for their future to know the difference between a verb and an adverb!!!

No, it is not about those things that I am talking about. The real concern that I have as a teacher is something related to real teaching. What really worries me is that I am obliged to follow rules and contents which are too strict, that no matter what the reality of one of my students is, I just cannot walk out of line in my teaching practice to help that student the best way I see necessary. What worries me is that, what I really consider important, is seen as completely useless in this competitive society we are living in. And for me teaching is something different, it is something which I feel is not seen either by society or by governments.

I would like to think that for everyone teaching is making an impact on kids, letting them feel they can, letting them feel we care, helping them have a thirst for knowledge, showing them there is a world of things for them to search, investigate, ENJOY,...

Teaching for me is encouraging my students so they feel capable of becoming what they want to be, it is inspiring them so they want to be their best them.

But I, as a teacher, am frustrated. Not because of low salaries, or because of the pressure we feel from the governments or from the families, or because of this changing world which moves faster than many of us, who have been teaching for years now, do. I am frustrated because I cannot do what I think would help my students to be ready for their future, a hard future they have ahead of them thanks to the world we, adults, are creating/leaving for them. I would need have less kids in each group so I can be there with them and for them, individually, because they are just that, individuals, all different, and should be treated as such. The world is changing so fast that we cannot close our eyes to it, we need new approaches, new subjects in which we do not have to repeat the same stuff year after year. Lessons should be more interactive, kids can learn in a different way and help each other in the process; if they are able to learn new things by themselves, they will be learning all their lives, and that is something to which every human being should aspire.

Not all human beings are the same, and as such, not all kids are the same either, so they should not have to learn the same things; it should all depend on their capacities, interests, abilities... It should be essential to provide real special attention to kids with special needs, they are the ones who need most to know that there is a place in society for us all, for them as well. They should know it as soon as possible and be helped into becoming their best version.

I can hear some voices saying out loud that I am naive, that I am daft, that I forget essential things for this so highly competitive society in which material things seem to be imperative. If marking must exist, it should not be as it is right now, it should not be the key aspect of education, because that is another thing, that is non-cooperation and ranking students based on just one thing. And students, my students, are much more than just a number.

What do I do every day? I try to make teachers aware that we all know their job is important, our job is significant. I focus on what I can do to help my students, to make them feel they are not alone. I know it is not much, but it is what I can do at that moment, and I would like to know I am making a difference. They see it and most of them appreciate it as well. And I wish people would realise of what teachers and students consider important and necessary, and would make the change be a reality, because it has to be us the ones who believe we have the real power to change this.

- Nymm.

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