166. A massively underprepared teacher

Prime College

Recently, we held a two-day workshop for the faculty members of Prime College. After the usual ice-breaker, I had this slide up, asked the participants to write them down, and share their responses.

While they were writing down their teaching & learning assumptions, I somehow slipped into my past and thought about my early days as an English language teacher in a private school.

 The first two years of my teaching career were a disaster. With shame and regret, I have to admit that I was nothing but an arrogant teacher who would walk into the class with “Hey, I’m from the capital city, educated in a private English medium school, and I’m going to save you from your miserable English competency” attitude. I mocked at students’ pronunciations. I even joked about other teachers’ pronunciations.

I realize that I was massively underprepared to be a teacher. I probably did more harm than anything good to the students. What made me jump into teaching profession then? Probably, the assumptions I was unconsciously carrying into the profession.

  1. My job is to teach, and students’ job is to learn.
  2. My job is to control, and students’ job is to be in discipline.
    (I have to keep the class under control. If I don’t do this, the students will start dancing on my head. When I lose my authority as a teacher, the students will never want to learn.)
  3. My job is to teach and it’s easy.
    Just go to the class. Teach the content. Get out of the class. That’s it.

How did these assumptions grow and bloat in my head? May be I had thought, “Hey, I’ve been in a class for more than 14 years. I know what it takes to be a teacher. I can easily do what my school teachers used to do.”

Well, I had my worst moments.

(About the workshop:

Becoming a 21st Century Educator
Oct 11 and 12
A two-day workshop for the faculty members of Prime College, Kathmandu
on the theme of Designing Positive Learning Experiences in the classroom.
Conducted by Empowerment Academy)

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