When growing up, children go through various experiences some of which are life-changing, others are ordinary and others can best be described as perplexing. It must be remembered that when a child is growing up, pretty much of their time is spent in school. Therefore, a lot of experiences that children go through in school are the ones that change their lives and even shape their future as far as their perceptions, thoughts, and ideas are concerned.
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Some experiences that kids go through in school are so perplexing that so many years after; they are still so vivid in their mind (Stronge, 2007, p. 56). While some experiences are good and carry with them a lot of nostalgic memories, others are so traumatic that they become a sort of permanent scars in the minds and hearts of a child that even when they grow up, they cannot quite erase the memories from their minds. This discussion looks at one of the very many experiences I underwent during my years in school. I will also explain why it has remained perplexing so many years after and what I would do differently as a teacher to ensure that those students who go through do not have such an experience.
Types of Students
We must all agree that the level of understanding and perceiving different concepts in life varies from one person to another. People have various ways of understanding with some taking a little longer to understand than others but this does not make the former foolish. It just means that their brains take a little longer perhaps to synthesize information and this makes them a bit slower. There are some teachers who consider such students foolish and instead of helping them catch up with students who seem to grasp concepts quite fast, they literally alienate them making them feel as though they do not belong to that particular class.
When I was in 4th grade, I had a teacher named Mr. Cox. He was a really nice man and I thought he was a good teacher. He was very good at helping students in the 4th grade in the learning process and I must that he had a thorough understanding of all the subjects he was teaching. I also quite liked his method of teaching because other than the ordinary lecture method that most teachers prefer, Mr. Cox would incorporate quizzes to find out if we understood the various concepts he was explaining. He also encouraged discussions to allow people to express their various opinions.
There was however one issue that I felt was amiss as far Mr. Cox’s teaching was concerned. He appeared as though he did not quite like those students who were slow in understanding what he was teaching and sort of favored those who were fast learners. If you asked a question which he considered “stupid”, he would brush it off and continue with the lesson as I f to indicate that you were wasting the precious time of the rest of the students who had understood what you are asking.
This is an issue that really affected me so much in my studies and made me almost want to quit school. Mr. Cox made me as well as other students who were in the same predicament feel as though we did not have enough brain capacity to comprehend what he was teaching. He made many students including me feel like that we had a problem and that is why we were not understanding what he was teaching.
At that level, I was still very young and I could not ask many questions. But now that I have since grown up and understood issues from a broader perspective, I cannot help but ask myself why Mr. Cox could treat some of the students in such a manner. I had always believed that teachers are supposed to treat all students equally and help those who are slow to catch up with the rest. If you had a question about math or English, I felt as if we were brushed off and he only dealt with the students that understood immediately the work. What still remains a mystery to this day was how could he do that to his students? Was I the only student that felt this way? Why did he just pass us on to the next grade if we did not know the material?
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Importance of the Issue
This is an issue of utmost importance especially to teachers and even those who are looking to become teachers in the future. At any given time, a teacher will have a class of students who are different in a number of ways. A teacher is under an obligation to ensure that he or she treats all students equally and ensures that all students understand the materials of a particular grade before they could proceed to the next grade.
I feel this is important because if you want to be a good teacher you have to be aware of this about your students. A teacher who knows that there may be students that do not really understand the teaching and need more help than others needs to be recognized to ensure that all students understand the material.
No student is more deserving or less deserving than another and thus a teacher must endeavor to ensure that he or she does the very best to ensure that he puts the student to the same level (Lawson, 1990, p. 67). No student should be left behind and no teacher should brush away a student who is asking a question perhaps because he did not understand a concept well enough.
That was my most perplexing experience, one that I have not been able to erase from my mind despite the fact it happened many years ago. If I were a teacher, I would ensure that no student would undergo the same experience, as I had to go through. It is not fair for students to be made to feel lesser just because they are not quick to grasp a certain concept that is being taught in class. As a matter of fact, teachers must always encourage students to discover their other potentials other than classwork since people have different abilities.
Some of the experiences that students go through when in school can be very traumatizing and leave a permanent scar in their lives. Although I am well over that experience that I went through in Mr. Cox’s class, I still ask myself very many questions regarding this kind of behavior from a teacher I respected and thought of very highly. Teachers must learn to be accommodative to their students and ensure that they help those who seem slow to catch up.
Lawson, D. (1990). Indicators of teacher ability to relate to students. New York: School of Education.
Stronge, J. (2007). Qualities of an effective teacher. London: ASCD.