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Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Essentials of Teaching Reflection




It’s called the nature of life in which is so full of ups and downs. Joy, satisfaction, regret, and discontentment – all of ‘em, in sub-consciousness, have always kept us company. Like our best companions. Anywhere. Anytime. Every second/min. And each single day. As though this life seems utterly incomplete without any of them.


Frankly speaking, I’ve no idea to what extent our present teachers truly see this particular thing. All I ever care is its utmost significance. FYI…I’m talking about ‘teaching reflection’ – which ought to get written out by the teachers just after each lesson is finished. And it is every teacher’s to-do duty to reflect his teaching at the end of each teaching session. Because it’s so real IMPORTANT!


Should there be a number of teachers in school today taking reflection for granted, I shall be the first to condemn this unforgiveable negligence. How embarrassing ‘cause they had been trained to habitually do some teaching reflection back in college or university and I know that. And school is an institution whereby they are to utilise all the knowledge, skills and whatever they’ve acquired at. Or otherwise they’d better get fired! There’s tons of unemployed graduates dying for this job, okay!


How vital is a reflection? My answer is simple. Without doing teaching reflection, a teacher can never identify his weaknesses or strengths, ever! So, there won’t possibly be any enhancement and improvement in the end, let alone students’ themselves! Our today’s society is more like ‘the pot called the kettle black’. Oh…please! Stop it. Whereas teaching reflection assists the teacher in gradual teaching improvement, not to mention so are the students’. Wouldn’t that be good news for all teachers worldwide?


Presumably, to some people, a part-time tutor like me isn’t supposed to be obliged to do this teaching reflection thing – but, sorry, I choose to! And reflection, obviously, does make me a much better tutor, doesn’t it? Finding my weaknesses as well as strengths out all on my own. Doing reflection can be done on the weekly basis. Doesn’t have to be in black and white. Sparing your little time contemplating on your preceding lessons will do!


Just bear in mind ONCE you get appointed to be a tutor or teacher, that’s yet to axiomatically prove to the world out there, allegedly, how awesome your teaching is, or how good you are. If this is what you’re thinking at the moment, then all I can say is, “Well…in your dream!”


I would rather view this reflection thing as the beginning of a learning process. Upon teaching, I can be learning something new. In addition to learning from the mistake I might’ve screwed up during the previous class, perhaps. Mind you, only if you’ve never missed out teaching reflection would all that transpire. Thus, DEAR TEACHERS out there, reflection is a must and I have to say! Besides, I dare to assure, you’re such a fantastic teacher I’ve ever known on earth whether doing teaching reflection is constantly a part of your daily routine. Well done!


My tutor life, for the record, isn’t all about entering classes, distributing dull three-page worksheets to school kids and discussing the correct/incorrect answers and whatnot. Could be some other tutors’ class routine – however, at least, not mine! It’s actually more than you might think. Since I’m sorta perfectionist (I guess), certainly, each of the tasks I’m gonna do has to be pretty well organized. Well prepared. Such as having all teaching learning resources (or teaching aids) ready so things won’t turn a complete chaos when it’s time to teaching. I should’ve completely known the things I wanna do.


Right after doing a quick sum in my head, oh God, can’t believe my eyes I’ve long gone myself into this quite tough career for the last 11 months! Every so often, I felt psyched. Ecstatic. Occasionally, delighted. Ironically, some other time, I too got bloody devastated, dizzy, shaken up and, probably, rather taken aback. What’s often on my mind is to keep up the good work, as best I can.


Seeing that I’m teaching Malaysia’s second language i.e. the English language, needless to say I’m longing to get my pupils take to this international language. And several years later, they get expected to have mastered English a lot better. Still, the question is: How?!


Well…I’m a teacher who hardly ever feels contented with my teaching just like that. Most of the times, seems like there’s something missing in my teaching. I can tell. I do try to come up with super cool ideas, though. Not only that, I regularly do a great deal of reading as well, in the hope of discovering something called a ‘secret recipe’. Like the secret recipe of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). The recipe which is likely to stimulate my pupils’ interest in education – yet, I can still reckon myself that something’s missing in my own teaching ingredients all this while. What is it, then?!


In either class I’m in charge of, there’s a Year One girl named Izzati. And the rest of the class are respectively in Year Three and Four. That means a different teaching module is wanted whilst carrying my teaching out. The Year One girl can never be taught the same module as for the rest. Hence, I’ve been making endeavour so as to make sense of Standard Year One English exam question formats. In the hope that I can impart info relevant, appropriate with a Year One pupil’s needs.


But nevertheless, I ain’t teaching the English language as an exam subject like in school. This is called Intensive English class. Should be a little more different with any other typical subjects in the way I teach. On top of that, a tutor must be somebody all creative and brainy – who’s able to come up with a wide range of inspiring, engaging, attractive teaching pedagogies. And THIS is what I’m doing now!


More significantly, a pupil is hoped to be able to bring some knowledge home. Even if 10% of the entire lesson can be considered more than enough. At least, this pupil, evidently, has learnt something within a one-hour lesson, rather than none of it, right? I still regard this a ‘triumph’ though I know, ‘the more they learn, the more they understand’.


My lecturer used to insist that assertion really counted. This kinda characteristic requirement I find it somewhat tricky to make it all the time. Just because I don’t look as fierce as a roaring lion I think. I love children, for sure. Moreover, they’re just kids, you know. By attempting to approach them much closer, they’d feel appreciated and loved.


They’d realise somebody else really is concerned about ‘em. Somebody else who CARES about what the hell they’re up to. And there’s somebody else currently looking after ‘em. Such things make them tend to be very honest with you, sharing with you whatever they reckon, ponder about something, etc. More importantly, I enjoy this way so much. Miserably, some people out there would thoughtlessly evaluate it a big failure. That I’m not good at class organization, am I?


Even so, I strongly object that remaining firm toward the pupils makes things better. They won’t be enjoying every second of my teaching at all, to my mind. Let alone engaging with the foreign language being taught! Sense of humor, jokes, friendliness, accountability, affection – these are, practically, a quarter of the whole required ingredients in teaching. Please…no moody faces but cheerful looks.


Can’t deny that some pupils mainly males assume as if my class setting is somewhere at the playground – where they can move around anytime and do whatever they please. Playing soccer in class? Um…they never have, as yet. Argh! That makes me feel like whining, “God, I can’t take any more of this!” But then again…say, the class appears all silent, I’m not even enjoying my teaching either, am I? – dilemma.




I'm telling you today's classroom phenomena appears as terrible as in the picture!
Teachers are terribly under pressure... please lend them a helping hand!


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