Tuesday, 11 October, 2016
November will be my last month of teaching before I move on to my next adventure – after almost four years of life in a classroom, I reached my goal and became the best teacher in the world. There is nothing left for me to achieve in this profession – I’ve literally done it all. There was not one English speaker in Taiwan when I arrived, now 100% of the country can speak it fluently – I think that alone tells you everything you need to know.
Well, anyway. Here is the best teacher in the world’s guide to teaching.
One) Create A Reward System
Everybody has an ego and we all like to hear how good we are. Your nan needs the entire table to comment on how sensational her homemade gravy is, your cousin wants a chest bump for attending two job interviews in one week and next door’s dog likes a pat on the head for being able to locate a bone.
Well, kids are no different. They enjoy being notified when they’ve done something smart, it encourages them (particularly younger students) to pay attention and participate. It’s also nice to see them expressing joy at their own personal sense of achievement.
One of my slower students was over the moon the other day when I gave him credit for spelling the word ‘brown’ correctly. He was even more delighted when I told him that there are even people in England who have trouble spelling that word. At least, I’m pretty sure that they spell it ‘brrahn’ in Liverpool anyway.
The reward system is also an easy and effective form of punishment – young kids do not enjoy handing over their possessions. I picture most of my students being pretty reluctant to cooporate if they ever got caught up in an armed robbery.
“Hey, kid. Please just hand over the pencil case and everybody gets out alive.”
“But, it’s my pencil case! Why should I?”
It’s a well known fact that all nutters with guns have an irrational desire for pencil cases.
It could be a cool toy car or a broken leaf covered in mud and dog crap that they picked up before school. It’s theirs and it’s hard for them to fathom why it should be taken away from them.
Therefore, they especially don’t like to part ways with the reward they had previously earned by being a genius the day before. “I spent hours memorising the word ‘brown’ yesterday, and for what, the boys in blue to barge in and take my card – just because I smacked my arse a little bit.”
Young lads at my school like to smack their arse at each other, it’s a bit weird.
The reward can pretty much be anything a child can see and touch – stickers, fake money or even just drawing stars on the whiteboard would probably do the job. In many cases, your school will already have a system in place. If they don’t, however, I would recommend buying some cheap stickers or an equivalent – it will make life that little bit easier.
Two) Create Classroom Teams
Sure, they can still earn awards as an individual, but this method allows them to work for each other rather than against each other. This teaches valuable life skills, but more importantly, at least as far as you are concerned anyway, it can eliminate the classroom clown pretty easily too (in most cases).
The disruptive kid can go from hero to zero pretty quickly with this system. When everybody is playing as an individual, this student will happily randomly jump out of their chair start smacking their arse and shouting about needing the bathroom. Sure, they’ll lose a reward card but it was worth the sacrifice due to the roaring laughter of their peers.
On a side note, life as a seven-year-old comedian seems like a pretty easy gig. They have the same set menu and it’s always guaranteed to work – smack their arse, reference the bathroom, mention poo poo and roll around on the floor shouting ‘ahhhh’. I wonder if they have the same problem with charlie and booze that other comedians have – probably not, I guess.
Now, when the plonker sliding around on their knees screaming about poo poo puts their side bottom of the league – the reaction is far from a standing ovation. As the clown’s main desire is to be adored, their response is usually to try hard to answer the teacher’s questions and regain their team’s respect that way.
I would also suggest always keeping the points fairly close; even if that doesn’t reflect the way the proceedings have gone. They’re seven, the scores are easy to rig. A child can give up easily, thus, if it looks like there is no way back, they will stop caring and go back to knee sliding and shouting poo poo.
Three) Your Worst Class Is Your Best Coach
In other words, don’t just accept a bad class as a shit hour weekly. At least try to convert it from horse shit to rabbit shit – which would you prefer to clean up each week?
Gaining the attention and control of well-behaved children is a stroll in the park and these kids will gift you a fairly peaceful hour – however, it’s the kids that drive you up the wall who are more likely to develop your skills as a teacher.
We all have that one scenario each week that we look forward to the least – perhaps it is the Wednesday night visit from the mother-in-law or that bloke that chooses to mow his lawn at 8am every Sunday morning without fail – why can’t you just have a hangover and lie in like everybody else, pal? (As you may have guessed, there was a time when the lawn mowing man next door was my lowlight of the week).
Well, for a teacher it’s that class. The problem obviously varies – perhaps it’s the poo poo shouters, overly competitive kids who don’t take losing well or teenage girls that hate everything about school, especially teachers – either way, the hour is a guaranteed ballache.
So, what do you do? Well, you consider if kicking a kid in the head is really that bad, if, of course, they do act like a complete arsehole every week. You will have to eventually rule out that option though; it just probably wouldn’t offer much long-term gain.
Instead, you learn how to become good at piecing together puzzles – you consider different methods until you find the one that makes the classroom atmosphere that bit more tolerable.
You basically learn through trial and error.
When you’ve tried ten different alternative ways to engage with a difficult group, you can implement the most successful structure into most other classes pretty easily.
So, there you have it – the three simple steps to becoming a great teacher. Don’t waste money on university and all that bollocks, just come to Uncle Dragon for guidance on doing life well.
Also, if you have no intention of being a teacher – why did you bother reading to this point, you weirdo?