Things Students Crave to Hear from Teachers
- Jul 28, 2015
Chemical equations and the complex formulae of the chemical compounds haunted my worst nightmares, almost ruining my teens. For, I was merely a fifteen-year-old girl at that time, struggling to wriggle out of the ‘academic mess’ I was trapped into! I spent sleepless nights, attempting to balance equations and memorize the ‘periodic table’, but all in vain.
On the eve of my Chemistry class 10 board exams, I felt my strength ebbing away.
I confessed to myself that I simply had little choice but to give up. As my Chemistry textbook lay open on the table, my head was placed in my palms and I told myself: “I would not appear for tomorrow’s exam, come what may.” For, I was confident of failure.
And I could not afford to shatter the expectations of my parents.
Hence my decision to skip my Chemistry board exams. As tears of frustration soiled the pages of my Chemistry book, my mother put a hand on my shoulder and somehow persuaded me to appear for the exam the following day.
Despite being aware that I was luckless in Chemistry, soon I found myself seated in the examination hall. When the results were finally declared after what seemed a century, it brought a smile to my face, because not only I had cleared the Chemistry exam, but also managed to come out with decent grades!
It made me wonder about my failure during my selection and pre-final exams (the two major exams that are generally conducted prior to the boards) in different schools.
Why I Ended up Being a Loser in Chemistry at School
Although I had performed well in my Chemistry board exams (well, I had obtained greater marks than the qualifying pass percentage and, of course, it was more than enough for me as I didn’t expect to pass!), I felt a question popping up in my head.
I know you are dying to ask me the same question.
“How were you capable of scoring 60 percent in your Chemistry board exams when you ended up with a boring 20 out of 100 in the school exams?”
Board exams are considered to be tougher when compared to school exams.
Now listen to me carefully.
You can crack any exam with outstanding grades, irrespective of its tricky or the weirdest questions: only if your ‘teacher’ becomes your ‘mentor’.
While I hate shifting the blame to a teacher, I must admit that my Chemistry teacher at school didn’t do much to motivate me to learn this subject successfully.
The first time I had secured poor grades in my exam, my teacher had rebuked me, exclaiming, “You are hopeless. How could you fail when most of your classmates could make it to the eighties and nineties?” I was dumbfounded. Little did the Chemistry teacher know that her words were quite demoralizing for a student who is already a victim of low self-esteem in Chemistry.
Similar to my peers who had scored poor grades in this subject, I too had expected a minimum, “Come on girl, you can do it. We can work it out together, so that you rock the exams next time”, from my teacher.
It seemed that the fate had different plans for me.
Why Students Desire to Hear Positive Remarks from Teachers
The above incident makes me reflect on the significance of positive remarks from the end of teachers, on learners.
Here is what I realized: some generous dosages of constant encouragement, coupled with a belief in students, are two of the compulsory ingredients in the recipe that creates a successful learner. Maybe this is one of the most important factors that trigger an expectation among students to hear a set of optimistic comments from teachers.
Any idea behind such a psychology of pupils?
It is simply due to the fact that human beings are well aware of what they are at present, although they are clueless about what they might emerge as in the future, as stated by the famous playwright, William Shakespeare. Legends like Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, and Pablo Picasso achieved an enormous amount of fame and glory despite being ‘slow learners’ at their young ages.
So, just imagine how a slight amount of emotional support from educators can light up the worlds of all types of students in a classroom!
Dr. Lori Desautels, an assistant professor in Marian University, US, offers a beautiful scientific explanation as to why students expect a fair amount of understanding and acceptance from their teachers.
Let us take a glance at her words:
Dr. Desautels had reiterated the fact that since man is a social animal, his brain has also evolved in a similar way. Teaching professionals should be well acquainted with the fact that societal norms and peer pressure have manifold impacts on the young minds of students.
They should understand that social acceptance as well as social rejection influence the thought processes of teenaged pupils and shower their affections on them.
Since the brains of youngsters are wired in a way that it only accepts the views of their peers, teachers should try to 'befriend students', rather than sound ‘overtly preachy’ continuously. It would be a great relief to students and also develop in them a genuine admiration for their teachers.
What are the Things Students Crave to Hear from Teachers?
Research states that students crave to hear a few things from their teachers at school based on the following elements:
- Does my teacher appreciate the progress in my academic performance?
- How does my teacher revitalize my spirits after I have fared miserably in my exam?
Now, let us come to the list of the things that is expected from teachers:
#1. “I believe in you”:
First of all, teachers should have a firm belief in each of their students, including the ones with learning disabilities.
When teachers start believing in their learners, the latter too begins to believe in their innate abilities.
Never forget to say, “I have complete belief in you, dear student. Very soon, you are going to ride the waves of success and you are not far from it. If you follow my tips, nothing can defeat you ever.”
You got to develop a trust for your students that would not wane even in the face of tempests. By tempests, I mean conflicting emotions, foul moods of your students, or their worst performance in exams. Each and every learner in your classroom is born with unique gifts, so he learns in different ways – you must accept this fact and respect it.
For instance, certain teachers personally feel that exams can never determine the quality of students.
If you are looking forward to a classroom filled with enthusiastic learners, start believing in each one of them without any discrimination. Make attempts to transfer this strong belief into their hearts to aid them in developing their confidence.
#2. “You have a purpose”:
Next, ideal teachers always define the purpose of every student.
They are often observed to inspire pupils by these words, “I know you have a purpose. Let us enjoy the journey of unfolding it.”
A certain degree of affirmation in the voice would add to the magic, I daresay. The moment you state that you are keen to learn about the purpose of your students, they start paying heed to you. So, try to identify the strengths and interests of students by seeking for a few signs.
An intelligent secret to do so is to share success stories.
Take some time off your lectures and share tales of other children of similar age who have been able to shine in their academics. You can also talk about reputed personas including the likes of Walt Disney and J.K. Rowling who have finally reached the pinnacle of success following repeated episodes of trial and error.
In addition, teachers should also remember to share stories about young students of other schools who have been excelling in extra-curricular activities like theatre workshops, physical training, and so on.
It would really turn out to be a motivator for a majority of students.
#3. “Do you need anything?”
Certain words always remain unspoken. Certain emotions unexpressed.
As a teacher, you should always make efforts to read the silence of students. Try to analyze and interpret their behavioral patterns. And, if you are yet to fathom the depths of their psychological processes, ask them the following questions:
- How are you, my lovely students?
- What is your opinion about the lesson you learned today?
- Do you need anything? Or, is there something I can do to help you out?
- What is your favorite subject and why is it so?
- You have scored quite low in Math. What are your stumbling blocks?
However, there is one thing you should always bear in mind while inquiring your students. Always do so in private. This would reinforce the belief among students that you respect each of their privacy and are willing to extend your assistance in any and every way possible.
This would help teachers to read the silence of students when they stare blankly as they are asked any question about a topic that has been taught in the class.
#4. “Thank You!”
Do you thank your students when they display progress in solving their Calculus problems?
Or, do you thank your pupils when they concentrate on your lectures instead of getting distracted due to the slightest provocation?
Have you thanked your learners for exhibiting extraordinary discipline in your Economics lecture last week?
If you haven’t, please do so immediately. Teachers often try their best to inculcate the values of gratitude to students. But, your students would not imbibe the proper values unless you start practicing it yourself. Furthermore, your students should be able to notice your attitude. Therefore, it would be awesome if you can make a sincere effort to practice what you preach, dear teachers.
- Thank your learners when they manage to complete a challenging assignment.
- Thank your students when they deliver projects within the specified deadline.
- Thank your pupils when they meet your expectations in terms of scoring wonderful grades in their annual exams.
- Thank them when they give a proof of their patience when they are attempting to answer a tricky question in the class.
Spend some time with your students once you have finished offering your lecture or distributing the study materials to your learners. You can do this at least twice a week. Express interest in their passion and their interests, rather than always trying to aid them in their academics.
Be their friend, philosopher, and guide. Speak to them and listen to them as they converse with you.
Remember, your warmth and affections are powerful enough to make your students blossom with everlasting success, peace, prosperity, and an enriched self-worth.
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