Sunday, July 20, 2014

Effective Teachers

An educator who was a principal for many years, writes in View from the Ark of the Catholic Times, about  a visit to an Alternative School (non- traditional education) to give a talk to the  parents, an occasion he has never forgotten. The educator had sent the outline of his talk to the  principal of the school and was told it would also be good for the students to hear the talk, so they joined the parents in the lecture hall.

He was somewhat perplexed with the change but  adapted appropriately. During the talk, he kept his eyes on the students and was surprised at their attention, their answers to his questions and their questions.

After the talk, more satisfied than usual, he was especially amazed at the happiness showing on the faces of the students, and without much thought asked a group of students walking along the corridor: "Are you happy?'  The students stopped and answered with one voice. "Yes, we are very happy." Without giving them much time he again asked: "Why?"  One of the students who was lively in his questioning during the lecture answered: "We are respected by the  teachers this makes us happy."  Another girl with the group smiling answered:  "Sir, there is another reason also for the happiness, mothers are not here with us."

The educator had heard that at the beginning of the school year it was not like this. Disorder and confusion was the everyday situation, but with the passage of time and interaction with the teachers all changed. They were away from home and living in dormitories, a different environment from what had been their experience.

Hearing the words of the girl he was embarrassed for the mothers. They heard what was said, and their heads were lowered. No doubt they were thinking  it was their fault their child was not going to the public schools in their area, and  were at a distance from home going to an Alternative School. The educator felt it was not only these mothers who needed to lower their heads. Korean mothers' love for their children requires they give them the best possible education without  concern for the needs of the child. Parents put a great burden on the children and compare them with other children which is  seen as cruelty by the children. Often they put off the religious education of the children until they get into college.

The three requisites in getting into a good school: the grandfathers financial situation, the mothers gathering of information, and fathers lack of interest. This is the reason says the educator for the feeling of some of the children towards their mothers. He quotes  the phrase from chapter 6 of Matthew: "Set you hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given to you as well."

He retells an anecdote about Gandhi. He was approached by a mother who wanted him  to tell the child  to stop eating so many  sweets. Gandhi heard the request and told them to return in 10 days. He had been eating sweets himself and wanted time to not eat sweets so he could speak from his heart and experience. Gandhi's  explanation was sufficient to have the child overcome his habit of eating sweets. The article concludes: mothers, and all of us, have to be doers of the word before we can become Effective teachers.

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