No student is useless. No student is unintelligent. Every student is born smart. Everything depends on the method(s) employed by the teacher.
There are methods that work wonders, and there are methods that deepen ignorance and apathy.
The lecture method is perhaps the easiest for many a teacher. Applying such methods as discussion method, drama method, project method, etc, is usually very tasking for the average teacher. And this is one of the reasons our students are failing: our methods are stark deficient.
In my 300 level in the university, I almost dropped out because I was owing fees. It took a teacher with special methods to spot my despondency.
She observed I was too distant and she got bothered enough to invite me to her office for a chat. She pestered me so much that I finally spilled it. I told her I was about to drop out of school and she said she would hear none of that. There and then she promised to provide half of the fees. My heart leaped for joy and today I am a graduate.
She was not merely a teacher. She connected to her students and ensured she rescued those like me that were on the brink of giving up. That is what a teacher with cool methods does.
Stop being dry in class. Share your crazy ideas with your students. Crack jokes for them. Share movie lessons with them.
Tell them your story, no matter how embarrassing it is. You never can tell who will be inspired into success by it. (Moreover, students love stories a lot!)
Observe them and have a relationship with each of them. Once in a while, ask them if they’re alright. Empathize with them; share in their griefs and joys.
Don’t be distant. Don’t be dry. Once in a while, ask them for sincere feedback. Let them tell you how they feel about your classes and your methods. That is a sure way to grow – whether it’s ethical or not.
When in class, move around, touch them, observe the sick and the hungry and do something about their conditions.
Reward them – especially the supposed weak ones – with money. Money works wonders. (Not 50 Naira o, mbok!)
Learn to use the language they understand. Learn to refer to the things they like. Sing for them and dance for them. Play videos for them. Discuss trending memes with them.
The methods you adopt will help you reach out to, impact and rescue them. I would have dropped out of school and people would have concluded that I wasn’t smart enough. It took a teacher with unconventional methods to prove that I was smart enough to graduate.
Remember, it was not part of her job to pay my fees, but she did it all the same.
Never conclude on a student, no matter how uncooperative or unproductive he is. Some day, that same student will surprise you! Every dog has his day.
Keep up with your lesson notes and instructional materials, but don’t be limited by them. Don’t remain in the box. Learn to connect. Go (think) out of the box. The students yearn to connect with the human side of you, not the robotic part.
Have a fulfilling Friday!