Picture credit: Pn Intan Haryati
Very early on in her career, a teacher is faced with an incredibly difficult choice – determining how she is going to present herself to her students.
Does she take on the no-nonsense approach? The kind of teacher that the students can’t mess around with… The kind of teacher that students listen to and respect, because when she says something she means it…
Or does she take on the friendly teacher approach, where the students all like her and like to be around her because she is so fun and sporting?
It may not seem like a big deal to the experienced teachers among us, but trust me, sometimes this is what determines what type of teacher a teacher trainee will be in their career.
Let’s look at two stereotypes.
TYPE A: THE LAWMAKER.
The Pros: When you choose this option to shape what type of teacher you are going to be, you will have a much easier time in the classroom. Students are generally quiet when you are in class, because they know you are going to knock their blocks off if they misbehave. This does wonders for classroom control and classroom management. You will find that your homework is done usually on time, and the students will be very polite in front of you for fear of incurring your famous temper, that could lead them from the shame and embarrassment of open class humiliation to the possible sharp, vicious pain of the rod (rotan/rattan) on their butt-cheeks as they are sent to the Discipline Master, or worse, the Principal. You rule.
The Cons: It is true that students listen to you, and fear you, but they may not necessarily respect you or love you. They may be well-behaved in front of you but will definitely be whispering words that would make a nun blush behind your back. In some schools, some students go as far as puncturing your car tyres, or even worse scratching deep gashes into that Proton that you love so much. You may rule, but you do so at your own peril.
TYPE B: THE BEST FRIEND
The Pros: Click here if you want your students to like you. Choose this approach, become the darling of your students, and get the most presents on Teachers’ Day. One is usually able to deduce this by the amount of Hinode Shop trinkets that litter your desk. You’ve got it all, from tiny panda keychains to windmills that chime like a music box when you wind the blades. You are the saviour of all Hinode Shop outlets. Moreover, students smile and greet you with warm words when they see you. If you’re lucky, they will genuinely develop love for you in due time.
The Cons: While you are the darling of their hearts, this does not guarantee that the students will listen to what you say. In fact, ask any experienced teacher and she will tell you the exact opposite. The nicer you are, the more students are inclined to believe that they can exert power over you. This means more students not doing homework, more students not listening to what you say in the class, more students telling themselves “oh, she won’t mind” when they go against your rules. As an added slap in the face, when they start slacking off, their grades start to suffer too. When this happens, guess who is going to take the fall. Yup.. that’s right… You. But your students will like you, don’t worry about that…
There are of course other stereotypes, other templates to choose from, but the main decision would usually lie somewhere between these two routes.
What is important is to experiment early on in your careers which approach works best with which type of students. Trust me when I say that no two students are the same. Just ask any of the experienced teachers out there.
So, which one do you think you are?