Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Lessons from Ducks to a Teacher

In our school we have some ducks and geese who constantly parade in the pond and on campus, so I was quite eager to know what might be the purpose of putting these geese in the school. It was Friday, quite a tiring day; I sat on one of the benches near the pond in the evening. It was relaxing to watch the children playing and listen to the birds singing. In the pond there were few ducks. 

As I observed these beautiful aquatic birds, I thought of a few principles that I think even teacher a needs to learn from them. I would like to share those with my young teaching fraternity who have to manage their students’ learning while keeping their own sanity intact. So here are some lessons that I have gathered from the ducks.  Teaching may be an intimidating profession even for experienced hands. For new faculty, it can be a daily battle just to keep their heads above the water.

Smooth on top, paddling energetically underneath

If you watch a duck, it looks as though it is sailing smoothly on the surface of the water with little difficulty. But on closer observation, you realize that they are paddling very hard under the water to reach their destination. Likewise, a teacher should put all his or her effort to ensure the class is going smoothly. Teachers need to work hard to make teaching appear smooth.  Such a disposition requires empathy and emotional intelligence. A teacher can be stressed and frustrated but on the surface s/he should show a positive disposition to achieve her/his aim.  The teacher should try to unlock the potential of the child.

Young teachers, your colleagues are your best resources. Do not be afraid to ask for help. They have many experiences, stories, strategies and innovative teaching methods that they can share with you. If you want to learn from them, feel free to ask and open yourself to new experiences. You need to create a culture of sharing and collaborating for your personal success and for the success of the student you teach. 

Duck feathers - as resilient as they come

Duck feathers are renowned for their resilience to water. Teachers should have similar levels of resilience. If you are overwhelmed by issues such as managing classes and controlling your students’ behavioral problems, try not to conclude that you are incapable of handling them. Here is some sound advice on how to maintain your equilibrium: 

o   Do not get involved with any arguments with the students.
o   Do not give incorrect information. If you do not know the answer to a question, it is okay to say so, or ask the class if anyone knows the answer.  If not, tell them that you will check and get back with the answer in next class.
This will create a good image and help you improve your personality.

Heads down…

Ducks, in order to survive; need to put their heads down below the surface of the water to reach for food sources.  Likewise, teachers need to update themselves with new technology in teaching and different strategies of learning.  Do participate in every professional development programme available in the school. Professional development not only improves your teaching skills and practice, it helps you to develop bonds with other faculty members who are more experienced.  Further, you will acquire good knowledge of different strategies and skills of effective teaching.  It is also of paramount importance that teachers respect their students and also understand that the Z generation is more technology oriented than we are. Each student is capable of being an achiever - if you are willing to help her or him unravel his or her potential and skills - and facilitate the student’s journey to achieving excellence in the course of his or her learning. 

Ducklings always follow others

I always notice that the little ones follow an adult duck, that may be its mother or an older duck. I read somewhere that once the duckling is hatched, it invariably follows the first thing it sees and remains attached to it. This is called imprinting. Similarly, teachers should develop a personality which your students can role model. Your one-day absence from class should be felt by the students.  In order to create such an impact, you need to be approachable and accessible; welcoming teacher-student interaction.  An approachable teacher with a sense of humor is a trait that young ones would prefer to someone who is unapproachable and dour.  Such an approach goes a long way in increasing students’ efficiency and good grade points.
                                                                                      Madhusoodana. Sunnambala

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