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In every staff room there will be a mix of people who have committed themselves to educate children. In Nepal this commitment arrives through various channels - some profound and informed and others by a more uncertain route.    It will be rare that a teacher will, her/himself, have had a quality role model on which to base their emergent classroom practice. This disadvantage suggests an sharing approach to staff development, which I will mention later.

The one imperative trait that all teachers choosing this career should have, is a love and ENJOYMENT of children. The second is responsibility.  When I was researching for my MA on Professional Values in the Tarai, I asked student teachers how they interpreted responsibility and reliability and they overwhelmingly said that punctuality displayed these qualities. Of course one has to agree that a punctual person is reliable, but a reliable teacher can also bring fear and gloom !  Reliability needs to accompany a dedicated and friendly approach.

Schools in Nepal still need to employ unqualified teachers to make up their quota. This need not dilute the quality of the school. Unfortunately the proportion of trained teachers in a specific school is often seen as reflecting the standard of education offered there. Of course it should be an indication of teaching effectiveness, but a kindly personality and enthusiasm are great motivators !

  1. Self value . Every teacher is an essential part of the team. It has been said that teaching is a lonely profession, but the classroom walls should not shut out the team work and contribution that needs to be made to other activities within the school. The best teacher is not the one who has the most students achieving the highest marks. S/he is the one who helps all her/his students achieve the highest levels of which they are capable. This is not quantifiable. Teaching a mixed ability class is challenging . Apart from patience, it demands methodologies  that may not have been taught in teacher training college. The teacher needs to be confident enough to assess her success through her knowledge of her students and their efforts rather than through their exam results.                                                                         
  2. The Team.  The team of teachers and management come together with no concern for compatibility.  The mix of personalities and teaching styles will give a vitality to the school.  As a new teacher, one is inclined to hang on to the methods that one has experienced oneself. It is the task of the management and more experienced teachers to give new-comers the confidence to allow their personality to colour their own style of teaching . The curriculum is waiting for this colour! This brings an integrity to the class and eliminates the boredom caused by a repetitive teacher-centred approach.

Equal sharing of responsibilities is essential. There will always be staff who are more enthusiastic and energetic, but it is an important duty of management to prevent a few teachers carrying the full load of extra-curriculum activities particularly.

One of the duties that should be absorbed by the management team is teaching themselves in a supporting role. Teachers need school time to mark books / prepare lessons / put up displays of children’s work / give individual help to a child within a lesson and most of all, to observe and/or participate in another teacher’s class. This sharing is essential and these other ‘out-of-teaching’ activities are in every way as important as the work done in the classroom. They prepare the teacher for his/her work – they feed the imagination and the resolve of the teacher.

The work   I always remember a head teacher saying to me when I joined a new school as a young recruit. Here we try to keep in mind ‘MTTTMSTT’ which means ‘Minimise Teacher Talking Time – Maximise Student Talking Time”. For those teachers who only want to hear their own voice in the classroom, it doesn’t sound good. But those who truly understand the verbal role played in learning will see the sense in planning discussion / debate / performance in their lessons.  

Alternate the 4 skills in your lesson plan…..reading / writing / listening/ talking…….                                                                                                            

Keep your objectives short and clear                                                                    

       Time limits are useful “You have 10 mins to finish this”                                               

       If the seating arrangement is not conducive to your planned work , change it.

        In fact change the seating plan occasionally.                                                                  

Your class should never know the way your class will go. This is called ‘creative teaching’ and it is your interpretation of the curriculum text .

This is your true value.                                                                                              

Materials have not been mentioned because if there are no materials in the store cupboard in your school, your creativity is tested and you will need some time to think of a possible alternative to the suggested equipment. Take heart – there is much that can be done with a pencil and piece of paper !

The biggest most important and treasured resource in a school is the teacher!                                                                                                                                                                              


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