Posts tagged ‘Teaching’

Special Education

If you want to be a special educator, you should be pretty special yourself. For teaching special children requires you to have all the qualities that make a great kindergarten or primary schoolteacher – patience, creativity, and so on – but in far larger quantities. Plus a whole bunch of other attributes – sensitivity, understanding, empathy…

Teaching Special Children

If teaching is a noble profession, if imparting knowledge is a blessed vocation, if molding young and impressionable minds is a responsibility bigger than any other, then special educators are the noblest, most blessed, and most responsibility-ridden teachers of them all.

Cheerfully taking under their wings those children of a lesser God who need special care, affection and education, these courageous, dedicated men and women make it their business to see that their wards learn to be self-reliant, making full use of opportunity and with hope, and as normal as their various disabilities permit them.

Special educators teach the visually-impaired, the hearing- impaired, the mentally-challenged in all their forms, and the physically-disabled. They also teach children with learning disabilities like dyslexia. Their job is as much about teaching these children their ABC as it is about teaching them to dress themselves, to board buses and cross the street themselves independently, to speak even if they cannot hear, to pick up a phone and call for help, and, in some cases, simply to hold a pencil tight. Not only do special educators have to build their wards’ knowledge bases, but they also have to build their self-confidence and self-esteem.

A special educator’s entire efforts are geared more towards the all-round development of their wards and less towards making them toppers at the school or university level. And since there are no special colleges for their students, these teachers work hard to ensure that their special children will fit into normal colleges and normal society by the time they leave their hands, so that they will have all the opportunities that other children have in life.

Are you a ‘special educator’ material?

Special educators learn to live with unhappiness and occasional depression and gloom at the injustice of it all, but also learn to overcome it so that they pass on only cheerfulness and hope to their students. But they all swear that even the occasional triumph – the first time a visually-impaired student walked into a bank and deposited a cheque, the first time a hearing-impaired student turned his lips perfectly and said the words back to them, the first time a spastic child buttoned her shirt on her own, the time one of their students quit the special school to join a normal school after passing an entrance exam – is enough to make all their years of effort worthwhile.

If you want to become a special educator, you should:

#First of all realize that the job is far from easy – The biggest joy of teaching is the response from your students, but in a special educator’s job, such responses may not be as quick, as extensive or as dramatic as those in a regular teacher’s job.

#Be very patient and calm, especially as each day will be quite different from any other and quite unpredictable altogether.

#Be very tough mentally – Children in your care may frequently exhibit extreme and unexpected reactions to situations, and you simply cannot afford to get rattled by such an occasion.

#Not be judgmental. It is not your students’ faults that they are the way they are.

#Be very sensitive to your students’ feelings.

#At the same time, harden your heart against feeling sorry for them, realizing that what they want is not your pity but your affection, your respect, and your support in turning them into worthy citizens of the society with a minimum of problems.


February 11, 2009 at 7:12 am Leave a comment

Teaching: Introducion

What is best about teaching?
A career in teaching is hugely rewarding for all the usual reasons, and for a whole lot of unusual ones too. The usual reasons? One, the respect earned from the students, if you are a teacher who knows their subject to perfection. Two, the admiration of your students, if you not only know your subject thoroughly, but can also help them learn it well. Three, the love of your students, if you can go beyond your defined role of the teacher and can inspire and guide them on more important things in life – courage, integrity, self-confidence, self-esteem, tolerance. Four, the opportunity to work with other highly educated people in an intellectually stimulating environment.
The unusual reasons? One, you are in great company – several Indian heroes from Dronacharya and Chanakya to Dr S. Radhakrishnan were teachers. Secondly, several Nobel Prize winners are teachers! Like all research scientists, they too have teaching as a major part of their responsibilities. Third, a good teacher is always in demand, wherever she moves to. Fourth, a teacher doesn’t need any infrastructure to begin functioning; all she needs is a student. The fifth is that teaching usually has such good working hours that teachers have ample time to pursue their other interests as well, whether it is reading or carpentry or research or an MBA by correspondence. And they can be home along with their kids!

How to become a Teacher?
If you think about it logically, it is simply a matter of having been a student of the same subject yourself. For example, if you have a postgraduate degree in engineering, you are qualified to teach engineering students. If you have been through a particular course in a computer training institute, you are qualified to teach that course. (Of course, this rule doesn’t always apply – just because you have gone through kindergarten, you can’t begin teaching toddlers!)
But in reality, things are not that simple. While the basic requirement is that you have been a student of the subject yourself, there are also exams you have to take and courses you have to do – a course in Montessori education or an ECCE (Early Child Care and Education) to teach pre-school students, a DEd (Diploma in Education) or a BEd (Bachelor in Education) to teach in primary and secondary schools, an MSc or more to teach the higher classes, and a whole set of different degrees if you want to be in special education – before you are considered ‘teacher material’, at least as far as mainstream education is concerned.

Are you teacher material?
To be a good teacher, you should be:
#Eager to learn – Teachers have huge opportunities for learning – from their students, from their peers, and from all the resources (libraries, courses, exchange programmes) that they have access to. It is up to you to grab the opportunities with both the hands and use them to further yourself.
#Open-minded – There is always another way, perhaps even a better way, to do things that you already do, but you will discover it only by being open-minded, and by keeping communication channels with your students wide open. Being obstinate that only your way is the best way will only stunt your personal growth.
#More of a guide and less of a teacher – There are three ways to teach – you tell your student what to do (good), you show your student how something is done (better), you suggest something and let your student discover things for himself or herself (the best way).
#In love with teaching – Are you the person your friends come to when they need a difficult concept explained? Do you enjoy explaining it to them? Do they understand? Then you probably will make a great teacher.

You should not:
#Look at teaching as a job – If you do, you will only be concerned with things like completing the syllabus, never mind if your students haven’t understood even 50% of what you have been teaching.
#Be indifferent about the subject you are teaching – The best teachers are those who themselves are passionate about what they are teaching. That passion will ensure that you try out all kinds of different methods of teaching, anything to make sure your students get passionate about the subject as well.

January 24, 2009 at 4:41 am Leave a comment