Teacher Resources » Tips For Professional Behaviour In The Classroom
How should a teacher behave in class?
1. Insist on mutual respect
Respect your students. Does this surprise you? Respecting students means that you do not, ever, laugh at them, humiliate them, degrade them, or scream at them. They are individuals who deserve respect and human treatment. Do not have preconceptions about them as being ignorant or lazy. Think of them as good students, expect good to come out of them, and they will be good in the end.
When the teacher enters the class, normally students stand up and say ‘good morning teacher’. You smile and return their greeting ‘good morning students’ and say ’please sit down’. Teach your students to say ‘please’ when they request something from someone, and to say ‘thank you’ when they are given something or some help. The teacher also has to follow these manners. For example, ‘Mohan, please hand in your work in ten minutes’ and ‘Thank you Mohan’. Students have to be trained to use ‘excuse me’ when they would like to go out to the washroom/toilet. ‘Excuse me teacher, may I please go to the toilet?’ If the teacher finds a student coughing continuously she can ask ‘Would you like to drink some water or go to the washroom/toilet?’ If a student is not listening and playing on a mobile phone, the teacher may just look at this student for a few seconds, and usually the student will put the phone away, or the teacher can confiscate it, according to the school’s rules.
The main point is that your classes should be governed by mutual respect. Gradually, you will see the change in even rowdy students. This is because it is difficult to be rude to a teacher, if the teacher is respectful to the student.
2. Be fair to all: no favouritism
Teachers have to abide by the rule that every student in the class is equal, in their right to be taught, to be attended to, to be scolded if necessary and to be praised. Teachers are human, and it is often easier to teach some students than others. However, that goes against the ethics of teaching. The front benchers who eagerly answers and the backbenchers who are lazier should have the same value in the eyes of the teachers. Praise and compliment a student, whether he is lazy or studious.
This reminds me of an incident I witnessed in a year 8 class in Kerala. A student was asked to read a long Hindi text aloud, and she did it with aplomb. We all expected the teacher to compliment her. Instead, what the teacher said was ‘ Oh! Repeating one year has done you some good’. Apparently, that student was repeating the year since she was weak in Maths. However, if the teacher had said ’that was great reading’, how much difference would have made in that student’s self-esteem, and the love of learning. A repeater deserves praise just like the A* students in the class.
3. Do not use foul language
Never ever use foul language in the class, whatever be the provocation. Use standard, respectable language, and if your language skills need polishing, do some polishing every day. Learn to speak well, and use good words. Your students learn language from the way you speak. In the same way, never, ever allow a student to use foul language in the class. If someone does use foul language, firmly say that it is not acceptable. If he uses it again, ask him to see you after the class. Talk to him why he is using such language. Call his parents if he repeats. If the behaviour does not stop even then, bring it to the attention of the discipline master, or the principal. Never ever allow foul language in your class.
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