The need for teachers to maintain a positive outlook during classes
For my usually optimistic self, AS Level Physics came as a culture shock. My tuition teacher would never miss the opportunity to remind us how tough Physics really is. Needless to say, this affected my final results, with me ending up massively underperforming in a subject I was always strong in.
Teachers being incessantly negative in the classroom erodes students' confidence. Faced with a seemingly impossible task, students start to doubt their abilities and lose interest in overcoming the difficult topics altogether. Over time, fear creeps into their minds, they start overthinking even the simplest of problems and mistakes become a theme in their answer scripts.
I don't imply that teachers should delude the students into a false sense of security- quite the contrary, in fact.
The lessons naturally get tougher as students climb the rungs of academia. Even then, the lessons must be presented in a positive, inclusive environment.
It can happen only when teachers stop taking a pessimistic outlook. This is especially prevalent in their treatment of weaker students. They are often left to fend for themselves as teachers rush to complete the syllabus on time. Sometimes, when these students approach their teachers for help, they're simply told to handle the problem by themselves or reach out to another teacher.
Marooning weak students when they need help is never in the ethos of education. Not only does it demoralise the class, but also sends out the wrong message.
Our classrooms have long been accused of being emotionless, with no room for creativity. Instead of telling students to aim low, they should centre their discussions around positive, healthy topics. This can get students interested in discussions and foster a spirit of curiosity and genuine passion for learning.
Another way of making classes interesting and the topics easy to understand would be to use different analogies to help explain concepts. For instance, my Biology teacher would use fun analogies to help us develop a deep understanding of topics as complex as DNA synthesis, oxidative phosphorylation and advanced studies of photosynthesis.
Despite all these measures, blandness can often creep up during monotonous lectures. After all, the human mind is a mystery complex which keeps on evolving thoughts every second. In much the same way, adding some humorous anecdotes can go a long way towards maintaining that positive environment. This has worked well with me in my Chemistry lessons, with my teachers' witty remarks renewing my attention every now and then.
As for my Physics experience, the biggest polarisation came in the shape of my A2 teacher. Although I didn't achieve my expected grade, I haven't given up on a comeback. One of the best ways I felt motivated over the past month was how he always appreciated us students for answering a question or presenting challenging queries. In my opinion, this is an underrated trait for any teacher.
Students like to be noticed by their teacher in a positive light. By appreciating them, teachers build a healthy, competitive environment which helps coax out students' creativity.
Over time, this can improve their results and even help shape their personalities. Having a positive classroom makes students optimistic, which helps prepare them for the adversaries they might face. Teachers must realise it's their duty to teach the students properly, whilst fostering the kind of optimistic mindset required for success in the students' later lives.
Inqiad is a student of BAF SEMC.