Many consider teaching an admirable mission. However, only a few truly understand the intricacy the profession requires. Teaching, in practice, involves much hard work and sensitivity as teachers not only provide academic and intellectual growth for students. They also need to be empathic to students’ personal needs. Teachers are ordinary people, and the pressures of their work can affect them. They also need help and guidance to become better teachers.
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Studies have been made to explore and improve teachers’ teaching methods. Some focus on how teachers relate to students. Others focus on teaching’s external aspect as revealed by students’ exam scores. One such research is Laumakis and Herman’s. They found out that teachers’ professional development gained from workshops like Increasing Achievement on Algebra Assessment (IAAA) have a notable effect on student’s academic ability (Laumakis & Herman, 2008). Trainings increase teachers’ knowledge. In turn, this gives them new teaching method options and more information to share to their students.
Teaching is one part scholarly endeavor, and one part classroom management. Often underrated, classroom management is integral in students’ learning. According to Hollingsworth, managerial understanding between teachers and students has to be established before they can concentrate on academics (cited in Theriot & Tice, 2009).
Classroom management relies on teachers’ ability to gain their students’ cooperation to perform academic tasks and refrain from disruptive behavior. Gregory and Ripski found that trust between teacher and student leads to cooperation. Students who trust teachers see them as legitimate authority figures that they should respect and follow. Trust can lead to teachers’ awareness of students’ emotional cues and ability to use this knowledge to prevent conflicts (Gregory & Ripski, 2008).
Trainings can introduce teachers to new teaching methods and the best approaches for connecting with students. However, real-life implementation of what has been learned is still uncertain and dependent on a teacher’s prior experience. Through interviews, Theriot and Tice discovered how teachers’ personal philosophies are changed by what they learn form workshops. However, classroom observations revealed the disparity between teachers’ philosophies and actual teaching methods (Theriot & Tice, 2009).
Our school’s consistent poor ratings in state exams could be attributed to the absence of faculty formation programs and workshops. Laumakis and Herman’s research proved that teachers’ training can significantly influence students’ scores. Students taught by IAAA-trained teachers scored 13.2 points higher than those taught by non-trained teachers (Laumakis & Herman, 2008). I believe that teachers who are able to expand their knowledge by undergoing training can pass on to their students more lessons and techniques. Teachers can help improve students’ learning only by improving what and how they teach.
Trainings also help teachers by informing them how to form trust relationships with their students. Students’ disruptive behavior and habitual disobedience to school regulations is a constant problem in my school. Often my school takes the easy way out by suspending the students without trying to understand reasons for the student’s actions. Gregory and Ripski warn that this bodes for long-term negative results for the student such as having low achievements, dropping out of school, and becoming involved with illegal activities (Gregory & Ripski, 2008).
Teachers need to understand that student discipline do not have to always come from rigorous rules and procedures. They need to see the importance of cooperation and trust in managing their students. Theriot and Tice stress that teachers should also be aware of how their own beliefs and behavior affect how students learn and what teachers teach (Theriot & Tice, 2009).
Educators are not spared from also needing instructions and trainings to improve their craft. Teachers need to persistently improve their teaching capabilities and classroom management to be able to help their students improve as well.
Gregory, A. & M. B. Ripski. (2008). Adolescent trust in teachers: Implications for behavior in the high school classroom. School Psychology Review, 37(3), 337-353.
Laumakis, P. & M. Herman. (2008). The effect of a calculator training workshop for high school teachers on their students’ performance on Florida state-wide assessments. International Journal for Technology in Mathematics Education, 15(3), 87-93.
Theriot, S. & K. C. Tice. (2009). Teachers’ knowledge Development and change: Untangling beliefs and practices. Literacy Research and Instruction, 48, 65-75.See More on Educators, Project