School Visit Reflection – Discuss the greatest challenge and reward as a teacher
Charmaine Tin (Third from left on the last row) – B.Ed. (Liberal Studies) Programme Year 4 Student Teacher
After the LSED school visit to Valtorta College, I think building a good relationship with students is both the biggest challenge and reward as a teacher. A good relationship does not necessarily mean being friends with students but instead, achieving mutual respect with them. I think this is especially important for new teachers. Mr Wong, who led us on the day of the visit, also mentioned that it takes time for teachers to figure out a suitable way to interact with students such that they are willing to listen and communicate in class. If there are 30 students in a class, there would be 30 different personalities. An ideal teacher would be able to treat students as individuals but not just part of “the students”. This is also what I would like to achieve as a teacher. However, I figured that it will be difficult to carry out a lesson effectively at the beginning stage for a new teacher because we lack experience in leading a class and taking care of different types of students. I am glad that Mr Wong shared his experience in responding to students who are unwilling to cooperate or are lagging behind during class. I have learned from him that it is always nice to spare more lesson time for discussion. Students can hear from more perspectives on the issue through collaboration. They are also more confident in answering questions after the question is discussed and the answer is agreed among their groupmates. If a student is unable to answer a question, Mr Wong suggested we can allow him to discuss with his partners for a minute before answering again. He highly recommended short discussion activities because pauses and a slow teaching pace give students more opportunities to digest and think about the issue. Besides, students who doze off and lagged behind would also have time to catch up. This is a good way of treating students that lack confidence or easily lose focus in general.
As a reward, I think the relationship with students contributes to the greatest satisfaction in the teaching career. I think secondary school teachers do have a lasting impact on students’ future, from whether I can teach a subject well to whether I can make a student like a subject so that they work hard for it. More than that, when students consult me for their career choices, whether I am able to guide them in the right way is also important. If I have a good relationship with students, students would trust me and listen to my earnest words about life as I have gone through their stages. Seeing students become better people under my influence would be the greatest reward as a teacher.
Ho Hoi Lam (Leftmost on the last row) – B.Ed. (Liberal Studies) Programme Year 4 Student Teacher