FEATURES FOR TEACHERS
Features For New Teachers
Volume 3, Issue 21
dealt with all types of students from the categories of Profound, Severe,
Moderate, Mild, but specially I have worked with “The Border Line”
students who want their rights; who face the major problems in every
society in every community; who want their creativity to explore in
front of others; who awaits the love from others; who wants others
to accept them as a Normal Being.
journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”. “Chinese
that chance of Volunteer Service for these beloved special children was
the first step of mine towards my journey to work for their RIGHTS.
believe that every individual can make a difference”.
thank God that these lovely students trusted me, gave me the bond of
relationship, and accepted me whole-heartedly in just my first year of
Volunteer Service. They shared all of their problems with me and I thank
God for giving me the special power for being accepted by them.
have heard their voices, their shivered pleadings, their wishes, their
expectations. But still, they need every one in the society to hear
them, to care for them and to love them.
had even faced many problems from our community while working for their
could say this:
"Though I am young, but even then I am mature"
can’t do every thing in this world but yes I have brought a little
change in their lives, which is the big reward for me.
want to be their voice to tell you all the problems, which all the
special people are facing. The problems, which need to be resolute,
could only be possible by joining hands together.
want to share my experiences with you, that in what way I have helped
few of my community special students of “borderline” to bring change
in their lives and I would like to share my efforts and my initiative
in order to create awareness among community people about their problems, I worked with
special children and identified the problems, which they are facing.
I wrote an article "I ADORE SPECIAL PEOPLE WHY DON’T YOU?"
I participated in the workshops in which I presented a speech on special
people in front of their parents. I faced many problems because I came
to know that many of the special students were disheartened because their
parents do not understand them.
AM ADDING SOME OF THE EXAMPLES OF MY BELOVED SPECIAL CHILDREN, WHOSE
LIFE HAS BROUGHT LITTLE CHANGE THROUGH MY EFFORTS AND NOW THEY ARE
LEADING A GOOD LIFE WITH A LOT OF CONFIDENCE.
weeps, their words, their expressions, their gestures; all had made me
realized just one thing that still in Pakistan in all the major
communities, SPECIAL PEOPLE ARE NOT TREATED AS NORMAL HUMAN BEINGS.
have brought changes in few lives, but the question is, who will solve
the problems and issues of all the special people of every community?
Who will guide them?
will not be disclosed; therefore I am using ALPHABETIC REPRESENTATIONS
on the behalf of their names.
of the experiences, which I would like to share, is the experience of
one beautiful girl:
is 25 years old. Her parents and family friends always discouraged her
in many of her personal decisions. She is a “Border line” female
student. Her family treated her very badly during her early age.
because of seeing the family fights since from her early age, she had
her first Epilepsy attack at the age of 10. She bears many hardships and
had faced many physical punishments from her family. She was the first
student of mine whom I studied very carefully. She wanted to participate
that, I went to her family, talked with them, and made them realize
about their insanity, which made her daughter fearful. I told her family
about the talents, which their daughter had. She was medically treated
for her epilepsy and free medicines were provided to her by MY COMMUNITY
HOSPITAL. I trained her for sports. From that day, her life changed and
after continuous efforts and with her family positive gesture, she
participated in “The World Olympics” in 2004,and won a medal too. The
smile, which was seen on her face, was the first victory of my effort,
which made me realize that at least I have brought a little change in
her life. She firstly shared her victory with me, which was the
precious virtual reward for me.
she is working at her neighbor’s house and earn around $100 a month.
She has her own mobile, which she bought from her own salary. She is
also a volunteer coach of our Community.
next girl is “B”. She had many traumatic experiences, which she had
personally shared to me in her counseling session. Her wish is to MARRY
and to GET SOCIAL SECURITY.
is a brave girl, not special from mind. My question is:
she is borderline student, I guess she is a normal child. She thinks,
she evaluates everything and understands many things.
she went to her aunt with whom she lives. Her mom is always busy in her
work and her father is not alive. Her aunt ignores this serious issue.
“B” wants FREEDOM OF SPEECH. She wanted to express her feelings.
Many denied the serious issue, which she was facing.
also wants to marry in her life but still her family doesn’t want to
talk about this matter.
I insane? Who am I? Where I am? Why me?
questions were spoken by one of the next brilliant student of mine
“C” who is again a “borderline” child and had many wishes to go
on. But because of NO JOB PLACEMENT for him and a NON SUPPORTIVE FAMILY,
HE DECLARES HIMSELF AS A MENTAL, ILLITERATE, USELESS CREATURE ON THE
EARTH. I taught him for 7 years and he is a true friend of mine. The
problems, which he is facing in the community and society, are:
HE WANTS TO GO ABROAD. His wish is to see the world. Even though his
family had been many times abroad but never took him with them because
in their view their child is MENTALLY RETARDED. Secondly HE WANTS A GOOD
JOB. Thirdly, HE WANTS TO TRAVEL BY BUS INDEPENDENTLY. He also wants to
laugh and wants his family to love him. He wanted others to make him a friend. He also wants to participate in sports.
WANTS TO REMOVE THE TERM “SPECIAL” FROM THIS SOCIETY.
still remember that when
“The World Trade Center” was abashed and I didn’t know this
news, this guy came to me and told me that, "
sentence shocked me and I asked him how he knew? He told me that he saw
it on TV and sharing with you that was why people are creating such riots in
this world, and this is bad.
these words ever spoken by the insane?
is normal. I declare it and I mean it.
is normal and perfectly all right. I asked him who entered you in our
community special school?
answered me that his mom admitted him in special committee.
told me that he is not special and he doesn’t like his parents for this
kind of behavior towards him.
wants to start his own business for that he asked many times to his
family to help him and to the community people as well but no one showed
him positive gesture for help.
I DID FOR HIM?
taught him the jute work on bottle. He did that and started selling it
in our community and in this way, he started his own small business. He
wanted to participate in sports. I taught him badminton and bocce and by
the grace of GOD, he participated in ALL Pakistan Special Sports
in the year 2003. He needs a friend and he got me as a friend and many
of my other students whom I give religious studies in our community also
talks with him humbly and love him very much.
whenever he meets me, I see a magnificent smile on his face. He wants just
one thing that is the support from his family, which is still missing.
He wants to sit in bus.
He earns around $20 every month from his jute bottle work. When his
family came to know about it, they threatened him not to do so because
according to his family it’s an insulted work and they don’t want
him to sell his hand-made decorated bottles in the market. His big
brother has slapped him too, but still he is struggling for his rights
and selling his bottles.
want to ask every parents in this world that if their child is normal,
can also think, can imagine every thing, then why community and family
pressure is still in every society creating a barrier for them?
don’t have their own world of thought. They are also the part of us.
little change I have brought in his life?
more student “D” who starts using drugs because of the carelessness
of his family. He was not special but just because of the changes in his
behavior; his family took him to enter the special school. His dream was
to STUDY IN A NORMAL SCHOOL but his family shattered it. He wanted to
work, but he was discouraged by many community people and in social
gatherings by commenting him as a mental. He is now 20 years old.
that I brought in his life.
met his family who cooperated with me and now he is studying in the
normal school in class 6. He is actively participating in community
service and he is now also the member of WORLD SCOUT. The great thing is
that HE IS NOW LIVING A NORMAL LIFE.
...Munir's article will
continue next month with Part 2...
...Munir's article will continue next month with Part 2...
This is part two of a three part look at what teaching is all about.
I think we live in one of the most exciting times when it comes to education. The students are changing in ways that challenge us to look at what we are doing in the classroom and make changes when needed. From outside the classroom we are being held accountable for what we are doing. Basically, we are being called to be a professional. Never before have we had so much learning available for us outside a classroom. In the past we had to take classes and read textbooks written by people that hadn’t been in the classroom for awhile. True, we’re still called to take classes. But now, as teachers, we can interact with professional learning communities online, take classes online, and share with other colleagues from around the globe our successes and failures so that we can improve what we do.
And what do we do? We educate kids. Our whole focus should be on the student. Without them we’re out of a job. In Part 1 of this article written last month I challenged you to think about whether your motivation was to just get through the curriculum, or educate the student. It’s an easy trap to fall into with all the pressures being brought to bear on the teaching profession today.
Another problem is that the way we were taught in school doesn’t work well with today’s digital students. Dave Warlick, a nationally renowned educational speaker, made some interesting statements in his Oct. 16th blog I’d like to quote: “I think that it’s part of the job. It is my job, as a teacher, to be able to teach today — to be skilled at using today’s information technologies within today’s information environments and apply pedagogies that reflect today’s information environments. We suffer from the myths of old world education, that you go to school so that you will be prepared for the next 30 or 35 years. But the teacher we are at graduation from college, is not necessarily the teacher we need to be five years later. Those days are long behind us — and I think that the job has become a whole lot more exciting as a result.”
He ended his blog with another statement that sums
up what I’m talking about. And again I quote: “It’s
part of the job of the teacher to continue to grow,” then we can get
on with the far more interesting question, “What does the school and
classroom look like where learning is what you see
happening, not teaching — where learning stops being
a job, and, instead, becomes a lifestyle.”
To help students learn, I need to focus on my learning. If I expect to be told what to do all the time, that is what I will expect out of my students. If I work on becoming a self-directed learner, I will help my students to do the same. These are the skills of the 21st century. Focusing on the learning, and not on the teaching, has helped me focus more on the individual student. With student centered learning it’s great to hear from the students and guide them like a coach in the learning process. It’s exciting to walk by each group of students and hear them discussing the focus question and helping each other to understand the material. They are now engaged in the learning process, not just checking out as I stand up there lecturing. Students today are interactive. Is their learning interactive or one sided? Do you follow the textbook, or do you look for a way that meets the needs of your students and how they learn? That is where we, as teachers, become the professional. We need to always be looking for the strategies that help our students learn.
The educational term being used today is differentiated instruction. This isn’t a bad thing. When you begin to operate this way you will get to know your students better. Have you ever asked them what they liked when it comes to teaching strategies? I work with fifth graders and they have no problem telling me. When I reflect on what they have said and use their feedback, I find a more motivated student. All of us understand the importance of motivation.
My goal as a teacher is to engage every student anytime there is learning taking place. What I have found is the more engaged they are the less I have to deal with discipline issues. My students work in pairs and groups most of the time. I will ask a question and then move around the room as they work on it. Sitting at my desk is rarely an option. There are times where they work on something by themselves, but I allow them to ask questions of their fellow classmates or myself when needed.
This hasn’t always been the way I’ve taught. I was a lecture type teacher for many years. I was never satisfied though, but didn’t know any other way. After all, that was how I was taught. I then took an on-line class on helping students to become self-directed learners. Then, as I read more about the expectations of the work world and 21st century skills it all began to come together. I will tell you it is a work in progress, and I haven’t arrived yet, but it is exciting. I’ve shared with other teachers and we are learning together. More teachers are joining us, one teacher at a time.
So now it’s time to make your choice. Jump in and begin the change. It’s a process that doesn’t happen overnight, but will happen. Get involved in some of the online educational forums. There’s plenty of support and help out there online.
In the next article I will be talking about
formative and summative assessment and some of the tools available to
help you get to know where each of your students is at any given time.
This topic has been hotly debated recently in the International
Reading Association newsletter. I'm not trying to enter this debate.
This article will simply describe what we in our school have observed
and detail what we've done in our classes that has worked for our
First off, let your students choose what they read, whether it is a
book, magazine, or whatever. It makes a huge difference in peaking their
interest. Teachers already give (and require) plenty of specific
readings through activities, literature, and in textbooks.
Students need the opportunity to read about what interests them, and
this can occur when you allow them to choose what they want to read.
By all means, continue with your regular activities, but find a way to
give your students time (in class is best) to read on their own.
Interested in FREE writing activities you can print out and use
immediately in your classroom? Simply click the following link to our
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future depends on what we do in the present."
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Preparing for Student Teaching
Technology & Teaching: Seamless Integration into Curriculum
Getting Ready for Next Year
Setting Up Your Classroom
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