I remember various achievements when employed as a head teacher at a primary school that highlighted the importance of teamwork and how individuals affected each other as a team. One example in a previous school I was employed at was the requirements as a team to complete student expected outcomes. The school ask me as headteacher to work with fourteen other foreign teachers to complete expected outcomes within the school’s curriculum to enable a character analysis of each student.
Numerous expected outcomes for each student meant high volumes of administration. Each student had separate expected outcomes to be completed and a separate grading book for each class. I had seven separate classes with 147 students to grade accordingly. All other homeroom teachers received high administration work but were asked to work together as a team. It was this outstanding teamwork that helped us achieve a perfect analysis of each student.
I found teamwork important when working with expected outcomes as each student needed to be graded fairly with complete awareness from me their teacher. All teachers in very school should discuss their student’s skills in order to have an effective plan to assign various agreed work tasks that work close to other teacher’s areas of teaching. I found that efficiently implementing agreed work tasks with other teachers became a great practice. I’ll admit that a number of expected outcomes at Saint Francis Xavier School were extremely high and meant less time for lesson preparation and activities due to teachers spending huge amounts of time on each student expected outcome. However in saying this I thought the system was effective and worked well for the school ,the teachers and the Ministry of Education but once again it was extremely demanding at times.
Teacher Assistant for Asian Students
I had an amazing teacher assistant in Thailand who was highly respected by the children and other foreign teachers in the lower grade. The students loved her comfortable style of tuition and I remember the reports on each student been accurate and each student’s performance was observed with a good evaluation. The assistant teachers were able to complete student registration and homeroom teachers were to complete expected outcomes for a good indication of how each student was performing in each class. Another memory about my assistant teacher was how she observed the student’s behavioural patterns and assisted me with various teaching styles. I recorded the levels of student development where a range of various learning skills calculated tuition achievements, goals and needs. This meant an improved evaluation of the learning sequence for each child within the classroom environment. The teamwork was fantastic for classroom achievements from students. The truth is if your assistant teacher can see the true effort you place on a student’s education then the relationship becomes extremely beneficial for education and the schools direction overall.
Behavioural management was an excellent system when each student was monitored on the influence on his or her behaviour. Various strategies from both the assistant and classroom teacher were put in place in order to reach a point of positive behaviour management. To reach this area of expertise the effective use of rewards and sanctions were placed upon the curriculum with a reduction of unwanted and disrupted behaviour. I found that these methods allowed each student more time to adapt to the learning environment under an expected time limit. I recall some students needed special care and attention which resulted in more time needed to teach. This wasn’t a problem as other students at this time were working on handouts and needed much less time from me. This strategy gave me more time to deal with the children with special needs. I remember on occasion parents were approached and various solutions were discussed to overcome the problems of students. I recall having an excellent relationship with all parents often meaning parents wanting their students to have me teach their children the following. My relationship with the parents meant the school achieving a higher registration of students each year and been a private school was an excellent method of forming a good relationship with the school’s principle hence me receiving the head teacher position
This strategy gave me more time to deal with the children with special needs. I remember on occasion parents were approached and various solutions were discussed to overcome the problems of students. I recall having an excellent relationship with all parents often meaning parents wanting their students to have me teach their children the following. My relationship with the parents meant the school achieving a higher registration of students each year and been a private school was an excellent method of forming a good relationship with the school’s principle hence me receiving the head teacher position
My expectations as a homeroom teacher for my students depending on how each student behaved in lessons when classes were separated into A and B classes. Students in class A were higher achievers and B the lower achievers but all were from the same grade. One of the remarkable studies I completed was done under discussion with the students from class B.
One afternoon my B students in grade 6 were unusually quiet and I asked them for a reason. One student placed his hand in the air and mentioned that other teachers in the past had not congratulated them on their achievements. I decided to give the students from class B some advice with a quiet speech. I explained that they were more than capable of been great achievers if their assignments continued to follow the guidelines I had them follow. This would reduce the distance between them and class A to become stronger in their studies. I congratulated the students and told them I was thankful for their studies at that point. I explained that they could achieve more than class A and be rewarded with a certificate. The following months were incredible as class B achieved as class A had previous to our discussion, if not a little more. What came next was the reason why I had become a teacher and love to be involved in education.
One day I was playing football with various students outside on the sports field and one student from class B, grade 6 came towards me. He said thanks for everything I had done to motivate him and his classmates to achieve higher grades than class A in grade 6. His actions and voice made me realise he meant his words. I told him that he had completed all assignments to the level required to move on to the next year. Class A had also achieved high grades that year. For me, as a teacher, that moment was the highlight of my career because I had conditioned the lower level class to compete and become more active and successful in their studies and both grades excelled overall with this strategy I implemented into the curriculum.
Teaching Different Levels
Over the years I have taught at most levels from Kindergarten to Business English and even (IELTS) International English Language Testing System. Business English depended on business resources such as training rooms and computers within the business. On occasion, I had to role-play due to lack of learning equipment. The business students I conducted lessons with were within close proximity giving me more time to prepare lessons at home or at the agency I was employed at. I remember teaching from several books that covered interviews, telephone skills, correspondence skills and business role-plays. The senior students found lessons easy to follow and learnt business English to a good level. However, some student’s hadn’t learnt any English previous to the contract and needed extra tuition, therefore as a teacher, it’s always best to think about time management.
When this problem arose classes were separated into various levels and more tuition hours were managed by myself to maintain and improve the lower level students to a suitable level eventually decreasing learning hours overall within the curriculum. I have had some wonderful experiences and taught English at Thailand’s Channel Seven’s broadcasting channel, also an advertising re-touching company and a flight booking, system software business. All memories from these experiences in teaching Business English gave me so much motivation and commitment to my work as a teacher and each contract was handled with care for the student’s needs within their businesses and jobs.
Projects and Learning Activities
During projects, I found it important to observe pupils performance to understand the wide ranges of skills in all areas of development and to understand the sequence of development each student should take. I linked this knowledge with theory and used it to develop my own skills in order to move students towards the development of existing skills and put them into practice with appropriate teams on an equal balance. This in term showed individual learning needs within a group and as an individual.
Various students were given a captaincy role in order to make various decisions on ideas within the project. Some children would rather sit back and be controlled other than be the driver of each project. However, the projects I initiated were that of a group even though individual students were graded on their captaincy and development skills. My assistant teacher asked for permission before making formal observations of individual students because I needed to initiate timing against ability so that students could perform at their highest standard within the implemented time frame.
To develop into healthy, considerate and intelligent adults I found my students required intellectual stimulation as well as physical care and emotional security, especially the younger students in lower grades. The pupils I worked with were able to constantly think and learn whilst gathering new information and formulate new ideas for themselves. Also during activities, students were able to explore their environment to discover things for themselves. One specification I introduced was an environmental project where students worked as teams to create and produce theme cities built from home products such as plastic bottles, paper and other household waists. The plan was to build a city that would show huge improvements to the environment it’s people and the whole system.
I chose Singapore as an example of a city that is clean safe and of the mixed ethnic population. The teams were split into their groups and asked to build their model cities. A writing exercise was also implemented where students had to create a set of rules and procedures as to how their cities citizens were to act to enable a successful environment. The outcome of this project was remarkable and was placed outside the principles office for parents to see. I took photographs at each level so that I could grade the students on their ability to work together and as a team under a time limit.
The children loved my environmental project and even though the standards of each group differed, the students all had good ideas and came up with cities such as Ice City and Mountain River City. The children loved to be able to steer away from typical English lessons to become developers in a more Social Science theme. The students were extremely competitive because incentives were laid down with each team winning various treats. The whole class enjoyed a party with ice cream cakes and music for an afternoon when the project was complete. The principle was overjoyed, I felt proud of the children when the project was complete.
Each team won house points, gifts and as mentioned an afternoon party. Most students wanted to be part of a group and were willing to co-operate with others. I found that my students were also very competitive on behalf of their group, class or team. This type of competition for my students was viewed upon as ‘team spirit’ or demonstrating loyalty to the group. It also improved my relationship with other teachers and other various students due to the excitement this project created
After the environment project was completed I focused on the pupil’s strengths and behavioural difficulties that gave an example towards what a student can do in terms of learning from the project. This in term created a foundation for future learning activities and when students become competitive in the classroom it’s important to explain to students that even though we have separate projects at the end we are all winners.
Teaching meant me passing information then receiving it. The lessons were then interpreted as a meaning or understanding. I have noticed that very young children are not able to use a complex system of symbols; it takes time to learn the system in their home environment. Children use other ways to communicate their needs and feelings to other people, for example, body language, facial expressions and gestures. As a teacher, I have never shouted at a student but rather used body language and facial expressions to calm students down or relay a message of my feelings. Students often use facial expressions and body language, which in time is understood by the teacher as he/she begins to know the student more each day. Language is the key factor and my students were taught to communicate with others, relate to each other, explore the environment, understand concepts, formulate others and express feelings and that is the absolute reason I became a teacher that was successful at all levels and my students are all now grown up with great futures.
Created by Stephen Peter Jones
TEFL Art – The Articulate More Modern Teacher as Arrived!