Quite a lot, I must say!
Are you a teacher or perhaps looking forward to becoming one and you’re wondering if other teachers have the same worries as you? This article will show you the common concerns of practicing and prospective teachers and how to position yourself to deal with them.
What Do Teachers Worry About?
Like other professions, teachers have their fair share of worries. The most common worries teachers have are:
- The fear that your students may know more than you do
- Your student’s welfare
- Your teaching quality
- The fear of making mistakes
- The fear of coming back to work after a holiday.
The points listed above are just a small fraction of possible concerns. By the end of this article, you’d discover tons of other worries we teachers, could have.
What are the Top Things Teachers Worry About
The Students’ Welfare
First, most teachers worry about their students’ education and general welfare.
The primary reason why you are a teacher is that you have the passion to teach, you want your students to learn from your wealth of knowledge and experience.
Irrespective of the fact that we are hired to teach, most of us find ourselves assuming the role of a disciplinarian, counsellor, and even advocate.
While students may appear to have very similar challenges, the truth is that everyone in your classroom has a unique set of attributes; peculiar to only them.
You can help fix some of these challenges, however, a lot of them likely occur outside your jurisdiction making it hard for you to help.
This, in turn, can affect your state of mind and leave you unduly troubled.
Fortunately, most schools have school psychologists and guidance counsellors; they are best suited to handle such challenges.
Some of the other worries that teachers face are particularly related to ‘learning.’ Several teachers have adapted the use of culturally responsive and differentiated instruction teaching methods to deal with some of these challenges.
You too can adopt these methods and see how far it goes with your students.
Your Teaching Quality
Most teachers spend their working hours working with their students and delivering lessons.
We do research on the topic we want to teach our students, make lesson notes on it, and revise with the students to help them understand it and possibly, commit it to their memory.
Even with all this, it is not uncommon to see a lot of teachers worrying about their method and quality of teaching.
You must be able to do a self-evaluation about ‘what’ you teach your students. Are your lessons up-to-date? Do you use the right methods to deliver your lessons? What were the reactions of the students to your lessons?
An in-depth consideration of these questions will help you fix some loopholes in your teaching method.
I suggest employing Rosenshine’s 10 Principles of Instruction. Very simple ideas but incredibly effective.
If you perceive that the problem is directly from your students, you may want to devise unique methods that work for them. You can use pictures, try to be a bit funny, make them feel relaxed, etc. Just about anything that makes them assimilate your lessons.
This would be of great help to you.
The Fear of Boring Your Students
For a fact, you may think you’re not very interesting. But, what should be important to you as a teacher is delivering excellent and interesting lessons to your students.
Engagement is (always) the key!
To begin with, make sure that the topic is of interest to you too. If it does not interest you as their teacher, the chances that it will interest your students are slim.
Humans are creatures that learned how to read even before the introduction of alphabets and words. We knew how to read sensations and emotions; we take in information with our ears, eyes, and skin, which we send directly to the brain to process it for us.
For a second, imagine that yourself pacing around your class, worrying that your students will be bored by your lesson. The resultant effect can be a less engaging classroom.
Your actions and inactions (other than speech) go a long to determine if your students end up bored.
When though you have the best of intentions, you’ve detached from your students. Now, what they are rather focused on is the nervousness that you are exuding with your futile attempt to appear interesting.
If you are not putting the right amount of energy into your practice to deliver noteworthy lectures, there is a high chance that your communications with your students will be boring.
On the flip side, if you think your lessons have (and they are) high value then there’s a good chance that they do.
The burning question that you should seek to answer is; what does your student consider valuable? You’ll begin to see a new world of possibilities opened before you when you find the right answer to this question.
The solution to this problem is simply to value all that you teach them! Genuinely try to get yourself interested.
Understand why the lessons you are about to teach your students are important and constantly remind yourself of it while teaching. As they are also humans, your students will perceive that you believe in what you are teaching them and see your interest.
Your passion for your subject is always going to be your greatest weapon!
This will make them listen more to you and voila, you have to yourself a class full of willing and happy students.
Students May Know More Than I Do
Ask yourself for a minute; do you expect yourself to know all there is to a topic you are about to teach your students?
No doubt, every teacher in teaching a subject, will always want to deliver like an expert in the field. They also want their students to perceive that they have a thorough comprehension of what they are teaching.
The finest teaching method is one that helps students employ something they already understand or know and correlate it to what you are currently teaching them.
It is a gradual process as opposed to a whole seamless one.
Teaching ought to be a two-way affair where you are making inputs and your students are there to receive them and make outputs by asking for clarifications on things they don’t understand and asking questions.
But, this feeling is quite different from imposing on yourself the expectation that you’d know and understand every concept in the topic more than any other person in the classroom.
The blatant truth is, you can’t know everything there is to a topic. And also, when you don’t have an immediate answer to a particular problem, don’t pretend that you do.
Letting your students know you don’t know and then finding out is much better than pretending. They’ll appreciate it much more.
When you unnecessarily assume the role of a genius in the topic you are teaching, you rob yourself of two things.
Stress-free lessons and optimum learning opportunities for your students.
Students who are always exposed to teachers who act like they are a supreme authority in a certain topic will not appreciate the fact that it is okay to make mistakes, find solutions, and seek the opinion of others.
Fear of Forgetting what You are Supposed to Know
It is quite normal to forget some things occasionally. Right?
In every lesson there’s a lot of things to think about; how your lessons are progressing, your teaching methods, the names of your students, the right teaching materials to use, etc.
You can become distracted at any point; a student may disturb the class when they shift their desks, the back-benchers may decide to disturb just when you turn your back to write on the chalkboard, a favourite student appears to be troubled and that could bother you.
Scenarios like these will affect even the best teachers, and when they happen, it may lead to forgetfulness.
Don’t put yourself under unnecessary pressure.
It is simply irrational to think that you’ll be everything and remember everything, fill all the gaps, have the attention of all your students at the same time.
There are still other explanations as to why forgetfulness may set in. Psychologists say that sometimes, it can be a consequence of information overload.
Or maybe trying to remember so many things at the same time i.e. there’re so many things you want to communicate that you don’t know which to say first.
How can you help yourself?
Plan your lessons to be as simple as possible. Know the topic you intend to teach and ensure that you simplify the most complex concepts for easy assimilation.
Lack of control
Most people heading a group would not feel comfortable if they can’t wield a level of control over it.
Teachers are no different.
It is doesn’t mean you’re a control freak, rather it is the desire to have an organised environment that would facilitate learning and assimilation.
- What are your expectations for an organised class?
- Do you feel like you need to have complete control of your class?
- Does an unorganised class hamper your thought process thereby interfering with your teaching?
When you don’t feel in control, you should start by asking yourself ‘Why?’ Are they genuine concerns or are they self-imposed thoughts that you can do away with by changing your thought patterns?
These are very important questions that make you understand why you are having these feelings and what you should do to fix them.
If you are too lenient with your students, try setting clear expectations next lesson. A good place to start is our managing misbehaviour article.
The Fear of Making Mistakes
Don’t forget to remind yourself that it is human to err. No one is perfect! Even the brightest minds may find it difficult to remember the right formula to solve simple arithmetic.
Go out of your way and devise a method of taking challenges in stride without allowing your pupils to see you break a sweat.
For instance, you may decide to reward a student who pointed out an embarrassing mistake, instead of taking it personally:
The old “congratulations for spotting my deliberate mistake” strategy!
This makes it look more like an act of teaching and your students will surely appreciate you for it.
We’ve covered some of the regular worries that teachers or prospective teachers have about their students and themselves.
I’m sure that you’ve seen some concerns that you thought were pertinent to just you but now you know that it is something that troubles other teachers like yourself.
With some of the helpful tips that I have provided you, I’m certain that you’ll overcome these challenges.
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