What do you remember about your first day as a teacher?
I remember feeling a little bit lost at my first school, where I was filling in for several staff members who were away. To be honest, I was ready to give it all away at the end of the first week. However, things went much better at my next school. Within a week of starting there, I had found my feet, and that was the start of my teaching career.
How have you changed as a teacher since then?
I think I have learnt over the years that you need to be fair and consistent, maintain a sense of humour and give students every opportunity to reach their full potential. As a teacher I have had to try to keep up with changing technology and learn to implement it in the classroom. I must admit, this is a work in progress.
What advice would you give to new teachers?
The best advice would be to develop a teaching style with which you feel is comfortable. You are going to be in a classroom with students for a good part of your life so you have to make it enjoyable for everyone. Learn from your colleagues. Take the best teaching traits from all those teachers you come in contact with and blend them with your own talents to become the best teacher you can be. Also, remember that you are teaching the nation’s future doctors, engineers, scientists, politicians, authors, composers etc. We don’t always have to know more than them. We need to give the students opportunities to discover their talents and reach their full potential.
What do you remember about your high school teachers?
I can still remember a lot of my teachers. The young ones, the old ones. Some were experts in their given fields but I must admit, I don’t think a lot of them would be able to survive in today’s classrooms. My students love to hear my stories about how we were regularly caned for things such as getting a question wrong in the Maths quiz or not ruling a margin in your exercise book. Education has come a long way since then. The ‘old days’ are not necessarily the ‘good old days’.