The essence of teaching is teaching one’s self, not students. They learn only when we live and breathe all that we preach. Why, we can even go so far as to say that a teacher’s real job is not to speak to a bunch of students and fork out words as if an automaton, but to create curiosity in their students which will spur them to look up and sit up. This, of course can be achieved by developing passion in thy subject and relishing and enforcing all one does and says in the course of a lecture.
We are in the era of Outcome-based education and holistically developing students. Students who must be filled with technical jargon and worldly-wise ideas. But, our primary focus should also be to instill ethics and etiquette’s in them. That said, lets re-define the old-school approach:
- Breaking the monotony. The first big element in effective teaching. The world is full of possibilities and if we can’t think up of newer and challenging ideas which will break the humdrum of the regular classroom routine, we can as well not go to the class in the first place.
- Ideate. With yourself or others. There can be as many ideas to create interest in your teaching ways as the number of thoughts in your brain in an hour, which is close to thousands, modestly speaking. Peering over notebooks, while casually making rounds in an ongoing session or making eye-contact while questioning (and not giving up on the students and moving on in a huff when they can’t answer), or calling them by their first names are a few quick hacks.
- Being Gentle, yet Firm. “There are no two ways about it, dear student. I shall assess you based on the credits/tasks you accomplish and add the sum-total to your cumulative evaluation. Period. There’ll be no brownie points, however much intellect you have, or politeness you show, or make up for the sloth in the academic work by extra-academic activities”. The message should be crisp and clear. After this, how can anyone arouse an impression of the teacher being strict, or biased and partial (as some of them will surely think) or being a taskmaster.
- Lay Out the Rules. Planning the list of activities a student has to do for the subject at the onset of the term itself, such as the Assignment, Mini-Activity Project, Evaluation Criteria and so on, will not burden you or your students as the semester draws to a close. No one can object to completing tomes & tomes of files at the end of the semester when they were instructed at the initial phase itself.
You can’t gather enthusiasm about a subject, if you are not interested in it yourself. Instead, make-believe that the subject you’re are teaching is the most important & interesting subject of the semester. If all else fails and fails miserably, bring up your trump card: “Feigning Enthusiasm”. Because, the greatest minds have said that enthusiasm is contagious and if you carry that on for a small duration, you’d end up being cheerful, optimistic and contiguously enthusiastic about what you’re doing.