In a class of freshmen during my English period, one student caught my attention. A skinny girl, who is timidly staring at the pages of her textbook, seemed to have difficulty grasping the message of the selection. She frowned but still managed to give me a smile when she noticed that I had my eyes on her. Then she mumbled words from the selection but never in synch with the rest of her classmates. I took a silent pace to where she sat so I could figure out what she was up to… The book was turned on the right page, anyway.
In an almost similar setting, I am amazed to notice how one student who got the rating of ‘frustration’ during the PHIL-IRI pre-test became almost proficient in reading as learning sessions go on. It was such an achievement on his part. However, when assessed how well he understood the selection through the comprehension questions, his eyes protruded as its pupils tend to skim through the texts on the book, hoping to get a gold mine.
The two kinds of students I have observed needed special concern. An English teacher or anyone who endures on promoting quality learning would surely agree with me that these learners require painstaking concentration.
The students have to learn how [including what] to read. I remember an author saying, “Readers are plentiful; thinkers are rare!” Indeed, it is an arduous battle for educators like me to combat illiteracy among our students and arm them with essential life skills.
As a beginning mentor, it is very challenging to teach young learners. It is even more challenging to teach challenged learners. Thus, whenever I’m in front of my learners, subconsciously, I ask myself of these questions: “Am I a good teacher? Am I connecting with my learners? Am I performing my best for them? Am I helping them? Am I able to bring out the best in them?” The list of questions goes on….
Maybe I am sensitive…. I am receptive to the fact that my students are but just human, permeable for imperfection and can gear up towards progress.
Maybe I am compassionate… as the second parent of my students, I am sympathetic of their desire to learn and explore the diverse facets of learning.
Maybe I am ambitious… I dream for my learners. I wish them the best of their future. I pray that they would be able to surface out from their cocoons and eventually fly.
Maybe I am optimistic… I believe that everyone has the ability to succeed regardless of their socio-economic status, family background, and socio-cultural orientation.
I am not a good teacher, I guess. But I’m trying to be one. I become impatient at times. I frown and might have made offensive comments against my students especially when they seemed passive. I became frustrated whenever I felt I gave my best but achieved less and even became more disheartened when I felt I’ve done not much at all.
I want to connect with my learners… I want to spend more time with them helping them discover their potentials… overcome their weaknesses and hone up their strengths.
In the case of my instructional and frustration level readers, I hope I can help them not only to learn how and what to read. I hope I can guide them to become able readers who are skilled of grasping and digesting vital ideas through the texts inscribed on their books.
I don’t dream of being a super teacher. I just simply want to care.