I work at a teaching center, putting me in a position where I can easily spot the issues that plague the children who come in…
Even here at an extracurricular tutoring center, many of them don’t get the attention they need, and there are various reasons for that. They’re shy and don’t speak up, we sometimes lack a number of people to attend to the children during rush/busy hours, family/learning issues, etc. etc. The list really does go on and on.
Let me put it this way: a majority of the teachers focus on the superficial problem, instead of delving deeper into the why and how. I can’t tell you how sick I am of watching teachers simply giving answers to the children, instead of encouraging critical thinking and mapping out a solution map to serve as a guide or base for future similar issues.
Today, a girl came up to me with a few math questions she was having trouble with, and I instructed her to redo the problems on a separate sheet of paper, then bring it all up to me for me to check. I promised her that if there were further issues, we would work it out together. She followed my instructions and without working the problem out for her, I simply went over every step she wrote down and discussed the areas where she made mistakes. It’s not that hard.
She realized her mistakes quickly, and she wasn’t hesitant to ask me why and she quickly worked out the how after the second problem.
It’s not just about rereading a paragraph or redoing a problem; it’s about looking for signs, at the finer details, and asking the right questions to gently guide them in the general direction.
Right now, I’ve got only two words for you: incompetent teachers (will fuck people up).
The most important thing we’re supposed to teach them is how to find answers, and not memorize answers from old packets and transfer them onto new packets. If I were a student, I’d beg my parents to let me leave, because tedious work + uncaring teachers = all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. (In my experience, boredom seldom leads to any good.)
Sigh. Maybe I’m just too picky? Maybe it’s something we can’t ever change?
I don’t know… I don’t know, man.