VIGNETTES SERIES 4
Vignettes 14 – 16
The life confronting teachers is always busy. It is very easy to get behind with routine classroom tasks. One of the areas easily overlooked is that of marking children’s work. In particular, that can apply to book work, homework, and other tasks set for children. It can also include extra work set by way of sheets or other materials children asked to complete. These days children do a lot of work online and sometimes submit files for marking. That happens for both primary and secondary school students.
It’s extremely disappointing to students if work submitted for marking is overlooked. Initially children will be very disappointed that work has not been marked. If non-marking becomes a habit, then attention paid by children to work tasks will gradually decline. The reason for that is a belief that even if work is submitted to their very best standards, this will not be recognised or acknowledged. In short, children can come to believe the teachers are disinterested in what they produce.
That in turn takes from the self-esteem children feel, the pride in self and their attitude toward work tasks. If teachers file to mark work in the way suggested this can become very demotivating for children. Regardless of everything else they may believe that teachers are not into rested in them.
If a child brings to your attention the fact of work to be mark is outstanding, my suggestion is to apologise and then set about marking the assignment as quickly as practicable. Letting students know that this has been an oversight on your part as a teacher will not hurt. Children respect honesty.
When marking, do so as thoroughly as possible. My suggestion is to correct spelling, punctuation, and other omissions. They’re so neatly and in a different coloured pen open parenthesis preferably red) to block the child has used.
Children appreciate comments written on work and I believe that stickers or stamps are an absolute “must”.
Students love to share our appreciation for work show on by teachers with the parents, siblings and with others. Teacher care and attention to marking can be the icing on the cake for students I like to know the work is appreciated this will help them further in a motivational context.
I don’t believe that we can over estimate the importance of teachers modelling for students. This goes for primary and secondary students.
In some contexts teaching is regarded as being a profession in which one group (teachers) tells the other group (students) what to do and how it should be done. This of course is rather simplistic definition of teaching and learning processes. It hardly examples the interaction and togetherness that ideally embraces teachers and pupils in teaching/learning contexts.
One of the very important aspects of the leadership offered by teachers is the modelling they do through their own personal example and conduct. Students being young look to and emulate teachers and others. An example of this is the children often tell the parents that particular viewpoint is right because it is what the teacher thinks, therefor it must be right.
Without being prescriptive in anyway, I believe that modelling extends to include the following:
Speech patterns and modelling – setting a bright example free speech and vocalisation.
Handwriting, including in students books and on whiteboards.
Correct spelling and accuracy in word usage.
This list could go on, but I’m sure you get the drift. Teachers deal with the development of people. It’s as we do and how we are that is so important to those we teach and shape toward being the adults of tomorrow.
TALKING WITH CHILDREN
One of the most important things about offering security to children is the way in which teachers speak “with” them. Often it’s a case of teachers talking “at” or “to” those they are teaching.
When dealing with each other in staffrooms or collaborative sessions or during professional development sessions, teachers speak conversationally. They each feel comfortable with the other and conversations reflect this attitude.
When dealing with children however, teachers often lose the conversational element replacing it with what might be termed “command language”. The niceness of speech often dissipates and delivery takes on a quite harsh quality.
Metaphorically speaking teachers when dealing with each other, are somewhat like motorcars which come along quietly from point a to point b. However, when relating to children those same teachers trade the cars for four wheel drive vehicles, lock them into 4×4 and then grate their way through conversation with children in a manner that can be far from pleasant. Language can be embracing or off putting. In order to draw children close in terms of comfort, qualities of conversation and vocalisation are important. There is no way the teachers will draw children in and toward them if their language is the push off in terms of its invitation.