Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Top 7 Things a Teacher Can't Live Without

David (grade 12 last year) and his new group of students in Mondulkiri Province.
Over the last year and month or two, I've discovered some things that teachers (especially those in the mission field) must have in order to be successful, or at least to survive in a crisis. I'll share some with you...

Whiteboard marker. Even if you have nothing else in your hands, this is an essential. Whether you are following the textbook or teaching from off the top of your head, the kids will listen so much better if you can write things out (simply) for them to see. You can play word games with them, or review for an upcoming test. It's definitely a must-have.

Clock. Pretty much anyone needs this, but it's for sure on the teacher's list. Maybe the grade in charge of ringing the bell forgot to do it, or you need to determine how much more time you have to talk or do work. If you don't have your own, make sure at least one of the kids has one so you can assign them the task of timekeeper.

Extra pens. Someone's bound to give the excuse that they can't do the assignment because they don't have a pen! This is easily remedied if you have a good supply at hand. You don't have to have a whole box, but just a few will be helpful.

Paper. It can be fresh paper, scratch paper, or the kids' notebooks, but paper is a necessity! Kids can work by themselves or in groups to write, draw pictures, or make a poster about one of the things you've been studying about. Or - if the printer and copier are functioning properly - the kids can do a worksheet.

Flexibility. Without this, you'll crash. You could be asked to do anything at any given time. Maybe the science teacher has to be away for a week, so you need to teach a few periods of physics. Or the power's out during your two computer class periods. What to do? Be flexible and figure out a way to learn something and make it work!

Sleep. You can go without sleep for a little while, it is true. But sometimes you just need to put away the books at 8:30 or 9:00 and go to sleep even if you're not finished with everything you wanted to do for tomorrow. The next thing on my list will help you through this quandary (it has been proved). In order to stay cheerful during the day, you need to get enough rest at night.

Absolute reliance on God. Above anything and everything else, this is something a teacher can not live without for even an hour. All your plans will fail if you do not recognize your need of God, and trust Him to give you your lesson plans. I've experienced this firsthand for an entire year and He has proved faithful every day that I have trusted Him. Don't ever leave home without His presence! Don't let your classroom be without Him there!

Two of my boys from last year, at Angkor Wat. 
Sunrise at Wat Preah Yesu.
Photo credits: David, Ro, and Francis.

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