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Kunming educator finalist for Global Teacher Prize

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A Kunming teacher devoted to working with teenage girls is on the verge of something extraordinary. Yang Boya (杨博雅) landed on the shortlist for the 2017 Global Teacher Prize this week, one of ten finalists in the running for a US$1 million cash award and recognition as the most innovative and successful educator in the world.

Yang teaches at the Kunming Teachers College Affiliated Middle School in the heart of the city. There, in addition to instructing students in their general studies, she is also the school's de facto psychologist — a rarity and welcome luxury at any educational facility in the province. Trained at Shanghai's prestigious Huadong Normal University (华东师范大学), Yang is a licensed counselor, and has focused her time outside of the classroom on assisting young women in need, especially those from migrant family backgrounds.

Both at her school and after classes have let out, Yang helps vulnerable students by offering psychological guidance to her pupils and their parents. She stresses the development of parent-child communication skills and provides her personal services when possible, or referrals to girls in need of specific help.

Over the past three years, Yang has set up an outreach center at her workplace providing teenagers with professional advice and support. She has also formed a group of teachers at other local schools who work to implement personal and social education programs. Additionally, Yang has organized psychology education lectures at educational academies and a local prison which are estimated to have reached more than 50,000 teenagers, educators and parents.

Yang has also developed psychology courses to help raise student awareness about psychological issues and promote female empowerment. She has spoken at national conferences, been interviewed extensively in the media about her work and is a 2016 Fellow at the Harvard SEED for Social Innovation. She explained to the Varkey Foundation — sponsor of the Global Teacher Prize — that she will use the award money to "promote the integration of psychology" into educational standards locally and at a national level, saying:

"My hope is that schools can develop holistic psychological support programs for students and their parents so that they can develop as healthy individuals — not just physically, but mentally as well. This is why I love and pursue my role as a teacher and counselor.

Psychological counseling in China generally, and Yunnan specifically, is a vastly underrepresented part of the educational system, and it is for this reason that Yang's work has been singled out. She was one of 20,000 educators from 179 countries to be nominated for the prize. She is joined by nine other finalists from Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, Germany, Jamaica, Kenya, Pakistan and Spain.

2017 will mark the third year the Varkey Foundation — "a global charitable foundation focused on improving the standards of education for underprivileged children" — has given out the Global Teacher Prize. The recognition "seeks to acknowledge the impact of the very best teachers — not only on their students but on the communities around them". Last year, Palestinian teacher Hanan Al Hroub won the prize, her award announced by Pope Francis. Perhaps on March 19 at the Global Education and Skills Conference in Dubai, a Kunming woman will be the next winner.

Image: Global Teacher Prize

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She's already a winner. Read the stories behind all the finalists www.globalteacherprize.org/2017-finalists and you find these are people who break through, work around and get results despite the prescribed, mundane education systems prevalent worldwide.

I agree.Being a great teacher is hard in China

Inspiring stuff

Inspiring indeed.

being a great teacher is hard anywhere. many countries has a system that serve the system more than the student, and kill excellence, chew teachers up, spit them out.i spit on policies like no child left behind

OK, Dazzer, such policies can go wrong, but then there's the issue of providing the best of everything for those with the most resources, including cash in the bank.

Such policies do go wrong. A couple of years ago, the UK head of education said something along the lines of, "Why are we spending 80% or our resources trying to pull up the 20% of students who will never achieve anything much, at the expense of the 20% who could go on to achieve a lot more". He was castigated for it, but I have to say that I tend to agree with him.

We can have centers of excellence that are based on merit, and not just on the ability to pay.

This article uses 'psychological' when it may in fact mean 'psychiatric'

I don't understand what is necessarily wrong with devoting more resources to educating those who may well be disadvantaged by their social backgrounds. Having 20% 'achieve a lot more' doesn't strike me as the only relevant social goal in a competitive society. The game table is not flat, and we all know this.

Of course its not a flat table. Stop being so bloody PC. Social mobility is a relevant social goal.

No child left behind is not about the competitive society. Many of the 20% of under achievers are not disadvantaged by social background, many have lower intelligence, or really don't care.
The 20% who could achieve a lot more includes many of the smart kids who are socially disadvantaged, but the crap schools in the poor neighborhoods lack the resources for them to excel. When they do get more money, they have to spend it on under achievers. Helping students who would otherwise get an E, to get a D is not going to change their life prospects. Helping the smart kids from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve their full potential is going to change lives.

I see no point in dealing on a tilted table. Social mobility is indeed a relevant social goal, and there are barriers to it everywhere. Schools should, I think, be part of the effort to remove them. I have no problem with the idea of helping students achieve their full potential, including 'smart' kids. Will involve a lot, and of course it can't all be done by the school.

why waste time and money on kids who dont give a s4*t, at the cost of kids who do and could really be fantastic, if given the time attention and money. time is also a resource and time cost money.

These days, everything and everyone has an economic value and if a person is not achieving their potential their economic value to the country is diminished. This is were the right teacher can make a difference.

Yes, but it also depends on suitable systems and policies, at both the national, local and school levels. At school level it also applies to the policies within both public and private sector schools, and is also true for special programs.

I currently work in a program, where for the first 2/3 of Gao Yi, we spend 80% of our time managing 10% of the students, most of whom are not usually there in Gao Er; and these kids are not disadvantaged, they are just dis[insert adjective here].

@ tiger: Is that school/program one of those that are quite expensive for students' families? Seems there are a number of schools who focus on not-particularly-good students simply because their parents have the cash to have them study there.

Our school does not focus on not so good students from rich families.

i worked in a school like that. couldnt spend time with the good kids as too busy managing the forkwits. had the same in state run school back home. no child left behind, ffs

I can't believe what I am hearing here.
80% of the resources? What resources? Time?

It very much sounds like a lazy teachers complaining. How is it possible that underachieving teachers complain about students being underachievers? Sounds very ironic to me.

If you are a professional teacher and you are that incompetent not being able to use the most basic of class layouts and pedagogy, it's just sad. But you shouldn't complain about the students. Maybe you should find better incentives, motivation or didactic to get your students to learn.

Most teachers in Finland, Sweden, Germany, France are pulling the 20% students easily through the grades, without one extra penny spend.

You can increase your students abilities by double digits, just by changing the seating order.

You can pull lesser achieving students by putting one or two excelling students with 2 mediocre and even more underachievers. Try it in your English classes here.

I was one of the 20%, and became a teacher because of all these jackass-soon-to-retire-teachers, focusing on telling you how bad you are because your suck at exams.

That said, every time I was able to get through my ADHD disadvantage, I was on of the top 5 students.

I had and have severe ADHD, which is on the autism spectrum. And was IQ tested 3 times, as kid as gifted.
I refuse to take Ritalin and other medz, because me and my parents understood, that if I need to function for others, then the system is messed up, not the students.

Most of the biggest influencers in the world, are school drop outs, or underachievers, because they understood that they don't need the system to make it big.

In central Europe agencies are popping up 'managing' Asperger and other autism spectrum "Dummies" as accountants and even ATC employees, because they never make mistakes.

Half of the artists worldwide have dyslexia, autism spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, -you name it.

I have been a teacher for 20 years, and I never had to leave one kid behind, because if you think out of the box and really care about the students, listen to what they feel and think,find their skill and interests and deeply care about the teaching mission, beyond pulling them through the next exam, you will be heavily rewarded and beyond that it isn't that hard. Just a little bit of experimenting, skills and logic with a little sprinkle of intuition and a huge load of care, and you will see the 20% can be easily moved into the top 80%

On a philosophical and sociology sphere, and as a society we have the duty to give everyone the same chances and leave nobody behind.

What if we don;t have the time to properly educate the 20%, who take care of the old and sick, fix our houses and cars, make sure the roads are fine, build our computers and medical equipment?

You really want to take them for granted?

Sounds not very smart, but I am only an underachiever.

I think 1939-45 there was a very selective education policy focusing on the achievers, and as I remember it didn't pan out too well.

Let's use the above numbers and spin this thing around.

If only the same amount of teacher would be good teacher as the wonderful lady in this article, as the amount of poor, lazy, stupid kids, -then probably 100 percent of all the students would be overachievers.

@ TigerTiger
Actually pretty much all of the 20% are disadvantaged or plaina** poor, which is THEE no 1 problem for most of most societies problems.

Go to one of these neighborhoods and talk to the kids in these classes and see if they are lazy and why?

I design and manage schools for a living and on a factual, philosophical level and educational level, and I am happy to say, that more teachers like Yang Boya appear, seeing the beauty in education and focusing on the progress of each individual student, beyond assessment, and the amazing things underprivileged and underachieving can achieve with the right amount of motivation and care.

Why couldn't you spend enough time with the good students? What took so much time to teach the forkwits? Were they really that dumb? Or was your class off-level?

Why didn't the good kids assist you?

For example, it's what preschool teachers do, day in and day out. But maybe preschool teachers are just so dumb, that they actually make it work, even though they only need highschool diploma as requirement to become a preschool educator.

I would be really interested why your, plural, classes seem so uneven in terms of proceeding students successfully through their grades and goals. Because I never had a problem with it, and I have not been fortunate in terms of school choices and students in my classes.

Feel free to pm me.

why are kids who got a low score in zhongkao, with no more than beginners english, who cant work with ielts foundation books, on go abroad study programmes where they have to get up to ielts 5.5 or above, when even after a year they are not even at ielts 3. in the same class as kids with already ielts 5 level, studying history, social, studies, science, maths, geography in english language. some of the wasted resources are the classroom space, the seat they are sitting on and oxygen,

Good kids don't need much help, especially not for any written test. What's the average oral language grading percentage for any of the above test? 20% -30%?

Let me get this straight, a student who is forced to join an English test/course and doesn't put in his 100% after 10hours of class a day, is a lazy?

What if your gf or wife forces you to learn the flute. Would you be all fire and flames for the class?

From what I remember IELTS pays handsomely, why don't you use any of the teaching strategies you learned in the course to teach IELTS.

So this 20% of horrible students which translates to six students at a class of thirty. If you can't motivate 6/30, then I would say it may be lack of motivation by the teacher. Students look at the teacher, if a teacher gives up, it is likely that students will too.

You say for them there is no hope even if you give all you have? Even though you get paid handsomely and your contract states exactly what you should do, you still complain?

I had lazy students as well, don't get me wrong but I always managed to get everyone to at least the motivation level to have very enjoyable classes for everyone.

Lazy students can be a pain but you. can turn them around.

tryin to turn them around is what eats up all the efort with kids who often lack ability. some people is good at maths, others is good at art, others is good and languages. others get kicked out of chinese school for being whatever, underachievers and then wind up on another harder prog where they continue to underachive. and spending all the time trying to turn them around when there are other students who are fast learners with real talent not getting teacher time. remeber in this life that there are cart horses and race horses, all kids are not equal, trying to push kids through a system they are not up to, is like entering my old ford into the dakar rally.

Could you give real examples, which would not just excuse lazy teachers. What you are trying to explain is still incorrect working in the classroom.

Helping a slow student takes merely seconds. If done well it takes almist none to no resources at all and students learn about community and human abilities.

It's something very important during these times. One would assume.

Not every horse is a race horse but a slow horse still can run fast.

What is it that eats up all the valuable teacher time helping a slow student?

You are just giving excuses for half assed teachers.

So if a kid has a hard time learning the abc, a teacher should give up rather than using a millisecond of brain capacity finding a new creative way to teach it. Like rapping the abc, etc?

I am sure that there was a subject in school that you didn't excell in, when you were a kid and a teacher took his time to help you through it.
So what are you talking about?
But you won't let others want to have that opportunity.

if a student cant learn the abc they should be in a differnet class to the students who are doing advanced grammar. the stuff i wasnt good at, i was in the appropriate stream. horses for courses. spending time with every kid is right minded for the public sector. but not for private sector. in private sector people pay extra for their bright kids to excell, but if you yolk a trap horse and a cart horse together, you aint gonna fair well. put cart horses together with carts and let them do what cart horses do best. put trap horses with trap horses etc. that is the best solution for all the horses coz both can then excell at what they are good at. there are kids who could be bloody good artisans trying to fit in the shoes of a banker and learning how to fail, becoming demotivated bored and then just causing problems. waste of everyones time and other resources.

@Dazzer thank you.
Your ABC example is wrong, I just walked a group of kids in Dali through Grade K/1.

Some spoke fluent English, advanced reading level, and others have literally never seen the alphabet, thanks to perverted and fake local alternative private education.

It took 3 month to teach phonological awareness and reading skills, then everything worked fine. They all passed their exam and are now in an International Grade 1 class.

As I said it's not about giving up, but about using the right tools.

You just pointed out the exact opposite of the science and art of teaching.
And even from Darwinian point of view, you are wrong.

Learning is not just about excelling at a specific subject but about many other factors, cooperation, challenge and teamwork.

I don't know if you are a teacher, or working in the education industry, but I recommend from all my heart to review your approach on teaching and learning, as it is very contraire to the actual scientific method and experiences in the classrooms, worldwide.

How much you pay should never be the measure of how much help a student gets. What if a student is good but he paid a lot of money, so you help him even more?

Good students need the 'bad' students, and vice versa. It's called classroom dynamics.

In a Harvard science class there are struggling students, too and lazy ones, I met one. He built an enormous business network in Asia.

They don't just get expelled or quit, no teacher is kicking them out.

The problem with education is not the distribution of care and help, but poverty and disadvantage.

I had an Asperger kid, in my class, because the parents din't want the child to be excluded, according to your picture, everyone would be losing and dropping grades by the hour. But the opposite happened. The boy with Asperger kicked every student's math through the roof, and when he needed social skills and p.e. class help, everyone was glad to help out.

Overall the class became one of the best in the history of the school, and all grades increased, of all students.

This is not an individual case, you can find the same results, worldwide, in all sets of school.

And as you can see from the article above, and you can deny as much as you want, still the slowing down students don't exist, unless you want them to and let them appear.

All teachers should know the techniques and ways to motivate, most pro teachers I met, do and we share the same results.

Give it a try, it really works.

May I ask, have you actually, ever talked to those students in private?

Get them out of the classroom for a pepsi in the cafeteria and listen to them. It's one hour of time, which can change a whole year of teaching.

But let me guess, it's not part of your job description. Right?


do you believe that every student who wants to go to university should do so?

Yes! A teacher shouldn't be the judge and executioner of a student' s future career.

If a student wants, the motivation is there. There are various ways to do so.

But it takes time, and the right way should be chosen. These are parent teacher conference subjects.

I had teachers constantly telling me what I couldn't and shouldn't do. IT took me so many extra years to prove them wrong and find out what the issue was.

The time I used to make things right, I could have taken another course from start to finish.

And I know plenty of teachers who do the same today.

I had students expelled from a famous school here in Kunming because they didn't do their homework, failed their exams or being told they are too lazy, just to see them thrive in my classes, or the classes I referred them to.

All of the, are doing extremely well. And I don't credit myself for it. I really just sat down and listened very careful to the student's fears worries and weaknesses.
Then I helped them to fix it themselves.

It takes a bit effort and a little bit of planning but the results are worth it.

I am not kidding, none of my students ever failed an exam, and it's their achievement, and by knowing that these students can manage any difficult situation in the future.

Not everyone can go to university, and not everyone will. Plenty of students will drop out for various reasons.

But nobody should be held back just because they are chose not to or because the teacher things they don't have what it takes.

If that would be the way it works, then we wouldn't even need a teacher. Put a video on the board, or an online lecture and let the students record every word.

Teachers are conductors of the classroom concert, constantly diagnosing the people and teaching material.

It does work, it isn't easy but rewarding.

even those that dont have the capacity

Fixit, if you have carved yourself a niche and a personal style, good for you. However, not all teachers who don't do that are bad teachers. Additionally, some people would consider adults in positions of authority, building personal relationships with young people, inappropriate. In your case I am sure it is innocent, but missionaries use if for their own purposes, and other people use it for grooming. Some schools even have a policy against teachers forming personal relationships with students, that goes so far as meeting off campus.

@ Dazzer: At what age does it become definitely known that students have or haven't the capacity to benefit themselves and society by going to university? And is this something to be decided by their English teacher? If my university Spanish teacher had been empowered to do so, he might well have prevented me from getting my university degree.

there are unis, and there are unis, not including the south harmen institute of technology. perhaps if you had been an artisan you wouldnt be on here looking for constant validation.

@fixit a good teacher is like a good father, he guides the student and let him find his way. every kid has some ability and lacks others, failing is also a way to let the student focus on something he is better at. imagine you are a football coach, a player is good in defense but he dreams to be a top striker, what kind of training would you design for him? the good world is the one where everybody can give his contribution according to his skill/ability, everyone is a genius at something.

I work in a school that delivers a full curriculum, to larger than ideal class sizes (a normal pattern for most schools in the world). Each teacher gets the students, for class time, for just a few hours a week. In the hours that we do have we barely have time to deliver the basic content. There are lots of extension activities we would love to do with the students who get ahead because they are more able. Sometimes classroom management then becomes a higher priority, because dealing with students of mixed levels in a class of 20 or more requires more attention (to the group). However, we don't have time to nurture every individual student. Time is a resource you cannot buy more of. This is a big part of the frustration. There are also meetings to go to, and developing lesson plans for the differentiated group of students in a blended classroom setting. Then there is admin, and meetings. Some of us get to go for lunch, and have a family on the side as well. This is the reality for many school teachers around the world.

If we had small classes, in a tutoring type environment, we would have time to coach and encourage individual students. But there are few such ideal opportunities in larger schools, although it might be possible in smaller establishments.

You are saying it. Everybody is genius.
About coaching a football team, players usually rotate playing positions and have various chances to show they are good offensive players. There are plenty of ways to build a potential player although the playing skills are still low and raw.

Most worldclass players didn't start perfect or have changed their positions during their career.

Also the best way is to give the player chances or in a bad case, let him realize himself he isn't the perfect match being a striker.

I don't know your school or classes but the main issue seems to be seating order and handing over chores and lesson content to your apt students.

It don't understand why the good students need so much attention.
In each class I ask the assisstant to arrange a seating order by level/group. Usually

I give the good students a very hard task in the beginning of the class, a chellenge

You don't understand why the good students need so much attention.
What I am saying is the good students don't get attention. And they are often the ones who could return that attention in manifold ways. Other students will just not do that to anywhere near the same level. Some of these disadvantaged smart kids could really make a difference to their communities and DESERVE every opportunity. Others will just squander the opportunity. You talk about the world class football players who started rough, but even the coaches could see potential. But for every Ronaldo there are a million or more wannabes who could never be. Imagine if Ronaldo was never given the encouragement or coaching, because the coach was spending all of the time on the weakest players.
If we could divide our time and effort equally amongst all the students, that would be at least egalitarian, but if we allow the no child left behind philosophy to rule, then all we are doing is nurturing the weakest at the expense of all, and limiting the potential of those who could be excellent, and thereby denying excellence to some students.
Some students, like Twain, will not let there schooling get in the way of their education. But for others, well meaning thinkers, will.

P.S. I am not sure you either read, or understood my comments about differentiation, or the blended classroom.

@ fixit the best way to burn a potential talented player is to let him play in the wrong position. the coach is the one who has the experience to choose the best position for everyone in the team. imagine every player having the authority to decide where and when to play, do you think that would be the most effective way? everybody is a genius at something but nobody is a genius at everything.

You are incorrect. All of the top players excel at least at one more playing position. As a good coach or teacher you NEVER tell someone, how bad they are but you show them how great they are at their skills, position and so on.

A coach should constantly encourage and let players play different positions to get an overall better team. And that is practiced at all top teams in the world, in case of injuries or sudden replacement, a player changing teams etc.

As coach I never had to and as a teacher even less.

Factually great players aren't born, most of them are chosen by scouts not by coaches. Coaches don't like to see good players go.

They aren't perfect when chosen, they have the luxury to devote their time fully towards their and sport. While others have to work or earn a living before and while becoming professional players.

I know a pro player and he says it has nothing to do with skill, becoming a pro player is luck, nothing more. And as some of you post here it is similar in the classroom, you have a good teacher, he sees you as an academic, if not you are supposed to clean toilets as janitor, right?

And there are more top players still undiscovered, because they just haven't been scouted or promoted, just yet.

no offense but you are still sounding like you need justification to not give ALL your students what they need.

I have classes with up to 70 students, I make my own assessments and pretty darn tough ones, too. And still all my students make it, well. Also I don't just assess grades but also progress, to make sure what is needed individually. Currently I have 9 different classes from preschool to Chinese grade 7. I am 41 years old, I have a wife and a daughter and setting up a business, which counts as a second child, lol. I send homework online and test progress of all 4 pillars of language acquisition quarterly.

I really can't see how a good or even average teacher cannot manage the time and attention in a way that he can give enough attention to each individual group or student.

There are plenty of teacher websites with amazing ideas online, in case you are sometimes out of ideas. I am sometimes. So while sitting on the bus listening to awesome tunes I go there and get new ideas. In case you haven't learned them in your pedagogy courses.

You could give the good ones attention through group work, self study, essays, speeches, demonstration, debates, and thus even give them more attention than you are giving them now splitting your time here and there.

That is the beauty of the result based systems in China. It's all about test prep right? For good students, it's a snap to get ready for that, and with the spare time you win, by more efficient classroom management, you can also raise the level of the non-test-based stuff. Trust me if a dimwit like me can, then everyone can

In the meantime you have loads of time to deal with your challenged group.

Or, if you want to go real time, you can send any issue or question in the lesser great group to the overachievers and letting them answer it, and deal with it. You are conducting some sort of classroom concert.
It's amazing, especially when those kids discover teamwork and class dynamics.

If you look at the time problem, in a standard classroom in China at roughly 30-70 kids per classroom you would have not more than a few seconds available for each student.

So, how does a god student reward attention more than a bad student? What could you do in 20 seconds with a good student, that you couldn't with a bad one?

How do you measure that? How is that logical?
In my experience all students reward attention given to them.

And thanks again for the soccer example. If the coach would have given most of his attention to Ronaldo, he would have a profitable player but no team left to put him in. In education, military and team sports, you always focus on the weakest link, because they can speed up the whole team, good players can arrange their training themselves and you then also produce plenty of team captains. When I coach I also let the best player coach the training sessions, it gives me time to analyze, adjust training intensity and find problems and achievements.

As I said weak link focus is the more effective but more difficult method, in the beginning. Later it takes care of itself and gives you tons of easy-peasy work. Leaning back, watch and enjoy.

About your egalitarian idea, it is proven that is does work and to add to it, works greatly.

And that excelling students need very little attention, even thrive in the task based environment.

But you have to establish a system like that first, which takes some techniques, but very little extra time and effort. You have to prepare well, and that takes techniques and also, very little extra time and effort.

The good news is, once done usually in a period of about 3 weeks the system maintains itself and you are just being an MC. You will have plenty of extra time to run other chores. And most importantly you have the position to overlook individual progress and students. You see the Big Picture.

If I could, I would show you.
There was a time when I was saying the same things you were saying.

And when I was at the point, where I had to find a better way to teach or become a lazy sh*te, talking about myself here, I promised myself not to become one of those teachers who made my life miserable.
After a short time, I saw how the weakest links became the strongest.

I am not saying you don't prepare or don't care about your students. I am guessing that it's just simple tricks, techniques and teacher magic to make your student level even again.

Well, for what it takes, it saves you more time to get all kids on the same level, before you carry on with your material.

In my humble experience it never took more than 3 month to raise the below-level to on-level and then you have 6 academic month left, to keep it that way or rise to above level. And 6 month to REALLY teach is a lot of time to make huge progress.

An example, if you want to cook a 5 course dinner for your friends, but still have one week of unwashed dishes in the sink, you don't just wash a few knives and pots, you start from scratch and clean everything that needs cleaning, before you start cooking, right? Otherwise a 2 hour job would take you the whole afternoon.

I just did a whole washing task from September last year up until December to get a class, CLEAN. When they were ready to go on, we made huge progress, because all students, just could.

But the rewards and watery eyes after you tell the parents that their kids climbed from barely going through their grades, to become a above average learner, and the kids seeing a new range of possibilities is rewarding and puts you in a great position to get a raise, next year.

I have advised students to head towards non academic jobs or courses but never because they couldn't, or of low grades.

I Advised one kid to become an artist, the worst you could do to a parent in China and the world. And he did. He is becoming a commissioned film-director, as we write.
His mom called me during Chinese New Year telling me how happy she is and that she is sorry for causing me all the troubles, arguments that is. And for the very little effort from me, which is almost nothing, because he did it all on his own, I didn't help him do his chores and homework, he did.

I just said the things he needed to hear, and teach the stuff he needed and put him at the right place in the classroom, with the right classmates.

Sometimes rewards for teachers come incredibly late, but it hit hard and deep.

@fixit i don't wanna turn this topic into a football conversation but i just don't agreewith you.,if you move ronaldo bale and benzema behind, then shift pepe marcelo and ramos ahead you won't get the same result,we don't need to be professional coaches to understand this. put the right people at the right place is the foundation of every successful team in every kind of project. you said you adviced a student to try to become an artist and he succeeded, great! thanks to your experience you understood what was his best quality and you adviced him well. That was the best thing you could do as a teacher,instead of wasting your and his time keeping him in class studying something he was no good at. showing directions is not giving up,discouraging or leaving people behind, it's just doing well the teaching job, helping students in finding their way and becoming adults.

fixit, congrats you have achieved what has eluded the edu professionals for 200 years, you should wirite a book.

Your football example translates into one class with only grade A students, receiving full scholarship and sponsorship.

My example is in the regional league, where there are only a few or none exceptional players.

The artist kid didn't have bad grades. I listened to him and looked at his skills and what he wanted to do. And we both agreed on arts. We convinced his mom to let him, if he keeps his grades up.

But he could have easily gone to one of the better universities.

What I did with artist kid was, giving him special tasks with his regular homework. Write a 1 page screenplay, write a sad scene or gave him a few pages of screenplay to correct or change. After that task was done, I let him make a mood-board, later on I gave him an camera to play with and film a few scenes.

Showing him how easy it is to make a film. I do that with pretty much all of my students, most don't need to because they already found an interest or hobby.

None of my extra tasks or homework take more than a minute to think of or to plan.

That's what I am saying all along. It is not that hard to teach every kid, what they need to learn.

Not really, fortunately-unfortunately there are tons of books, studies and experimental educators in the last 500 - 1000 years, from amazing people in how to look at a student and how to teach?

I have not achieved anything, I am just doing what I was trained to do. Nothing special, just a few of the most basic teaching tools; classroom management, time management and parent-student feedback.

@fixit now I'm getting confused about your point..you are saying it is easy to teach every kid what they need to learn. i agree on this, we often realize that many kids don't need to learn English,piano or other specific subjects like business etc, so teachers job can be well done advising them to spend time in something they are good at, and possibly helping in finding a specific teacher for that. tiger was also telling you the same, why wasting time in class on people who are not good at studying when that time can be used to people who are good? i met amazing people who had a very low education but they were smart to dedicate time in what they liked and became an excellence in that (helping their personal growth aswell). then i met tons of graduated people who are still confused about what to do with their life because they weren't lucky enough to get proper advices.

How can you define by meeting a student 3 times for about 20 seconds per week, saying things they memorize as homework?

Is he lazy? Is he inapt? Does he understand? Is he on-level? Is he a bit slow? Or are my teaching approaches not stimulating him? Does he have learning disabilities?

I am saying the teacher should never be a judge on a young persons skills, development, future, or career choice.

His job is to give every child the same chance, disregarding his level. The tools and methods are out there. Online, in courses, colleges, training schools.

Let me ask you a question, why is it so important to be excellent at something? Is it better to give one or a very few students all your time and resources in hope they will keep on doing this?

Or isn't it equally great to give a lot of student a good education, over excellence. Excellence can also be self motivated. I don't think a little Beethoven needs a lot of teaching, I'd assume a little Beethoven needs difficulty, challenges, and different intuitions and style. I doubt that some of those parents with geniuses as kids go and spend a lot of money on tutoring.

Take first aid, if I had a crash being severely injured, I am happy with the random person, moderately trained as medic but capable of administering first aid. I'd take that guy to help me over waiting about 15 minutes for the fully trained M.D. to arrive.

As I tried to explain, teaching all students giving equal chances and motivating the underdogs does not take much more work than giving it all for the good students.

We are not used to it, or told this and that, on how to proceed with our classes.

Also we look at how we got taught in school.

In my opinion, the more difficult the class is the more you have to break with standards and traditional thinking approaches.

I have a question, what does it say if teachers only give their attention to good students?

You, the one who is naturally good at something, and naturally not needed much help, shall receive all my attention because you don't really need it. In order for you to succeed.

You who could most benefit from my attention, shall not receive it because I sentence you not worthy of my work effort. Because you will fail for sure, and all future efforts are a waste of time.

It's illogical to focus on 3-10 good students, and you simply don't need to. Because they need little to no motivation. Because it is easy for them. And they can work on their own.
So, why not help the students who actually really need it.

How much time do you HAVE TO spend on a good student, each class?

I mean it how much of your 45 minutes could you possible spend on good students form them to be more good? And how?

Mathematics, English, Science, Physics. I can't think of any subject, except maybe P.E., where you couldn't give hard tasks and work as homework or work at the beginning of the class, for all the Einsteins.

And then you can focus on the students most benefiting from actual help.

Maybe I am nuts but I have more time now than I ever had before.

Sometimes, I kid you not. I lay down all my tasks at the beginning of the class, get the groups ready find their challenge-mate and sit back there on my chair, reading a book for 30 minutes, observing, who does what, listening to their questions to the excellent students, them using skills and method to teach and share.
Win-win, they win grades I win time and observation time.

My teacher ones told me, - a lazy teacher is a good teacher-.

I didn't quite get what he meant when he threw me into the classroom at first. Now I do know.

All of my students made unbelievable progress, None of my students ever goes below a C. I literally have no below-average anymore.

@fixit now i understand why we have different views. in my opinion excellence is everything, one beethoven can inspire millions of musicians that will probably never reach his level but will surely get better because of him. the same for Newton in science, van gogh in art, the french enlightenment in literature and so on. they are genius, they are examples and can inspire for generations,that's why we study them at school. but they would have been nothing without an example to get knowledge and inspiration from. recognizing a potential genius and not spend enough time on him it's a negligence that would affect not only him but the entire society and its progress.

'Geniuses', fine, but the duty of the educational system is to provide opportunities for ordinary people.

I seriously doubt that Newton, Beethoven, van Gogh and the whole bunch of French enlightenment and renaissance are the product of teachers spending all their resources and time on them.

Most geniuses are developing through a hobby or an interest, very few get special attention from teachers. Then when having a certain level they become disciples or apprentices .

I would guess that 2/3 of all the excellent achievers are autodidacts or have little to no education. Also some of the amazing musicians in this world are not recognized as such, most people don't even know who Peter Greene or Eddie Hazel is.

Also I highly doubt that Einstein and his brain capacity could have received anymore new knowledge through knowledge induction, over him learning autonomously.

And as Alien states, why send the smart kids to a slow kids school, if they are such geniuses? Why wasting the dumb kids time with the smart kids incredible brain force?

There are many organizations sponsoring gifted kids.

That way you could start working there, or have enough time to deal with the loser-kids, not worth your effort.

But I guess then the average student deserving most of the time and the loser kids shouldn't be wasting the teachers time, right? lol

@fixit we are getting far from the point, I'm not saying that a teacher should only spend time with good students, I'm saying that the teacher should use his experience to advice all students according to their ability..if somebody is struggling with business but it's better in art why wasting time teaching him business? failing him has not to be intended as a shame but more as a service, closing some doors to be able to open others. teacher s ability shouldnt be measured by the amount of people he passes/fails but more about how good he is in showing a future successful path for his students.

What you describe is more the job description of a referee or a judge.

A teacher should promote knowledge and information, nurture the student in a good learning environment, should be a fair and capable conductor of a large variety of teaching methods and tools. He should be creative in choosing teaching approaches and act skillfully on an interpersonal level, encouraging students and find ways to widen and focus a students interest, on academically and individually. A teacher should be fair and knowledgeable in many subjects beyond his teaching subject. He should build sufficiency and confidence in his students.

He should be a teacher, mentor, artist, buddy and counselor.

-That's my definition of a teacher-

The way you approach a students learning, wouldn't that be very restrictive?

I think a teacher should give opportunities, let students experiment, broaden the horizon of the students.

Putting them in a box with only the things students are good at, will bring the opposite of what you and I like, inspiration and knowledge.

If I told a student, that he can't play guitar because he is better at the piano, it would l make him a unhappy piano player, hopefully a great symphony will be the result of his depression, but it could also turn him away from music, because if he hates the piano, how could he ever be good at it.

So why not let him open a few more doors, and let him try the guitar, or other instruments he feels happy with. In the end practice makes a good musician, and what better way to practice, than loving the instrument you love and practice every free minute.

As other posters have written before, we have so little time with the students, how could I possible objectively, and with all fairness know, IF a student is good at this or that, in those specific 15 seconds I am judging him on that day?

What if I would have assessed the same question a day or just after a good lunch break?

I think we shouldn't close and lock door, they should stay open, enabling a return to.

In my life I have returned to certain passions and interests, skipping others and learning new things.

I think it is what most people do and naturally inclined to.

We were born learners, explorers and inventors, and choosing via a teacher-medium what one is good at will never bring excellence.

What learners also should be introduced to is rejection and how to deal with it.

When I was young and a teacher told me I could never be a fighter pilot, which was my dream job,
I took it for granted. When I learned what alternative ways are available to become one, it was already too late.

Now, I teach students to find out alternatives to reach there goals, and to extend their mental middle finger, towards teachers restricting their minds and dreams.

The probably best way is to switch between all sorts of methods, restriction and encouragement.

Some parents told me their kids enjoy a little pressure, while other don't. And often there are many available ways to use the right amount of each for the individual students psyche.

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