Martes, Enero 29, 2008

Synopsis of the Book: Letter to a Young Teacher by Fr. Joseph Landy, SJ.

Without doubt, Teaching is really an imponderable pride of every teacher, and even of those who are at least thinking that they are for themselves teachers. It is indeed “a big difference” measure up to other fields of man's area of expertise. It is but a sole and noblest profession that every teacher and/or teacher-to-be must be proud of. Yet, even reality dictates that there are only two things certain in life – death and survival, still there is one other unpleasant certainty and that is CRITICISM. As a matter of fact, no body can escape from this – even teachers. As we all know, they are being brushed bitterly by criticisms. But the worst is not only that,all criticisms being thrown to most of them always affect the way people think about the worsening quality of teaching and education nowadays. Teaching has always been depreciated that is why other professions have negative thinking about teaching as a career. As a result, the intrigues with regard to teacher's capacities are now obvious and even cannot be avoided. Other professions often labeled teachers as failures. They would always and/or oftentimes see teachers not more than just as those unsung heroes but stupid ones who never hate back of commitments that are sometimes suppressing and oppressed by pressures. But it's been known to us that teachers are not too much sensitive to these. They have this firm belief that “they are blessed enough that they are being hurt by others.” Instead, they just pray for their critics and keep on making proofs that those no-to-do-good critics are wrong. The mark here is that, though a lot of critics attempt of underestimating them (teachers), still there is no one could even tried to beat teachers' BIG DIFFERENCE.

So not to prove such criticisms, a Jesuit priest and veteran instructor Joseph Landy shares his very helpful insights of what teaching really all about as a whole, which revolves in his very inspirational and worth reading book of ten chapters entitled “Letter to a Young Teacher.” As to its content, he has a solid thoughts about what makes a good teacher, the teacher's life, requirements and other issues that a teacher always encounters every day. Thus, the book's major premise is basically about the What, the How and the Why of Teaching.
In its first chapter, the author has mentioned some possible reasons why teachers prefer teaching as their career. First, obviously enough, it is said that even teaching in many parts of the world a relatively low-paying profession there are still of those who never failed to choose it as their way of making a living with right purpose. It is

because for them, money is not their overriding motive in teaching. It's more than a job and at the same time more than a way of making money. What important for them is that they consider or see it as a service-oriented profession, rather. Second, teaching really appeals to those who love it because for them it is a kind of career where every one enjoys most. It is known as a career which is full of fun and excitement and even a more challenging one on part of the teacher. That is why, as to what the author has pointed out, a teacher is always required to show his sense of enthusiasm with his tasks, even the fact that teaching is really a tedious job.
On the other hand, the author also mentioned how good human relations affect in promoting a worthwhile, satisfying and harmonious teacher-student-school authorities relationships. That is why teaching profession is always entails great responsibilities when it comes primarily to keeping school's good relations. As its effect, among others, an effective teaching-learning process is no impossible.
In the next two chapters, the author's philosophy in teaching sounds agreeable. In these chapters he emphasizes the value of staying alive in the classroom and also the value of preparedness of the teacher with respect to his all days work. It is a big deal for a teacher if he is physically, emotionally, intellectually and psychologically prepared to actualizing his teaching-learning objectives. He should make sure the learning atmosphere of the classroom for students be more active and alive. He should give what the students deserved. His goal is not just to impart knowledge but more of values to students. With this, a careful preparation is highly recommended for a teacher in order for carrying out his tasks, especially before getting engage to classroom teaching. In his preparation, he should take into consideration the types of students he will be handling. He must be aware that in teaching Classroom Management is also one of his major concerns. Aside from managing classroom usual routines, knowing the individual differences of students is a must for the teacher; such students who are unruly, truant, slow and fast learners, attentive or inattentive, and even sickly and healthy ones. And because if these are taken for granted, it is really a disaster on part of the teacher and at the same time to the students themselves.

In the succeeding chapters, the author also has not overlooked the five psychological factors that are especially useful for gaining attention in the classroom; such as, the Activity, the Reality, the Vital, the Humor and the Novelty. These factors focus much on the integral part of teaching which is the CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT. It is been said that it is the primordial consideration of every teacher in education. This is where he uses or designs constructive classroom activities that would suit students skills and abilities, particularly in an inviting and conducive or well-established learning atmosphere which permits such activities to be carried out effectively and economically – activities that can challenge students creativity and multi-skills. That is why it is necessary for teachers, as much as possible, to give and allow his /her students to perform activities that would consume at least the entire class period.
Likewise, it is also the responsibility of the teacher to relate his subject matter to the real world applications. It should suits of whatever are there in the reality. It is not advisable for him/her be applied the usual unorthodox teaching methods,like hiding under the desk for an entire hour reading and/or lecturing too theoretical of his assigned subject matter. That is why it is requirement for him to be more creative in delivering his lesson.
The integration of the elements of vitality in teaching is another task of a teacher. In bringing vitality to teaching, he should mind the ultimate learning needs of the students. He should be assured to ensure that the students are really mastering the subject. And that the subject matter must contribute to the students knowledge about reality or it must be presented with greater significance to future lives of the students. Consequently, the success in every examinations is not a guarantee that the students have really learned something about the subject matter. It could be traced upon the natural actions and behaviors that they show.
Also, the author claimed that humour is a desirable characteristics of teaching and learning. Justifications for the use of humor include the promotion of understanding, holding the attention of students, managing disruptive behavior, creating positive attitude to the subject matter,and reducing anxiety. That is why teachers are expected to be positive as to what humor he are going to show and contribute to the learning classroom

environment. And without it, the teaching-learning process could become pretty boring. Even though it holds things together when everything is falling apart or that one which enlivens or helps bring learning to life, still teachers should know how to control it. Also,despite its importance, it need not be a destructive nor an abusive type. It must be an encouraging to learning. As a matter of fact, it really works best if it is carefully facilitated by the teacher as classroom manager. That is why as classroom manager, he is advised not to over use it. And because if it happens, that humor could loose its value and effect.

As to what the author emphasizes in the seventh chapter of his book, novelty in teaching always matters most. He believes that the very formula to good learning is that a teacher should practices his creativity in introducing and/or teaching his lesson in a unique or different way. He should have proper knowledge in applying something new of his lesson – employing new teaching methods and strategies, in particular.
However in the last chapter, the author said that in teaching voice factor matters a great deal. Teaching usually entails adequate delivery and/or proper use of one's voice, since that a teacher is the one who is known as the most indispensable transmitter of learning to his students. He is advised not to have a so loud voice but modulated. Because if he has a voice that is so weak , the tendency of the class attention would be weaken also. He is also required to have a varying tone of his voice. In other words, his voice should not be in a monotone. It should vary according to its pace, power or loudness and even on pitch.
Of all of the above-mentioned important points regarding teaching, it expected therefore for a teacher to be more aware enough and not be too careless of the kind of journey he/she has pledged and chosen.

Teachers must read this book because it can possibly
make difference in a way that education
in this country may prosper...

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