Just like any other profession, teaching gets a little scarier than usual sometimes, and every teacher has their own strengths and weaknesses. Below is a list of things like classroom management, salaries, health and safety issues that really freak teachers out most times. They include the following;
1. Classroom management
Whether you’re just new in the profession, joined a new school or just had new members in your class, managing a classroom is challenging. You have to make sure that students respect you, yet they don’t fear you that much. Here are some of the classroom related challenges;
- Quieting your class. You just can’t teach a noisy class, therefore this comes before everything else in case you’re in this situation.
- Dealing with students with attitude problems
- Losing your head in front of your class. Sometimes students will provoke you, and you never know when the stress boils up and peaks.
- Boring your students to the point of sleeping, murmuring or giving petty excuses to leave the classroom.
- Handling blank stares, especially when they don’t understand what you’re teaching them, even when you’ve knocked yourself out with explanations.
It is absolutely normal to feel like you might screw up any time in front of your classroom. But if you keep this at the top of your mind, it will definitely get the best of you.
The best way to control it is to be yourself, start your lessons, and let your students know whenever they’re getting out of line.
2. Your students might know more than you.
This usually happens when you’re dealing with complex topics in ordinary subjects, or a new novel in literature, or new calculus in Mathematics.
To many teachers, it really is unbearable to watch a student raise their hand and school you on an entire topic that you had to teach them. However, here’s how you can overcome this fear;
- Study your topics thoroughly, so that you aren’t confused by your own subject, or by students when they raise suggestions.
- Be confident in yourself. Teach with confidence.
- Be open to questions and suggestions. Not in a way that students are trying to challenge you, but as an exchange of ideas.
Most of the times, students ask and suggest, just because they want to learn or understand more, not because they are smug and self-satisfied, even though it’s the case sometimes.
3. Teacher shortages
Due to various reasons, lots of teachers quit the profession. However, it is always the role of the school administrators to make sure they replace those teachers to fill the blank space.
Teachers usually fear this situation because of the following reasons;
- You might be overworked with time
- The conditions probably won’t favor you at all
4. Salary issues
As a teacher, it is normal to worry about your salary because many schools have issues with salary payments. Below are the common salary issues
- Delayed payments, which is common in most private and government schools.
- Underpayment especially for new teachers
- Salary cuts, to pay for damages in case of any.
- Non-payments, sometimes due to bankruptcy of the school, or extremely delayed payments
- Taxes levied on the salary, for example PAYE and NSSF.
However, these fears usually turn into normalcy once you get a job. One thing about teachers is, they can adapt and fit in every situation no matter how ugly it seems at first sight.
5. Health and safety issues
Teachers in private schools are usually overworked, and this usually results into long term health hazards. On top of that, teachers in Uganda barely have health insurance policies.
Safety, on the other hand, is also caused by overworking, like teaching night preps and having to move from school premises to your residence.
6. How to handle special needs students.
Yes, everybody advocates that special needs students deserve the right to be treated fairly and just like all the rest are being treated. Examples include;
- Students with physical disabilities
- Autistic students
- Students with mild learning disabilities
However, that doesn’t mean everyone knows how to treat them the way they deserve.
Also, you’re dealing with a sensitive group of students, and being watched by a sensitive audience that almost has no idea how to treat someone with special needs.
7. Misleading your students
If you are an experienced teacher, you probably know quite well that students always and always will follow your lead on various things, even though you’re dead wrong on some.
I mean, why wouldn’t they? They won’t Google everything you say, so they have no choice.
This means you really have to be so damn careful what you teach them, because you don’t want to be the one to put them down.
8. Coping with new technology and trends
Yeah, this is one of the things that put old school teachers on their knees. I mean, just a few elementary things like WhatsApp still pose a challenge to some teachers.
Tech is advancing rapidly and so teachers will always have to adapt to the new trends at some point, and that shakes the hell out of a good number of them.
9. Talking to students’ parents
This is also one of the greatest fears of teachers. If you’ve taught before, then you probably know how hard it is to talk to your students’ parents. Here’s some of the things that make it hard;
- Explaining to them why their child is not performing well. This usually comes when you’re trying to show them that it isn’t your fault but their child’s.
- Having them understand your side of the story.
- Calming a nagging parent without losing your cool
The thing that makes it so damn difficult is because if a parent gets mad at you, even if it’s not your fault, your school might lose a student.
10. Getting fired
More than 60% of professionals that are fired from their jobs, never expected it. This is really scary, because you never know when you’ll be pushed off the stairs and come tumbling all the way down.
There’s almost no absolute way you can handle this except be ready for any uncommon circumstances at all times.
Every job has its up sides and down sides. Also, there’s always something to fear at all times. However, it is through mastering the art of not letting fear get in the way of your actions and/or decisions, that you’ll be able to have yourself a great career as a teacher.