Giving Great Career Advice & Talking About Bitcoin

If you have been one of those people who have been talking about the benefits of Bitcoin as compared to fiat currency, you are actually very much similar to someone giving great career advice to the next generation. There are several aspects that one can compare talking about Bitcoin to giving good career advice. So let’s get started.

Bitcoin vs Career Advice

Bitcoin is defined as a form of currency. While conventional currency’s value can be inflated and censored, Bitcoin can’t. Bitcoin with its fixed supply and decentralization offers a solution to problems found within an old system. This is not to say that conventional fiat currency is useless, it just needs some improvements.

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Conversely, the traditional career advice that we give our students is flawed. The formula for this advice is pretty straightforward. Do well in school, go to a good university, graduate, and get a good job. This used to work as good grades was used as a reliable measure to a students’ performance. However, two things have made grades an unreliable measurement of a students’ overall performance.

The first one is its overemphasis on academics. While it is true that scoring well in exams is a prerequisite to enter a good school, an overemphasis of it is tantamount to putting all your eggs in one basket. This could lead to neglect in other areas of development such as sports, critical thinking and communication skills. I had an acquaintance who was the top scorer in school for 5 consecutive years. He was perceived to have a bright future. However, he had sacrificed friends and had failed to develop his interpersonal skills. At college, he had a meltdown, not because of his studies but he was unable to handle being away on his own.

The second is the many services and methods in gaming the education system. This includes cheating in exams and even bribing their way into good schools. Furthermore, the tampering of exam results to help certain individuals gain a political edge is not unheard of.

Reading, Reading & More Reading

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As such, in order to gain an edge in life, the best advice that anyone can give is to read. While this is nothing new, I should specify what reading is all about. You see if I were to send someone an article on Bitcoin and ask that individual to read it. I may not be able to convince him of the benefits of Bitcoin. That individual would have to read through the different arguments on Bitcoin in order to come to a conclusion.

Similarly, convincing anyone that the old advice of ‘going to school to get a good job’ is obsolete, can be a rather tall order. Just like Bitcoin, they would have to do away with old preconceived truths and reshape their worldview. I remember telling some friends about Bitcoin and they all gave me the ‘you are crazy’ look. Most of them are programmed by news and propaganda from mainstream media. By the time the media starts advertising Bitcoin in a positive light, it will be too late.

Similarly, there is a huge money-making industry behind college education. It is an industry where we pay huge sums of money just to have a shot at a good future. Say if I were to fail to secure a job, it is unfortunately not the college’s job to help me. Thus, I’m paying a lot of money on the possibility of securing a good job.

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Worse, some jobs do not require certifications but just talent and experience. I mean, how does a degree in e-sports help me be a better DOTA player? Or is a degree in culinary arts different from 4 years of on-the-job training. I do think that there are benefits in both on-the-job training and a degree. However, perhaps the thought that certification from college guarantees a job should be something that should be rethought. Just like how money should not be censored and taken care of by a third party.

Ignore The Noise

I seem to have ranted quite a bit, but let me draw it all to a conclusion. I believe that with enough reading, studying and research, you will be able to see through the noise. You may find society constantly convincing you that only terrorists use Bitcoin. Similarly, someone may say that going to college is the only way to be successful.

However, what will help you stay your path or pick the right path for your future is knowledge gathered from your own studies. As such, the best career advice that anyone can give is similar to why you should use Bitcoin. Research, read and investigate and you will find that going to college is not the only path to success. Just as how the only money is not that printed by banks but also those produced on the blockchain.

 

 

Steemit as a Way To Develop Future Teachers’ Writing Skills

This is a concept paper for a year-long project that I will be initiated next year. Most of the fine details are still in the planning stage but in this article, I hope to present some of them. Some feedback is always appreciated. The general plan is to use Steemit as a way to develop my students’ writing skills. My core group of students is college students in the education faculty. Once they graduate they will become teachers. One reason for this project is their writing skills.

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Identifying the issue

In most countries where English is not spoken as a first language, there is a pressing need for students to do well in writing well. Writing is an important component in most assessments in schools as well as in university. As such, students should always take the opportunity to practice writing as much as possible.

However, writing is an incredibly boring activity. Well, there are ways to organize fun activities in the classroom. There is a limited amount of time in the classroom where the students can practice. As such, the students should take the opportunity to practice outside of the classroom.

Now, let’s be real, why would anyone spend their free time writing? Unless there is some real carrot that teachers can dangle in front of the students. That is when Steemit presents an opportunity to help different students to improve their writing skills.

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Leveraging Steemit

Steemit is very much similar to a blogging platform. Many studies have been conducted on the use of blogs to help students practice their writing. However, the one aspect that sets Steemit apart is the rewards.

Simply put, if a teacher were to instruct a class of students to write one blog every week, the one thing that keeps students writing is either fear or some form of intrinsic motivation. Fear, in this case, would be either the fear of getting a bad grade or how the teacher would rain down metaphorical hell on the student. Intrinsic motivation would just be the love of writing.

If these two elements are not present in the classroom, why not try leveraging Steemit’s rewards to help. That way the teachers would necessarily need to be someone who is feared nor must the students be intrinsically motivated. Steemit’s reward system may just be enough for students to be motivated to write on a regular basis. Of course, the task would still have to be administered by the teachers. However, if an education institution decides to use Steemit, Steem can be bought by the administrator and used to reward the students.

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Conclusion

This could eventually lead to the adoption of Steem in education. However, more research should be done. In theory, writing on Steemit may likely help and motivate college students to improve their writing. It would be cool to see it being implemented in primary and high schools as well. I’m definitely excited to see how this pans out. It’s going to be an interesting year ahead.

 

Teaching Ownership To Future Teachers

One of my jobs in college is to supervise my student teachers’ research. There have been times in my journey as a supervisor that I have cared more for my student teachers’ work then they have. In our program, the student teachers are required to complete lengthy research about their teaching experience. This assignment is given a year in advance in order for them to complete the entire task. However, most of them only start nearing the assignment due date.

Culture, Time Management or Ownership?

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I work with many of these student teachers going through their research. I notice that those who do well, in general, have one defining quality. That quality is that they have ownership over their own work. That ownership leads to better time management and eventually a culture of excellence in their work.

I find that taking ownership over their work is an extremely important characteristic to have. This is because teaching can be an extremely demotivating career. Now, I stress on the word ‘can’ not that it is a demotivating career. That reason stems from how you perceive your role as a teacher. If a teacher only aims to get by and achieve excellence in mediocrity, there really is no point in taking ownership over their work. However, if they want to make a difference and inspire the next generation, it is essential that they take ownership over their craft.

I find that over time, many of my teachers who take ownership over their work, tend to survive the worst this career throws at them. They are able to work through rebellious students because they believe what they are doing means something. These teachers understand that no matter how many administrative tasks are thrown at them, they believe that what they are doing if done right, is worth more than any pay raise.

How We Can Train Our Teachers to Do Better

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Unfortunately, the system at times encourages the need to be a ‘jack of all trades’ over excellence. I get it, it is important for the teachers to be able to teach as many subjects as possible. It makes a lot of administrative sense. However, a teacher should be encouraged to focus instead on any field in school that they wish to pursue. This can be in management, sports or even teaching skills.

I have mentored a few students and many of them focused on enhancing the teaching and learning experience through technology. Over time, they have managed to come up with new ways of teaching through the use of technology. Their research and work have gotten them to presenting in academic conferences and becoming better teachers.

Conclusion

Specializing in an area of teaching is always a good way of coming up with better and newer ways of teaching. Is it possible to continue teaching using the same methods? Most definitely! However, the teachers will be missing out on the joy of experimenting with new and revolutionary ways of teaching. Ways of teaching that may just change the lives of other students for the better.

The Importance of Education to your Future is Like Training

I used to be able to swim 5 Kilometers as part of my daily training. The training gave me an edge in swimming competitions. That is because there were times where I had to take at least 3 events, which meant that I had to keep my stamina up. Now, you may be wondering, what has that got to do with the importance of education to your future? The importance can be summarized in one phrase, which is maintaining a competitive edge. 

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The Definition of Education & its Importance

If you were to ask most people about what education is, most will point to the pursuit of good grades. Some may speak about the discipline in pursuing those grades. Others may speak of getting into a good school and eventually a good job. However, that goal or rather definition of why education is important is slowly degrading. Education has grown complicated over the years. A good degree may not get you a good job. Also, employers are increasingly seeing graduates underperforming despite their great paper qualifications. Furthermore, college education has become somewhat of a right and not something that you earn.

As such, the whole ‘good school to get a good job approach has’ lost its appeal by many parents of this generation. Thus, many have chosen to pull their children out of the normal school system, opting to instead homeschool or even unschool them. The reason for this is because education has been seen as a means to a better life. However, the pursuit of a better life is actually the pursuit of lifelong education. Thus, while education to get good grades may not be in line with your future plans, the importance of education to your future is in maintaining that competitive edge.

 

What Can I do?

In order to prepare for your future, you will have to train. In terms of education, there are two ways to go about it. First is to broaden your knowledge in terms of depth and the other in terms of width. Let me explain. The broadening of knowledge in terms of depth would mean pursuing one single field and becoming an expert in it. This would require you to pursue a higher level of education like masters and a doctorate degree. However, the point is not for the certification, rather gain a different perspective under the tutelage of experts in that field.

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If you decide to broaden your knowledge in terms of width. That would require you to learn about an industry that is closest or relevant to you. The more skills or knowledge you acquire makes you an invaluable member of your organization. Why? That’s because you have the knowledge of a worker from two different industries. This is known as industrial crosstraining.

Personally, I have attempted both. I am a doctorate student in education and I love studying economics and blockchain. In doing so, I have found that many concepts such as decentralization and the need to take ownership of one’s finances have slowly made its way into my classes. I remember once teaching students about inflation and even using Steemit to teach a language class. Such things are not standard in our teaching practices, but that’s the benefit of gaining knowledge in width, the view from other industries does give you a fresh new take on how you see things.

Conclusion

Ultimately education is a continuous process, colleges, universities and all, those are just a vehicle for you to get educated. However, what you do to get educated is important. As such, start training today for that competition that is your future. If you train hard enough, you can brave any economic hardship. That is because no matter how the job market changes, you will be highly sought after. As such, that is the importance of education to your future.

 

 

How To Overcome Procrastination at University

It has been three long months since I have last posted. I would like to think that the reason is the constant battle that I face in my postgraduate studies. However, over time, I have come to realize that it is my procrastination that has led me to stop doing, well, everything. It wasn’t long before I notice that a lot of things in my life have been put on hold. I found myself having to catch up with all the things that I have ignored for quite a while. It wasn’t long before I have found myself in a cycle of procrastination.

 

My Definition of Procrastination

So let me first define what procrastination in my case really is. I know some people just ignore their work until the very last minute because of the misguided perception that time is on their side. They are those who procrastinate because they are occupied with other things that demand their attention. This can include family or other demands placed on them. However, I started procrastinating after being overwhelmed.

At some point in my study, I started losing a lot of support from some who were assigned to guide me. On top of that, the constant failures did not help as well. I know that it was all part of my journey of learning. But, I was required to finish my studies at a predetermined time as I was on scholarship. Thus, without the necessary support and time constraints placed on me, I started procrastinating.

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What are the Signs?

The signs were subtle at first. There was the occasional voice in my head demanding that I start watching the latest anime or start cleaning my entire house. These were manageable initially, but as the failures pile up, so did the time I procrastinate. If this sounds familiar to you, I think constant failures lead to a sense of fear. This fear eventually hinders one from pursuing their goals or attending to their responsibilities.

It was this fear that made me feel a sense of dread when I look through my work. It was this fear that made doing anything else preferable as long as it was not my work. Heck, I even learned how to bake. Doing that just seem more fulfilling despite my work being more important.

Fight the Small Battles

I was stuck in this cycle of procrastination that bordered on depression. I was displaying similar signs of depression that some friends of mine used to display. So how did I got out of it?

I started doing just small portions of my work. I understood that if I completed small portions of my work slowly, eventually, I could start tackling the larger tasks. As time went by, something happened in how I saw my situation. I started being more willing to complete my work instead of procrastinating.

I suppose with enough small wins, I started feeling less defeated and got my fire back. If this resonates with you, I think that we should consider that when we procrastinate, it could be that it is our self-esteem that has taken a hit. To address that, perhaps you just need the occasional small win to give you that boost to tackle the larger tasks.

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Take the leap With the Bigger Battles

As you address the small battles, there will come a time when you have to address the bigger battles. This could be a chapter in that book that you are dreading to finish, or in my case, the completion of my entire thesis. For me, there is always going to be that large final battle, that final boss that you have to address eventually. The question is, on what terms are you going to face those large battles?

I would argue that you would be more prepared to take on the larger battles or challenges once you are more confident. Such confidence can be like the fuel that you need to push you forward to completing your tasks. If the victories from those small battles do not appeal to you, perhaps consider this, you have no control over the bigger battles that you face. So perhaps you should just take the leap, or as my coach used to say, “embrace the suck”.

Embracing the suck can be unpleasant but it is through taking that first step that you start to realize that perhaps your challenge is not as difficult as you think. Sometimes, the fear of failing diminishes gradually once you start taking that leap. I remember bungee jumping off the Auckland Harbour bridge. The funny thing about that experience was that bungee jumping off the bridge was fun and exciting, but the journey towards the place where I jump off was much scarier. The point is, the journey leading up to a battle can be much scarier than actually participating in the battle itself.

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Conclusion

I hope that you have gotten something from my experience with procrastination. I think there are many articles out there that speak about hacks or methods that can help you be more productive. However, I think that at times, there is that slight possibility that it is not what you use to tackle procrastination, but why you are procrastinating.

Once you have a better view of why you are procrastinating, be it an emotional, physical or some other need, you would be better equipped to tackle your little problem with procrastination.

 

I’ve Been Away From Steemit Trying to Complete the Longest Post

I have just realized that I have been away from Steemit for nearly a month. Throughout the entire month, I have been busy completing and perfecting the longest post in my life. No, it’s not this post, but my Ph.D. thesis.

This post can be a bit confusing and I apologize for this, that’s because my mind has literally turned to mush in the midst of trying to complete my Ph.D. thesis.

For the last three years, I have been on a rather lonely journey trying to complete my Ph.D. thesis. At close to 65000 words and at about 220 pages, I hope that it will hold up when I am being evaluated. As I entered into the final months of my work, it has been a rather interesting journey. It has been a journey that has been both painful and enlightening.

I Feel Physically Sick 

After spending at times up to 8 hours a day looking and figuring out what to write for my thesis, I feel physically sick looking at my work. You know how they use to say that Ph.D actually stands for Permanent Head Damage. I am starting to see the reason why.

I remember trying to figure out how to word a particular issue for quite a bit. It took me close to a day just to get one paragraph done. Even that I felt so drained. Every time I am being evaluated, I feel a sickening feeling in my being. There’s this fear that gnaws at the back of my head and constantly tells me that I may screw up my work.

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When I share this with some of my friends, well-meaning ones would always ask me what the big deal is. To them, even if I do fail, all I have to do is to start all over again. That may be true, but unfortunately, I am on a scholarship.

As such, I am only given 3 years to complete the entire thesis or I would have to pay back an equivalent of 4 Bitcoins (at May 2019 prices).

But I Have Learnt…

However, I have learned the value of just starting. Sometimes, it becomes rather overwhelming to plan everything perfectly. Even in the best circumstances, the best plans do tend to fall apart. As such, I have learned that the best thing that I can do is to just start doing it.

I believe that it is through starting, trying or doing that you will discover where the actual flaws are. I also believe that we sometimes get stuck in planning because just planning is a really comfortable place to be. As such, being uncomfortable and putting myself in a situation that has made me physically sick has made it possible for me to complete my work.

Conclusion

I hope this ends soon, as it is, my Ph.D. has drained quite a lot of me in terms of physically, mentally and emotionally. I’m even starting to get weird dreams, but that being said, I will see this through to the very end.

 

How To Earn Extra Income As a Teacher

Over the years, there have been many who have insinuated that the teaching profession is a low to mid income profession. There is some truth in that since the pay of teachers in most countries is not considered high. Thus, there are many teachers who are looking for ways to earn some extra income. In this post, we will be exploring some of these ways of how you can make some extra income with a bachelor’s degree in education or just as a teacher.

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Private Tutoring

Private tutoring is one of the more lucrative ways to earn some extra income. This method is especially effective in eastern countries such as China, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia and Singapore. These countries are rather exam oriented and thus, there is a huge market for teachers to better prepare students for exams.

If you happen to be teaching in an exam-oriented country, you can start by first advertising your services. After that, do consider who your students are. In general, students come for tuition either for remedial or enrichment purposes. Thus, if your students require remedial work, do consider helping them out in what they have been taught in school. You can help fill the gaps for difficult concepts that they may not understand in school.

If your students are already doing rather well in school, you can enrich their learning experiences by giving them content that is outside of their school syllabus. Such content, of course, must be built upon what they are learning. You can focus on helping them apply concepts that they have learned in school in real life. Thus, teaching them how to apply what they have learned not only for exams but later on in their life.

Write a Book

If you have been teaching for as long as I have, you will have a lot of stories to tell as a teacher. I have been teaching for the last ten years and I have nearly a year’s worth of stories published on my blog. Shameless promotion, I know. However, why not consider publishing your stories in a book? Your stories may be able to inspire the next generation to take up teaching as a profession.

You could also publish methods on how to control your class. This is especially valuable for new teachers who are seeking ways to control their class. As a teacher trainer, I find that more than 90% of the time, new teachers are stumped when it comes to controlling their class.

Another idea that is worth pursuing is to write a book understanding complex concepts in your area of expertise. If you are a good mathematics teacher, you probably have many ideas on how to help students navigate the complexities of algebra. Why not put that in a book? I am sure this would help many teachers and students. I even wrote one on my own.

Pursue a Postgraduate Degree

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I find that education is a field where the more qualified you are academically, the better the opportunities. One great advice I was given when I started teaching was to pursue a postgraduate degree. I did not see any value in it. This was partly due to my view of what a good teacher should be. I felt that all I had to do, was teach.

However, what convinced me to pursue a postgraduate degree was the fact that having a masters or a Ph.D. helps in opening more opportunities. If I wanted a promotion of any kind, a postgraduate degree was a prerequisite. Also, if I wanted better pay in another institution, a postgraduate degree does help in commanding a higher pay and thus, extra income.

As such, why not try pursuing a postgraduate degree. There are many types of postgraduate degree ranging from coursework to research. With the right fit and a bit of sacrifice, you may just change your financial future for the better. Sacrifice in this case, of course, refers to money and time.

Write a Module

A postgraduate degree may be prerequisite for better job opportunities, however, it leads to so many other great opportunities for extra income. That comes in the form of writing modules. Modules, in this case, refers to course modules for university or college.

In order to achieve this, you will have to do some self-promotion. You can do so via blogs, LinkedIn or through word of mouth. It will not be long before you get noticed. Of course, I do recommend attending conferences relating to your field. It is through that you may get connected to colleges or universities looking to hire writers for writing a curriculum for a new course. It is through writing such modules that you can get paid a bit of an extra income.

Alternatively, you can try writing and producing modules of your own. Platforms such as Teachable are excellent for promoting courses of your own. You can sell your courses for some extra income. If your modules are good, I am pretty sure that word of mouth would spread pretty quickly.

Become a Consultant

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If you have written some form of a module or if you are in a position of authority, you can consider becoming a consultant. As a consultant, you may be approached by education startups or companies for advice on all things education. Your input is valuable in helping these companies design education products that will sell. In the process of doing so, you may get paid some extra income for your troubles.

Now, there is, of course, no hard and fast way to achieve this. Not only will you need some sort of qualification, but you will also need to know those who are working in these education startups. Do consider asking those who are working in these education startups for a cup of coffee, share your thoughts and ideas with them. Even if you are not hired, at least you would have gotten to know someone else in the industry.

Alternatively, do consider starting your own consultancy online. You could promote your services and even blog about certain problems and solutions in education that you are passionate about.

Coach (Sports)

Now, if furthering your studies is not something that you aim to do, perhaps you could consider a side hustle as a coach or trainer. You can take a quick course in a sport and get certified. After that, you can start a class training students for some extra income. I believe that being a coach in any sport can earn you some extra income.

However, I do find that swimming is one of the few sports that pay rather well. Of course, I may a bit biased since I am a swimming coach myself, but many parents see the importance of swimming as a form of precaution. Some may send their children after hearing of a drowning incident in the local community. Morbid, I know, but these parents just want the assurance that their child could save themselves if they happen to fall into a pool.

As a swimming coach, you can start your own classes or promote your services to a school. If you get hired or manage to find students to teach, your business will grow rather quickly and thus earn you some extra income. I remember starting my coaching gig at a local community center. I was a competitive swimmer so I was hired immediately. However, they were also hiring adults with some swimming experience just to teach younger children.

Coach (Debating and Public Speaking)

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Alternatively, if you are quite good at debating, singing or public speaking, there are many schools who are looking to hire you. I remember a time when money was short and I had to plan for my wedding. Planning, in this case, means my wife plans and I would pay. Thus, I promoted my services as a coach in debating and public speaking on a local community site. The response I received was pretty good. I even got a call from a local oil and gas company to train their staff.

Conclusion

All in all, no matter what side gig you aim to get in, you just have to put in the time and hard work. It is through persistence and building a brand for yourself that you will be able to make some nice side income.

I always see the teaching profession as a job where you have to be an expert in something but know everything as well. That is why there are many training courses and conferences for you to attend in order to learn a new skill. As such, keep learning, keep exploring and while you are at it, build a nice side income stream.

Pranking My Students… Even Harder…Helped

In my previous post, I spoke about how I pranked my class because they have a habit of coming to class late. It worked for a bit. However, there was one who was unrepentant. Instead of coming to class early he continued coming to class late. That was when I decided to prank him, even harder.

I Was Pissed, So I Had a Bright Idea

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It was a few weeks after I har pranked my student. I assumed that most of them have learned their lesson. However, there was one guy who has decided that his sleep was more important than being punctual. So I tolerated his antics for a bit.

Until one day, after a good hour, he was still not in class. I have to admit, I was pissed when I found out from his roommate that he was still asleep. I was pissed but not angry and I thought to myself… What was the most diabolical thing that I could do to make him remember that being late is bad.

Then it hit me, why should I wait for him to come to me when I could go to him.

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The Prank

I asked his roommate for his key. Sensing what was going to happen next, he handed me his key and smirked. I asked a colleague to help me out with the class while I headed off to his room.

Upon arriving at his room, I knocked on the door three times, Sheldon Cooper style =) . However, there was no answer, so I unlocked the door. He was sound asleep and so I woke him.

He thought I was his roommate and in his grogginess, shove my hands away. When he finally came to, he jumped out of the bed as if he had seen a ghost. I told him to get up and get to class. He was apologetic and scrambled to the bathroom.

The Aftermath

He came to class early in the classes that followed the prank. I suppose it hit him hard enough to remember that lesson. We did talk after the incident and he told me why he was not able to wake up early.

I found out that he had a drinking problem. Specifically, a coffee drinking problem. Apparently, he was taking in approximately 7 cups of brewed coffee a day. Unknown to him, the coffee was the one keeping him awake.

I advised him not to go cold turkey immediately on the coffee and also suggested to him the best times in a day to take coffee in order to stay awake. What he will do next is really up to him.

Looking back, this has been one of my more diabolical schemes. I find it interesting that ultimately we are subject to the good or bad lifestyle choices that we make. Perhaps I should suggest to the administration to have a course on healthy lifestyle choices.

Pranking My Students Helped Me Solved Discipline Issues

I had a huge problem with my college students. They loved coming to class late. So if the class starts at 9 am, they will only be there at 9.30am. It was a problem, an annoying problem. That being said, it was not something that the disciplinary board would take any action on. So, I decided to hit back by pranking my students.

The Prank

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Like every class, most of my students came to class late. Most of them, except for about five who were there early. I stood up and addressed all five of them. To start off, it was pointed out that it was not fair for us to all wait for them.

I told them that I appreciate them for always being early. However, it’s about time that those who are late pay for it. So I asked everyone to play along. I wrote on the whiteboard that the submission date for the most recent assignment was moved up. I told all of my students to play along and look busy.

The plan was to look as if they were all busy. As the group trickled in, they will tell the rest of the class that the assignment date was moved up. They will then urge their friends to start completing the assignment at that very moment.

The Result

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The prank worked better than I could imagine. As the latecomers trickled into the class, all those who were early sent them into a panic. All the latecomers began frantically completing their work. I kept the fear up, telling them that the college demanded that they submit their work today or it is an automatic failure.

As I was inciting fear, I could see some of the early comers smirking. If I had to guess, I think they were enjoying it too. After a good hour of mental torture, I finally broke the news to the class. I told the latecomers the truth. The reaction I got was surprising, they were actually happy that the assignment was not due on that day. Some even burst out laughing.

However, I decided to turn their attention toward the lesson at hand.

The Lesson

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I had two lessons for the students. The first being that it is not nice to make others wait for you. Pretty standard I suppose, but the next lesson was something that I wanted them to remember. That lesson is that being a teacher, you don’t get to be late. Since most of them will be setting an example for the students, their current attitude is unacceptable.

It seemed like I have gotten to them. Their attitude improved dramatically. Most were early to class the following day. Some were not, but I guess old habits die hard. There was one student who ignored the lessons taught.

He did not want to come early to class despite repeated warnings and the prank. So, I took a more ‘direct’ approach. That is a story for another post.

Top Three Lessons Learnt From Surviving Teaching As a Primary School Teacher

When I graduated from university, I graduated as a secondary school English teacher. In the eyes of the government, I was only supposed to teach English in secondary schools. However, through a bizarre twist of fate, I was made to teach primary school temporarily. Thus begin my short stint as a primary school English teacher. It was tough and rather traumatic, but here are the top three lessons that I have learned from surviving my stint as a primary school teacher.

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The Chaos is Not That Bad

Well, to be honest, it was bad initially. Imagine entering a class filled with 50 energetic and active children. The chaos and noise can be rather daunting initially. However, with experience, you can bring that chaos under control quickly. The trick I find is to allow them the opportunity to burn off some energy, thereby creating some chaos for a short time. In other words, the children should be allowed some fun. Thus, with some pushing and pulling, you create somewhat of a balance between chaos and order. That’s because, with some energy burnt off, they are likely to be more engaged in the classroom activity.

That being said, the chaos is something that is out of your control. At times, some students may choose to disrupt the class like bringing their pet lizard to class and tossing it into someone’s shirt (true story). With such scenarios, it has offered me opportunities to put some theories to the test.

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You Put Theories to The Test

There are some really great books out there with great theories on teaching. However, not every theory is applicable in the situations stated in the books. Thus, teaching in a primary school helped me put several theories to the test. This was especially the case for theories that I have learned for teaching in a secondary setting.

I remember treating some discipline issues using theories for a secondary setting. Things did not go down well and I had to think on my feet. Apparently, being the cool, sage-like adult figure to children did not yield the same effect as teens. As such, it was interesting finding out and learning on the job.

Thankfully, learning on the job did bring some great lessons. One of them is the importance of patience.

Patience Changes Lives

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To be honest, I did not like younger children before I had my own children or before I taught in a primary school. I was just more comfortable with teens. Thus, there are times when I feel like telling a child to buck up or wise up. It can be tough being patient with younger children for making some mistakes that I may deem trivial.

I remember trying my best not scolding a student about a really dumb mistake he made. However, just before I did, he somehow opened up to me about the problems he was facing at home. The anger dissipated and I listened. From then on, I became that someone he could talk to whenever he needed. That taught me a valuable lesson to be patient throughout my career and it has served me well in the years that follow.

Looking back, I dreaded the day that I was made to teach in primary school. I am happy that it has taught me some great lessons, who knows, I may even get the opportunity to teach in such a setting again.