The Most Successful Babysitter in The World: YouTube

I have found that many parents and babysitters have been using a revolutionary 21st century tool to manage children. This tool has also been used by private babysitter services as well. Imagine having a child who has never seen Youtube before coming home and asking for it. It is not surprising since Youtube has made many adults glued to the screens. As such, it should not be surprising that young children will be hooked to it as well.

Now before I continue any further, this may not be something you want to hear. Thus, please do note that these opinions are mine and mine alone. I welcome discussions, but please don’t go Molotov-cocktailing my house.

Benefits of Using Youtube

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Youtube can be a rather effective educational tool. Let’s face it, with it being the second-largest search engine in the world, you can use Youtube to illustrate practically any topic in the world.

Also, I can imagine the convenience of keeping the children occupied with Youtube. I think any parent here would agree that getting a few minutes or hours of kid-free time is pure bliss. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids, but as a parent, your responsibilities encompass everything else around the house and work. There are also times where you just want to unwind. After all, the walking dead is on its tenth season.

However, aside from being an effective educational tool and its large repository of videos, Youtube has been linked to some problems faced by parents these days.

Problems With Youtube

Children are easily influenced and their behaviour can be easily moldable depending on their surroundings. As such, if videos are inappropriate, you can be sure that this will eventually affect the attitude of the child as well. I remember a friend speaking about how the autoplay function on Youtube was an excellent tool as it keeps the child entertained.

This was all good until some parties managed to game the system. They manipulated Youtube’s algorithm to play their own videos with inappropriate content. Of course, you could easily mitigate this by pre-downloading the right videos for your child. But consider this, how long should a child be allowed to watch Youtube videos?

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If you are a teacher or have observed any classrooms lately, you will find that children these days are a little more active than the children of the previous generation. There are many reasons to justify this. However, the amount of screen time has been attributed as one of the causes. With studies stating that the younger a child is and the more time a child spends on screens, the more it impedes their mental development. This is the case with allowing children too much time watching Youtube. So how much is exactly too much?

It’s hard to say unfortunately, some claim that no more than 2 hours a day is fine while others claim that a few minutes is adequate. What is clear however is this, moderation is key. Of course, when in doubt, introduce screen time when the child is much older.

But No Screen is Tough

I understand and acknowledge this. There are days when I do feel like just letting Youtube do all the babysitting for me while I run off to do my work. However, we do have to persevere. As such, a lot of time is spent entertaining our children with books and toys. It takes up more time, but it helps them better especially in their speech development. The same applies to their ability to focus as well. This does not necessarily apply to every child.

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However, here is a different perspective. If screen time is introduced as a way to keep them occupied, too much screen time would eventually become a norm. Thus, if it is taken away, how would you think the child would react? From experience, children who are used to too much screen time will get extremely bored and unfocused when their screen time is taken away. It becomes somewhat like a drug to keep them going, kinda how coffee works for me. As such, just like coffee, shouldn’t its intake be limited as much as possible? Or like a popular sticker once said,

Who is raising your child? You or Youtube?

Do let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Being Programmed to Not Find Good Cryptocurrency Projects

A conversation I had with my friend the other night made me think that perhaps our students are being programmed to not make good long term choices. It would not be too far of a stretch to claim that there will be who will fall for scams and bad cryptocurrency projects. As such, I will discuss a few things that I feel are being taught at school and how we can better train our next generation to make better choices.

Critical Thinking

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Yes, I know, every single educator would lament on the fact that their students are somehow not good critical thinkers. But, hear me out. I went for a course that taught people how to create a startup. It was a really good course, but then I noticed something interesting. I noticed that the system that they used was eerily similar to how I teach research writing. Utilizing (or gaming) the system, my team won third with a superbly boring idea.

I may be biased, but I think the journey of writing a good dissertation or a thesis changes you. It forces you to think from various perspectives. The journey also forces you to take into account all the possible problems that may occur. Thus, thinking critically. However, research skills like this is commonly taught at the end of an undergraduate course. I think that it should be taught much earlier. Imagine if people had the skills and tools to see through projects such as Bitconnect. At least, even if they were to buy into the project, they would know the risks that they are taking.

As such, I think students in high school should be given the opportunity to analyze companies and projects. They should be taught to question the way the company is being run. Hopefully, this will equip them with the ability to see through all the marketing and all the hype. Thus, helping them to also pick the right financial projects or cryptocurrency projects to invest in.

Active Reading

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A good mentor of mine once said, your output is only as good as your input. He was referring to the things I say and the ideas I conjure, not the biological output that you may be thinking about. If you were not thinking about that, you are a better person than I am. However, my mentor is right. You only know as much as the knowledge you have.

Thus, imagine if a good friend were to come to you and sell you a particular cryptocurrency project. If you have no idea what cryptocurrencies are about, nor what simple economics are, you may just be thinking about the potential gains that you may make. This may cause you to lose quite a bit. That is because you are placing your decision at the hands of your friend.

This is an issue not just with cryptocurrency projects but life choices as well. Many tend to base their decisions on Youtubers or influencers without researching it themselves. Now, I am not saying that Youtubers and influencers are not trustworthy, but do read up on it. You may see a perspective that they may not. Furthermore, what works for them may not work for you due to various factors.

Thus, I think the skill of active reading is important. One should always read and understand what they have heard from friends and Youtubers. The best time to inculcate these skills is at a young age. Children should be encouraged to ask as many questions as possible and the teacher should try to connect the answers of these questions to their preexisting knowledge. Thus, if knowledge is like a building block, a teacher builds a child’s knowledge by ‘stacking’ it higher with every question answered.

Conclusion

I believe that in times to come, knowledge will not be as important as wisdom. With social media and the internet in general, it is not difficult to find information on anything including a cryptocurrency project. There is also a lot of information on which cryptocurrency project that one can choose. However, wisdom is a combination of knowledge, experience and a critical mind. Put it all together, you just may find the projects that are rare gems of cryptocurrency projects that are buried underneath all the hype of other projects.

Thus, never stop researching, never stop reading and never stop questioning.

 

 

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.

My Experience Training a Group of Policemen

I was given an assignment the other day to train a group of policemen. Truth be told, it sounded like a pretty daunting task, especially since the topic was on public speaking. The daunting part comes in the form of discipline. You see, I knew trainees, especially adult trainees would be less than thrilled to speak in public. Some will even revolt when the language they have to speak in is English.

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I Overprepared…

Since it was a class that I felt I was not prepared for, I did what any teacher would do, I overprepared. The problem was that all the overpreparation was all for naught. I had no idea how proficient the participants (the policemen) were. Furthermore, I had no idea how they would react to the lessons.

So, I loaded up on games, activities, and anything that I could use to capture the attention of the participants. Just in case, I also prepared ten hours worth of slides. The day of training the policemen came and boy was I in for a surprise.

On The Day of Training

On the day of training, I went in and introduced myself and started the training. 15 minutes into my session, my participants started falling asleep. Perhaps some of them were on night patrol and I wondered what I should do. My teacher instincts dictated that I wake him up. An evil thought crossed my mind, I could throw a whiteboard marker at them. That would wake some of them up. But, they were the ones with the guns. So I had to come up with another idea.

At this point, I decided to throw my ten-hour powerpoint slides out the window. I switched immediately to the games and activities that I have prepared. Perhaps something that more stimulating would keep them awake. But then, I ran into another problem, some of the policemen started protesting. It was not a strong protest, but more of a “please don’t make me do this because my English is bad”.

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It was at this point that I realized that it was not the lesson, nor defiance that made them fall asleep but fear. One of them even noted that he was not academically qualified to speak well. He said that he was only a high school graduate and thus was not able to speak in English.

Time For Plan B

I started encouraging and getting the policemen to share anything at all. All they had to do was speak for 30 seconds. They reluctantly agreed and started speaking. Their speech was riddled with grammatical errors but they gave it their very best. At the end of the activity, I went up shared a story.

The story was about a time when I was teaching a university class. In my class, they were many undergraduates and postgraduates. They were much like the policemen as they were not very proficient in English. However, these students were defiant. They crossed their arms and refused to speak a word of English, claiming that the language had no relevance to them. I told the policemen that the only similarity between the policemen and the students was their language proficiency.  Also, I told the policemen that I knew that speaking in English was difficult for them, yet they tried. I also told them that it was a joy in teaching such a professional group of students.

Furthermore, I told them that it did not matter if they were university graduates or high school graduates, what mattered was their attitude. After that, the entire atmosphere in the class changed. They became more participative and at the end, most of them even spoke in front of everyone for at least 5 minutes.

Conclusion

For that final activity, I had the organizer take a video of each of them speaking in front. For most of them, it was their first time speaking in English, in public. The video was distributed to each of them. I told them that one day if they were ever called to speak in public, all they had to do, was look back at the video. This is because the first time is always the hardest, but because they were willing to step out of their comfort zone, the second time would be a breeze.

 

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.

 

 

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.