Lets Help Our Struggling Children

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We have a sad literacy rate and many children struggle to learn. This is not the teachers’ fault but can be attributed to either the lack of educational pursuits from their parents or the way the child actually learns.

I know many schoolteachers, as I am sure most of us do. Yes they do an amazing job and have to tolerate belligerent parents and defiant children almost every day yet they continue undertaking their vital role as educators to frame the minds of our next generation.

Not all children can learn by sitting quietly and listening to a teacher, not all children learn by reading, some can only learn by doing and using movement. This creates a terrible position for student and teachers as they are confined to the one basic teaching model that is so far out-dated it is laughable.

How can help the struggling children? Sure we have changed the curriculum yet we have remained teaching in a similar frame for far too long. While we are using more technology to teach now, which is great, we are still missing the basic understanding of how children learn. Teachers should know their students and how they learn. Students can be asked ‘what is the best way for your brain to understand and learn what we need to teach you.’

Ask the child and most of them can tell you how they can absorb education lessons better. Once we can understand their learning style we can adjust the teaching style. Is this more work or effort, absolutely however I suggest it is far easier in the long run as the class and teachers should have less disruption from a frustrated student unable to concentrate or learn.

What if every teacher, who gets 12 weeks holiday each year, could work only one extra hour each week or two half-hour sessions with a child struggling to learn. Discover their learning style and teach them either one to one or in a group of only a few struggling students.

Either one-hour session or two half hour sessions each week could make such a difference in the life of a child struggling to learn. Yes, teachers struggle every day to do their valuable job and yes many people-working struggle dealing with peers, customers, a dreadful boss; it is part of working.

I do not accept that a teacher would not be agreeable to put in one small hour a week to assist a struggling student. Perhaps we should put it up for discussion, see how many dedicated teachers would agree to that one small hour each week, be recognised for this effort and then we can determine what sort of benefit the children will experience.

Any job we undertake is work and I am not sure if the job of a teacher is less challenging that a customer service officer, a police officer, a nurse in the emergency ward and the list goes on. Their job is hard work for sure, as many jobs are and it is fortunate they are able to recover and rest for 12 weeks every year instead of the standard 4 weeks the rest of us get. While teachers may argue they take work home and do additional hours each week I would say – so does almost everyone else.

A university graduate after a few years who is on $80,000 per annum would certainly not just work their 37.5 hours each week without doing additional work at home, on the weekend or in the office environment; teachers are certainly not different and after a few years work are also on this salary.

All full time workers get 4 weeks annual leave not 12 weeks annual leave. What I suggest therefore is a teacher gives one week per year, divided up to only one hour a week, 38 hour, to struggling students.  (38 hours given the short weeks at year beginning and end). We can only try.