The power of words

By admin
28 August 2013

Our education blogger says the right words from a teacher can help a learner and the wrong words can break a learner.

What makes up the largest part of a teacher’s daily chores? Words!

Words to greet the learners

Words to discipline

Words to arrange and organise

Words to explain difficult subjects

Words to comfort and encourage

Words to make a little joke now and then

Words to support on the sports field

Words to calm the nerves backstage

Angry words, words of help, words of comfort, sometimes words that hurt . . .

Now and then, amid the hurry and flurry of our daily lives, we have to slow down and focus for a few minutes on the things that are really important.

Think back to your school days and the words of a teacher that will always remain with you, maybe because it meant a lot to you, or because it left a scar – forever.

This makes us realise that the words that come out of your mouth can make or break a child, and that’s why you have to be so careful of what you say.

On the other hand it’s also true that learners can easily twist a teacher’s words to suit them or keep them out of trouble.  Not to mention the stories a teacher was supposed to have told . . .

But let’s focus on positive things. Let us as teachers use our words to develop and benefit the learners in our class and to encourage them. So that in a few years, those learners will as adults think back and say, “I will never forget the words of my teacher. I now understand the value of what she/he said and that it was the truth.”

- Olga Channing

* Olga Channing is a deputy principal and Afrikaans teacher at a high school in Pretoria. She’s the author of six books for the new school curriculum and after 24 years as a teacher, she still loves her job.


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