A teacher's blog: Rise above the average!


While I’m working through essays and notice that it’s looong past my bedtime I’m bothered by the thought that we live in a society where too many people accept being average as the norm.

It’s okay just to pass, or simply to hand in the assignment, or that you’ve done what the boss wanted. What has become of being the best you can be?

Too many learners perform below their potential best; too many adults never experience work satisfaction and success – because being average is good enough. We can recharge society with a generation that can make a difference – but only when learners are motivated at school by their teachers and by their parents at home to rise above the average and reach their full potential. Perhaps all teachers should take a close look at themselves and ask:

  • Am I the best teacher I can be every day?
  • Do I motivate and help learners in my class or do I just give lessons to get the work done and earn my salary?
  • Am I impatient and unapproachable with learners who struggle or haven’t done their homework? Or do I understand that they aren’t all lazy, that sometimes there are very real circumstances and problems that must be considered?
  • But parents too must not misinterpret their role or avoid their responsibilities. It’s necessary sometimes for all parents to answer these questions honestly:
    • Do I still try to motivate my child? Not only with words but also through the positive example I set?
    • Don’t I carry some responsibility if my child sometimes behaves negatively towards the school, a teacher or the school’s rules?
    • Do I speak positively and try to be objective if my child does badly in a test, or is it always the teacher’s fault?
    • Do I teach my children there are rules in life when they’re scolded for having long hair or dirty nails, or do I criticise the school’s rules in their presence?
    • When last did I take my child aside and discuss quietly and decently – not in a hectoring or accusatory way -- the need for responsibility and the importance of the will to achieve?

    Being average is simply to amble through the day and look towards tomorrow.

    But wanting to be the best you can be makes of every day a wonderful new challenge that you can and should tackle with enthusiasm.

    - Olga Channing

    Olga is deputy head and Afrikaans teacher at Hoërskool Tuine in Pretoria. She’s authored six school textbooks for the new curriculum and written the Afrikaans youth novel Roomyskoningin. And she still loves her job – after 24 years of teaching.

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