Friday, 10 August 2018

CONFESSION TIME: TEACHER! GOD UPPED HIS GAME. HOW ABOUT YOU?

I haven’t been to heaven and I guess you haven’t either. Our knowledge about God comes from the scripture and sometimes personal revelation/encounter.
I believe He is omnipotent, omnipresent etc. But for the past two to three weeks, I have been wrestling with the above named topic. It flashed into my mind once and would never let go. I have decided to get rid of it; throw it out for all to read as well. There is a message in it for you if you are a teacher at heart.
As a teacher dealing with students on day to day basis, I have realized that reflecting over our action or other’s is a tool we must keep handy. I want to share this reflection of mine with you. Be kind to express your views after surfing through.
God has been learning on the job. For centuries, millennia, He learnt from His interaction with mankind. And where God threads with caution, I dare not zip around it like car driver on steroid.
GOD'S LEARNING FIELD
Between the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament is about thousands years (don’t know many exactly).
Those years featured God establishing covenants upon covenants with His people. It saw Him sending prophets to reestablish affirm old covenants or setup new ones. Yet He had a nation so truculent that at the slightest opportunity turned the terms of the covenant on its head. 
Through Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, Jeremiah and many more He established these covenants with His people.
He promised them heaven and earth, parted the sea for them, made manna fall like rain in the desert, squeezed water out of a rock, brought down nations before them. And what was His reward?
They (the Israelites) sold Him out at the slightest opportunity, going after manmade images and the likes. They even offered their children to those gods too. Killed, tortured, maimed prophets He sent to call them back to order even His son met the death reserved for criminals of the highest order.
He sent them into exile, brought them back. He punished them with famine, diseases etc but the repetition was unfortunately an endless cycle.
LEARN FROM GOD
But God didn’t give up. God upped His game and not the Jews. Like the master tactician/coach, He shifted from plan B to C, D down to Z and at the end, conquered the whole world in less than two thousand years.
The icing on the cake was that He is no longer leading the battle line from the vanguard. We, you and I are doing it with His blessings. 
But don't forget, God upped His game and not the Jews. 
The key to His incredible success was taking flesh, the incarnation. All other covenants never had this feature. And it was when He ate with us, wept, got angry, slept, knew disappointment and success that the seed of world domination. 
Instead of appearing in a pillar of smoke, with a thundering voice, opening up the ground to swallow defaulters, sending poisonous snakes amongst their rank to punish them, making them walk forty more years in exchange for forty days, sending them into exile etc He chose to live with you and I. 
This is what teaching should look like. 
My students will never change their game tomorrow. They don't even know what wave length they are playing on. And if I give in, they lose. If I go hard on them, I may lose some if not all.
My only option is to play God. I have to come down to their level, observe their learning processes, weaknesses and do the changing from inside out; from their point of view. 
I will teach, learn and study with them. I must get into their brains, behind their eye sockets and view my learning process from their perspective, how they assimilate and interpret my learning contents. This is no easy fit but it is doable. 
Jesus did it. If he hadn't lived among us, I wonder how long Christianity would have fared. I think that what fired a bunch of semi-literate/illiterate Jewish men to change the course of history was their experience with Jesus (the Word made flesh). 
CONCLUSION
Permit me to wrap up with this quote, "I've learnt it is more effective to adapt and to meet my students where they are rather than forcing them to change, to adapt and to meet me where I'm."
This was God’s trump card.


Sunday, 15 April 2018

CAN YOU HELP PAPA MMESO BE A BIT RELEVANT TO HIS STUDENTS TOMORROW?

 I polished my shoe a couple of minutes ago, ironed my shirts on Saturday night. I will be packing my bag (laptop) in the next 30 minutes. 

My lesson notes are in soft copy. I just ran through them on Saturday. Literally I am set to welcome Monday cum resumption day. 

Let me share some of my plans for I and my students this term. By God's grace we will successfully cross out each of them as the term unfolds. 

I teach S.S 1 Civic Education and S.S 2 Humanities CRS. 

I have already splitted the S.S 2 class into groups of four the previous term. This term, we will at the group level be doing a lot of peer to peer teaching/coaching, assignments cum presentations.

Peer to peer mentoring gives the shy ones the opportunity to discuss with their colleagues, ask questions and even help the more courageous ones to assist the others.

I may not be able to do this in S.S 1 because our period per week isn't much. I will however employ different form of assessments (oral, written etc) to gauge their level of comprehension as the term rolls on. 

I used audio visual tools a bit last term. I have to double my effort in this regard this term. Design more PowerPoint slides, bring in relevant video clips, newspaper clippings too and any other relevant learning aid. 

What am I missing? What would you like me to add to my to do list this term? Do help a teacher be much more relevant to his students this final lap of the session... 

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Never allow a week to end without learning several new things about the children you teach! Joseph Aisida 

The refectory was dark. It was the shortest cut to the classroom block so he had to take it. 

He felt along the wall for the light switch. 

And as the light scattered the cloud of darkness, he saw someone sleeping - head on the table he guessed. 

It was prep time. No one should be hear now. 

He got closer only to hear his sniffles and what passed off like a sob or was he crying?

He gently raised his head up. It was John the troublesome student. Of course who else should it be? He thought.  

However John's tear stained face presented a different case scenario which compelled him to explore the situation. 

After minutes of petting and consoling, John's power of speech came back to life. His story roused my colleague's teacher antenna. 

They were caught talking during lights out the previous day. The following day, they were marshaled out before the Academic dean. 

It was there that his nightmare kicked off. He and his fellow culprits received the severest tongue lashing of their lives. 

He kept a straight face, swallowing the skin pealing barbs bravely till the Dean singled him out. 

What was his fault? 

He was the only person who wasn't crying or rather, according to the Dean, showing signs of remorse. And he was vehemently rebuked for his strong hearted nature - a heart that is incapable of feeling an aorta of contrition for what he did. 

This wasn't the first time John has been caught in the eye of the storm. He has over time decided to wear his poker face when they hurl their barbs at him. 

He would rather go to a quiet corner and weep his eyes out later. Just like this fateful night my colleague caught up with him. 

Two to three days of continuous discussion got John talking about his past.

So was he actually a headstrong, hardhearted, incapable of showing remorse fellow? 

He was a product of a broken home. His mother took his sisters with her leaving him with his dad. No one has heard from them since. 

His dad actually dumped him in the school to keep him far away from his James Bond life style. Of course he had figured this out too.   

As he narrated this to me, I couldn't help but ask myself how much I really know about my students? 

Apart from the troubling facade, the innocent face, the aggressive tendencies, what else do I know about them?

What do I know about their family background, how stable the home front is, are the parents staying together, divorced, dead etc? 

This could be a difficult prospect which can make our already cluttered desk look insignificant. But if we really want to meet the unique needs of our students, this is a sacrifice we must make. 

Papa Mmeso the students' teacher. 

Sunday, 4 February 2018

SOME OF US (TEACHERS) ARE GUILTY OF MANSLAUGHTER. 

She knows, even her parents too that she is a jack of all trade. 

Her teachers told her that. That she isn't intelligent. The reason why she is good is that she is in the midst of average students. 

I don't know whether she believes them but she is accepting the view that she may be the living embodiment of the word Jack of all Trade.

She just dropped a book on my desk - John Mason's Know Your Limits - Then Ignore Them. In her words, I should read Nugget 6. It is titled "One Thought Driven Home Is Better Than Three Left In Base." 

I am perturbed that she is buying into this already. And I am not happy that some of us are responsible for this seed of doubt sown in her malleable heart. 

How could we be so heartless, so carried away, or thoughtless? How could we identify a problem and fail to proffer solutions? 

I don't think it is late yet to pull her out of this backward thought. I will read the book but I wouldn't buy into her theory. 

I see a smart working student in her. I see a lady who will take the center stage in any field if endeavor she finds herself. I see a student who could combine, head different groups in school and still have time for her books. 

Teachers, our word is golden. It has the power to create and destroy. We must be careful when we correct our students. 

We should castigate and also encourage; smack with our left hand and give hope with the right hand. 

Never tell a parent or a student what the problem is without reeling out solutions as well. And if you are not ready to be part of the solution, be still and forever remain silent. 

Friday, 2 February 2018

A BLIND MAN CAN LEAD A BLIND MAN SAFELY...

I am not the best teacher out there.

I wasn't the smartest student back in my days either.

I have had my series of ups and downs. I once repeated a class and today, I teach students.

But something still irks me. What goes on in the mind of the intelligent students?

Did they just meet themselves these way or once upon a time began working at it?

Were they conscious of these intelligence from the world go or did it come upon them once  upon a time as life went on?

Can the science behind this view be extracted refined and used to wetter the lot of the challenged students? 

What roles can teachers, parents play in this gig? 

I want to help average students like me back in the days become better.

I believe there is a principle, a science to the art of learning and I would like to find out what it is.

If I could make an average student excel, move from his/her position to better or higher form of academic excellence, then I would breath a sigh of relief.

Call me a bloodhound keen on a scent trail; you aren't far from the truth.

Monday, 29 January 2018

WHAT IF I TAKE THE TALKING DRUM TO CLASS? 

This happened at a wedding service... 

It was pulling me up not by the hands but literally by my heart. It's thump, reverberating thump was pushing me to the edge of my sit to stand and let the dancing beast in me free. 

Unfortunately I belong to the class of people who haven't thoroughly mastered the art of shuffling feet properly. Guess I used my dancing school fees to play nairabet and lost it to the ups and down of the game. 

Who invented such an instrument, such lovely sound that could cause the heart of a lackadaisical soul to come alive with the zeal of a fanatic? 

The animal whose skin could produce such sound should be posthumously nominated for an OSCAR award. 

I heard that in some quarters it is called the talking drum. The name fits it properly with no inch to spare. 

I wish I could take it to class. Wish my hands could conjure that unique sound that speaks volume in a rhythmic language. It could be my mouth piece, convey my thoughts with much clarity than spoken words. 

Could my school authority allow me take it to class as an instructional aid? 

I looked around me, the church was half empty. The bride and groom were already heading out. I gently stood up, consigned my phone to my jacket and headed out to join celebrate the day God has made. 

Papa Mmeso