I can categorically say that I have taught in the last 10 years. This puts me in a situation that am able to assess some of the mistakes that most teachers do including myself that makes us regret after retirement or harshly judged by the community. They are common though but if you are a young teacher, please avoid these mistakes if you can.
1. Investing in liabilities rather than assets
Most teachers, including commerce and Business studies teachers have a problem when it comes to investing. In most cases, teachers invest on liabilities which they call assets but eventually makes them poorer in long run. Robert Kiyosaki author of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" defines an asset as anything that you acquire that puts money into your pocket. Assets are what the rich use to generate wealth over time.
A good house, A car, a microwave, expensive phones and an idle plot are not assets unless they are used to bring an extra coin into your pocket. Young teachers should therefore learn to invest on assets rather than liabilities. You won't find this definition in a business classroom.
2. Not keen on students homework
Most teachers are not keen on checking homework or supervising students of the same. This results to students developing a lazy attitude because they are not answerable for it. It starts at form 1 and by form 4, students are complete zombies. Such kind of cultural practices in a school can never and will never improve the performance of a school. Even though its difficult and demotivating when you are paid peanuts and provoked of the same, we need to like what we do, its the only way we can find happiness. In the 12 rules of acquiring wealth, Napoleon Hill in his book "think and grow rich" says that happiness comes before money. If you can't find happiness in what you are doing, forget about the business of getting rich altogether.
3. Over-reliant on salary and remedials
Tom was employed by TSC by the age of 26, he took a 6 year loan and bought a plot by this time he was earning almost 1/3 of his salary. On completion of paying the loan at the age of 32, he applied for another loan and started to develop his plot by building a private house and eventually got married on the way. He payed for the loan until he was 38; by this time he had two kids, both were admitted to private schools.
Tom also needed to furnish the house and get himself a good vehicle to drive to and from school and applied for the third loan that he finished to pay at the age of 44. By this time, his children were in secondary and needed to pay more plus increase in domestic expenses. This went on until he retired at 60. At this age, he had no business skills to run a stable business after his retirement, he succumbed to the common disease that most retirees suffer - frustrated and full of regrets.
What actually Tom did from the age of 26 was to trap himself in what Robert Kiyosaki refer to as "rat race" when you are on this race its difficult to overcome it not unless you make sacrifices and invest on assets.
Most teachers are trapped in this race that is why they are over-reliant on basic salary and remedial supplements. The government knows this and that is why TSC will frustrate them all the time
4. Blame games and Excuses when the going gets tough
When the school drops in performance, that is not the best time to exchange blame games and come up with innovative ideas to cover up. This is the time to stick together and encourage each other for a better future. A good number of teachers are specialists in blaming others, students, administration, government, community even livestock in the school. Teachers should accept and own up even though it wasn't their mistake for the poor performance. When a school drops, its the entire school that falls not individuals and to rise, team work is necessary.
5. Being too much of a bureaucrat
Being a staunch follower of ministry rules to the latter doesn't necessarily mean you will perform. Some rules are not just applicable but they make learning environment stink. You as a teacher, you are in the field of combat and let any decision you make be pro students no matter whether you are breaking the law or not. Sometimes we need to make sacrifices in favor of students and let no law be a blockage between you and your students. Some other decision may look bad to TSC but good for a student. For example, if it means to be brute to save a school from burning go for that and let TSC do the barking later.
6. Shunning of student views
Listen to students keenly, in most cases they have tangible evidence on whatever they talk or claim. Shunning down their pleas is like inviting Satan for a meal with Angel Gabriel. Student pleas need to be listened to no matter whether they make sense or not and with the magnificence and urgency required and addressed of a modern manner. Don't use old solutions to new problems
7. Not marking examinations in a proper manner
Some teachers don't mark examinations the way they are supposed to be marked. They haphazardly mark examinations to find free time out of the school. Marking exams especially with the method KNEC uses is very crucial for the performance of any school.
8. Setting of Shoddy examinations
If you can't just set standard exams, get plenty of examinations from our exam store. Sub-standard exams brings forth substandard results. Setting exams in the KNEC format is the best way to test your students and prepare them for the KCSE or KCPE examinations.
9. Making a teacher centered timetable instead of learner centered
Most timetables in our schools are teacher centered with some teachers appearing in school between 10 AM to 2:40 PM its like they are teaching from correspondence, this makes it harder for students to consult them for clinics and guidance and counselling. In most cases, senior teachers influence how the timetable looks like and normally make local arrangements that favors their course. Its like burying your head in the sand and pretending to be part of the team.
10. Teachers not behaving like role models
Children are good at imitating what they see rather than what they hear or smell and all teachers are role models however some teachers behave badly. They get drunk in the morning or initiate sexual affairs with minors of opposite sex. It beats the logic anyway.
Maurice A. Nyamoti is a high school teacher and has a passion in assisting students improve grades