Work Smart, Not Hard!

Whenever teachers are being trained, they are bombarded with the same tired old phrases. 'You are the future of the country,' they are told. 'There's a great responsibility on your shoulders; you must work very hard to fulfil this responsibility.' This is what we hear every time, isn't it? And aren't you fed up of listening to this over the years?
     The problem is that this is such a naive notion. As if working hard makes everything OK. No, you have to use your head! Even those whose work is seen as involving nothing but hard work, they too can do their work well only if they use their head. For instance, the labourers who unload a truck, the farmer working in the field, those who dig pits or carry head loads of debris... If they do their work without thinking and being alert, they can get hurt, face a loss, be shouted at or even fired. In the case of a teacher, therefore, this is bound to be even more crucial!
     A thinking teacher - i.e. a smart teacher - is one who greatly increases children's role in the classroom. And not just in keeping things clean and organized, but in the in the learning process itself. For instance, the class 4 teacher said to the children: 'You know, in this story, when the lion woke up one morning, he found that he had no hair on his head! His mane - totally gone! So guess what he did in order to get it back? Well, read the story and find out!'
     When children started to read the story, the teacher went and sat with those who were in danger of falling behind others. After a little while she said: 'If there are any words you're not able to understand, circle them with your pencil. Then ask the children around you if they know.' When everyone had finished this, she asked groups of children to look at each other's circled words and see if they could find out the meaning. 'If there are still some words that you don't know, I'll tell you the meaning,' she said.
     You can guess what this smart teacher did next. For the entire duration that she was in her class, each child was engaged in work, was learning and helping others learn too. All this while she herself was totally relaxed!