Tips for Teachers
Friday, November 03, 2017
Maria Bechara
5 Tips on how to make your students look up to you

Teachers, you already know by now that if a student doesn’t like you, then it’s “academic doomsday” for another nine months! This leaves you playing a huge role in the impact you’re going to make on your students and the way they perceive the subject you are teaching for years to come.

etcetera gathered a few helpful tips from Majd Akiki, whose experience in teaching children music endowed him with a new approach and insight into the ways of dealing with young students and making them love the subject being taught.

1. Children see-children do!

You cannot tell a child that cigarettes are bad for them while you puff on your favorite cancer stick! This is similar: “If you want your student to be passionate about the subject at hand, you have to show the same kind of passion and commitment you’re asking for”, Majd explains “this means you have to show up on time, come prepared, show enthusiasm, and demonstrate how it’s done instead of just talking in theory.”

2. Good things come to those who wait

Patience 101 is a mandatory pre-requisite for any teacher aspiring to positively shape a child’s learning experience. “You are probably the first image the student links to the topic they are beginning to learn, and so you must practice a high level of patience and guide the students through their mistakes instead of giving up on them” Majd warns: “When you lose patience with a child, they tend to give up on themselves.”

3. A superior attitude on your part is a no-no

Showing humility by admitting to any errors you make is important because unlike a know-it-all attitude, this one teaches students to always be open to fruitful criticism in order to improve their performance. “You shouldn’t be superior while teaching” Majd clarifies, “you must show the students that you are a learner just like them, and you are bound to make mistakes at times”.

4. Be firm, but be compassionate

Sometimes students show up to class unprepared for some reason, and in this case the teacher must explain that slacking off only harms them as learners. “You must be understanding and talk to the student about the reasons for failing to complete duties. When you make your student feel comfortable in class, wouldn’t want to disappoint you the next time”

5. Remember the power you hold!
Teachers are significant influencers for children, and they must remember that fact all the time. Majd sums up “You are raising a new generation and you should believe that you are responsible not only for teaching material, but for teaching new ways of thinking and hopefully initiating good changes’’

Majd Akiki holds a BE in Civil Engineering, and he is also majoring in Piano and Opera at the Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music. He teaches Piano, Solfeggio, theory, and singing at Institue Rafqa and at Ecole d’Art et de MusiQue. He is a soloist and a member of the NDU choir, and he trains his own choir in Saydet el Khalas church at Ain el Rihanie.

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  • My young daughter has discovered the Internet and now spends a lot of time browsing websites and social media networks. How can I monitor her online activity and ensure that she remains safe?

    Protecting our kids from the darker side of the Internet has never been more important or more difficult. Dealing with this problem is an evolving process. For kids younger than 10, you can set and impose limits on the amount of time spent online. You can also restrict access to mobile devices connected to the Internet and only allow your child to use them in the family room where you can supervise rather than in the privacy of their bedroom. Explain to your child that she should not give out personal identifying information (real name, home address, school name and address, parents’ names, pictures) to anyone she does not personally know. Repeat this lesson until your child can recite it in her sleep. You also have options that allow you to control for the most part what your child can see online. For example, iPads have parental controls and content filtering software that you can enable. Browsers also allow you to block certain websites. You have to make the constant effort to familiarize yourself with those options or enlist the help of a proficient friend or family member. It’s also preferable not to allow your children to register for social media accounts until they reach the age of 13.

    For teenagers, however, open and honest communication is the key to ensuring online safety. At this age, kids are Internet veterans and will often know the Internet much better than you do. Yet, they don’t have your caution or experience. It’s more effective to discuss potential scenarios with your child. Explain that anything he or she posts online will stay online forever and can impact her future choice of university or career. Explain that the internet does NOT give anonymity. Discuss online bullying and posting hurtful comments (remember that your teen may be encouraged to bully others online). Explain the dangers of speaking to and sharing personal information with strangers. It’s never too late to enforce boundaries. If you are worried, you can ask your teenager for access to their social media accounts and inform them that you will be checking in. Do not do this behind their backs. There are many resources online that can help you keep your kid safe. 

  • I read a lot about the benefits of learning how to play a musical instrument. But how can I pick an instrument for my kid to start playing?

    A child will reap the benefits of musical training regardless of what musical instrument he or she is playing. However, choosing the right instrument for your child and for your family environment remains important. Forcing children to learn instruments they have no interest in will not foster a love of music and might cause the child to resent having to practice. However, you also don’t want him or her to choose an instrument that does not suit your family. For example, if as a parent you do not like the sound of the electric guitar, you will not be able to support your child or endure the hours of practice he or she needs to put in. Parents also need to like the sound of the instrument their child is playing. Take into account your child’s body type and make sure he picks an instrument he is comfortable holding and carrying. Also, make sure your child’s choice is not affected by any perceived “social value” of an instrument. For younger kids (4-6) you can’t go wrong with the keyboard or piano as those instruments provide a great foundation and children can easily transition to other instruments later if they would like to. Violin is also a good option as it comes in scaled sizes, but it requires more patience and persistence. Another thing to take into account is your child’s personality type. High energy kids can get great stress relief from playing the drums, and outgoing personalities may prefer instruments such as the saxophone or trumpet. The most important consideration, however, remains your child’s personal preference and passion as those are the biggest guarantees that he or she will stick with the instrument long enough to earn the life-long benefits. 

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