India, December 2014. As a lecturer of physics, I have an experience of over 10 years teaching in intermediate colleges. As I see a new batch come in, a regular exercise of mine is, to gauge who the good students are and who need more guidance.
Many students pass out with good marks and some of them have to take the supplementary exams. We teachers work hard to make subjects easier to understand but we failed to understand the reasons for these students to fail and underperform.
Every day students come hurrying into the colleges with light bags (happy to be relieved of their heavy school bags) and leave the college like merry mobs. These scenes at times make me sympathetic to them. After all, they are kids. They are neither adults nor children.
Yes, juveniles. They are the toughest lot to handle. They do not communicate with elders, and we do not know what they think. Sudden outbursts, lot of emotion, and lot of energy.
As a procedure we do not have to enforce too much, but the pressure of college managements to deliver ranks makes us helpless. So, in the top intermediate colleges, the best students are admitted with “no fees” incentives and they are incubated and trained to deliver top ranks.
My principle is different right from the beginning. If one goes only by the cream of the lot the average passing percentage would be less. Moreover, excess pressure on students might lead to future problems.
For me, intermediate education is the turning point of a student’s career. Either they make it or break it. For this, I prefer a friendly and compassionate mode of imparting lessons. I appreciate and encourage the performing students but never leave the under performing students behind.
During the third or the fourth year of my teaching career in intermediate colleges, I devised a method that worked very well.
Some colleges advocate “no jeans” and other policies, but my college was wise enough not to go for this. So, I took the advantage of the peer pressure factor. The studious kids, I observed, were not style conscious and sporty, and the style conscious brats were not so good at studies.
So, I made a two-member team, and this is not regular in intermediate education, one the brat and the other the studious. Having divided the class in such a manner, I conducted tests. To everyone’s surprise this model had a very high percentage of success.
Many of them became friends and some even found their Doppelgangers. Ultimately, every student has to face the final exams on their own, but at the end we got a clue to increase the average passing percentage.
There are other methods to increase interest in students towards studies pulling them out of their cell phones and video games and even for teachers it is a learning experience.