By Kohei Yagura
It is January, and the entrance exams are approaching. Last year, I felt like the exams were silently crawling and chasing me. This year, I’m having the same feeling as last year. However, it is not as one of the students taking the exams but as one of the teachers whose own students are taking them.
I’m teaching at a cram school where teachers give individual lessons. I’m teaching a 6th grade student in elementary school and three senior students in high school. They all have their entrance exams this year. I am not alone in this matter. I know many friends at the University of Tokyo who have taken up tutoring as their part-time jobs. Teachers are just as important as students in order to pass entrance exams. In this article, I would like to introduce a way of teaching that I personally think is good.
The most important thing about teaching is to work together with the students. It is quite easy to just give explanations and answers and finish teaching, but it is not a good way. Although students might feel like they have understood, they actually do not. It is essential for students to think on their own. The role of the teacher is not to just give answers, but to help them think by giving appropriate hints. So, active communication with students is severely needed in teaching. Through good communication, we can understand their way of thinking and know the areas where they are facing difficulty with.
Another point is not to forget to look at things from the viewpoint of students. The solution to the problem might seem obvious to us. But it might be hard for them to solve. Teachers shouldn’t be arrogant of their own ability. We should always think about student’s way of thought. By doing so, we can give accurate advice and support their studies. On the other hand, it is sometimes useful to show them our superiority or excellence. Being admired is often the best way to motivate them in their studies.
Teaching is difficult, but it can be very interesting, too. What the teachers do affects their students directly. Their success partly depends on our ability and action. If the students successfully pass the exams, the successes would be so grateful for teachers, too. The students seem like my own children when I teach them. Maybe, this is the reason why I am still doing this job right now in spite of the low wages.
Kohei is a first-year student at the University of Tokyo.