There is a surreptitiously invisible gap between school administrators and teachers of ICT. Each party blames the other for the poor performance in ICT. Dozens of my friends from ether side have confided in me hoping to get a solution or even simply informing me how they have given up on the subject itself.
Not too long ago, a friend of mine was posted as headteacher to a school in Eastern Uganda. She asked me how she could tell between a competent teacher and a joker. This was a challenge I was never ready for. However, it got me thinking, as an employee, what is my boss looking for in me? As a teacher of ICT, what sets me apart from the others?In this article, I give a few points on what makes an excellent teacher of ICT.
What makes an excellent teacher of ICT?
They keep up to date
Trends change, we learn more with experience and new approaches keep coming up. The subject of ICT itself is one that is too dynamic you might give new examples every year. A good teacher is one that will try as much as possible to stay updated with whats going on in the professions, the subject and the fraternity.
Take for example, we now have a new operating system (Windows 11), while some of us learnt computer when Windows XP was new hot kid on the block. The good teacher will have to move with the trend if you are to have a chance of being relevant in a current classroom.
The notes of such a teacher are always up to date to match with the current trend and developments in the industry. If you use video, you will have to create new ones that will match with the current information that you are supposed to give the learners. It is not right to give a learner a video of a Word lesson using version 2007 when you have Office 2019 installed on the lab PCs.
They take part in professional development opportunities
Excellent teacher have the habit of seeking any opportunity of professional development. You will find such teachers at teachers’ workshops, they sign up for newsletters and attend gatherings that add to their knowledge in the field. These are the same people you will find at workshops even those you would think are not related to our subject.
The ICT Teachers Association of Uganda is one of those associations that organise capacity development workshops for its members, the last of which was in 2021 at Muntuyera High School.
They have a bank of resources for their class
While we could be master in our subject, there is nothing that makes you more resourceful in your profession than a pool of resources. In the case of a teacher of ICT, having all the UNEB past papers, answer guides, notes in all formats and even video clips puts you in a class of your own.
In addition, having the syllabi, several textbooks and a list of websites to refer to is something that MUST be in possession of every teacher worth the name. This makes it easy for the teacher to adjust according to the situation. For example, if you are to give learners a test to keep them occupied, you already have a bank to quickly run to.
They give learners challenging and real world activities
Giving learners activities that are within their comfort zone is detrimental to their academic success at national exams. It is therefore good that a teacher gives learners activities expose them more and test their brains. Just like sports, it is the one that goes through more practice and intense exercise that is more likely to emerge victor.
As an example, if you are to teach learners how to use Excel to grade a class, a good exercise would be one where they are to work on using the IF function to grade say 100 students with marks in 12 subjects. This would expose the learners to a more rigorous and real life exercise.
The have a unique approach to teaching
Good teachers must really understand how people learn. This gives you the opportunity to meet the individual needs of each learner. Also, while teaching, it is good if you hinted on what’s in stock in the next lesson. But you should remember to pace the lesson accordingly. As you do this, you enthuse and motivate learners to learn more. Overall, it gives your learners a chance to achieve more.
All the above make a good teacher who will be loved by learners and eventually, the school administrators. In this way, grades improve and the negative attitude towards our lovely subject slowly fades away.
Stephen Dumba is the National Coordinator of the ICT Teachers’ Association of Uganda. Besides teaching ICT, he repairs computers and builds websites. Steve is a speaker and facilitator at tech events and and CEO of senior1.org and a consultant on education technology.
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