The commandments of teaching

M Shiva Kumari

the-art-of-teaching The book, The Art of Teaching by Pius Alphonso has been a biblical resource for me and I strongly believe that it is a must read for every teacher. These important commandments that the writer has given must be followed by every teacher.

  • Good appearance marks a good start for the day.
  • A good teacher must be a continuous learner.
  • A teacher must have clarity in language and pronunciation so that the class is kept alive.
  • Don’t make promises that cannot be kept.
  • Never criticize an individual student’s work or behaviour in class.
  • Be punctual. When you are late to class, you set a bad example.
  • Ask open-ended questions to stimulate discussion among students.
  • Find a guide-among your staff, someone you can share your ideas, concerns, and brainstorm with you.
  • Welcome mistakes as excellent learning and teaching opportunities. Familiarize yourself with the resources available in your school library and labs.
  • Discourage students from using the Internet for projects and assignments, as the usage of Internet is a double-edged sword for school students. However, encourage students to read books which will further creativity, imagination, language, etc.
  • When a student is absent due to illness for more than a day, call the parents and express your concern.
  • Never discuss issues related to caste, religion, region, or personal issues with the class.
  • Have a direct discussion with the parent about the child’s behaviour and performance.
  • Mark and return assignments at the earliest. A quick response shows your students that their work is your priority.
  • Try to cheer yourself up if you wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Nobody likes a crabby teacher.
  • Do not discourage your students by expecting too much of them.
  • Never curse your students by saying, “You will surely fail in the exam with such poor work.” “Your performance is poor”, etc. The child may lose interest in his/her studies.
  • The most successful teacher is the one who gets the most work out of his students, not the one who works the most himself/herself.
  • Have a suggestion box for the class. Answer their queries as often as possible.
  • Make a few rules for the class but make sure you follow them too.
  • Discipline should aim at improving character. Never find fault without showing why the student is wrong.
  • Never cancel the student’s recess or detain him/her after school hours for bad behaviour or incomplete work.
  • If your students are troublesome, look to yourself first. The need for punishment means the teacher isn’t able to handle the situation.
  • Inculcate values, social behaviour, morals through your teaching and behaviour.
  • Do not stop or discontinue your class because of one student’s disorderly behaviour.
  • Traditional teaching, no doubt was relevant in an earlier period. But present day teachers need to realize that such style of teaching discourages student’s innate interest in learning.

The author is Correspondent, SPR School of Excellence, Warangal. She can be reached at

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