During an input session on classroom management, my Delta tutor shared some wise words with us: “the teacher should be neutral, emotionless, and independent of external factors.”
He was talking about the idea that a teacher’s emotions shouldn’t have any effect on the lesson and the atmosphere of the classroom. Simply put: whether the teacher is having a good day or a bad day should have diddly squat to do with how the lesson goes.
Luckily, when the tutor said this, he was having a good day.
A number of Delta colleagues of mine, who completed their courses at various centres around the world, have commented on the fact that their Delta tutors clearly had good and bad days.
What’s more, these good and bad days had a clear impact on the tutor’s mood, and therefore on the atmosphere of the course. For example: one colleague noted how a small linguistic mistake led to him being scolded before his peers, just because the course tutor was a little more sensitive that day.
Trying not to have an emotional reaction when things go wrong is something I have had to learn to deal with myself – particularly when being observed.
However, why is it that this – like so many other topics – is an area which your tutor can rip you to shreds on but he or she doesn’t have to show the slightest ounce of appreciation for what they preach?
Why is it, your tutor can fail you for “explaining” to the learners rather than “showing” them, yet during feedback your tutor can merely “explain” what you need to be doing in lessons but fails to show you how to do this?
Why is it Delta trainees the world over do things incredibly differently – things which stand in complete opposition to each other – just because it follows what “the tutor is looking for”?
Isn’t it supposed to be the Cambridge Delta is a standard which everyone strives towards? I thought the whole idea behind the essays and the planning documents was that you went into an assessed lesson prepared and ready to justify on what basis your pedagogy is principled – not merely an exercise in filtering out the bits your tutor will hate and working in all the stuff they speak highly of.
There are always at least two tutors on a Delta course. Why is it trainees have to totally reinvent their teaching when they move from tutor A to tutor B because “B doesn’t like PPP – thinks it’s a total waste of time.”
What if you can justify in a sound way the use of PPP? For example, you’re teaching a mixed-ability class and you think the majority haven’t seen the Past Perfect before, and you want to make sure everyone has the basics covered before moving on to some practice?
Well tough! The tutor doesn’t like it. Remember boys and girls: this course is a diploma in seeing you satisfy the powers above you – let just hope they are having a good day!