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close this bookWho Becomes a Primary School Teacher in Lesotho: Characteristics and Experiences of the DEP Student Teachers upon Entry into NTTC (CIE, 2002, 49 p.)
close this folderChapter 3: Data Analysis And Interpretation
View the document(introduction...)
View the document3.1 Age
View the document3.2 Gender
View the document3.3 Denominational Affiliation
View the document3.4 Occupation and Educational Qualification of Parents of Student Teachers
View the document3.5 Location of Schools and Years of Attendance of Primary school
View the document3.6 Number of years in School
View the document3.7 Performance at Post-Primary School
View the document3.8 Teaching Experience
View the document3.9 Perceptions of Student teachers about primary schooling
View the document3.10 Images of primary school teachers
View the document3.11 Future Plans and Expectations
View the document3.12 Life in the College
View the document3.13 Becoming a teacher
View the document3.14 Challenges Facing the Teaching Profession and Possible Changes in Education
View the document3.15 Views about teaching and related issues

3.10 Images of primary school teachers

Views about primary school experiences would not be complete without discussing the teachers that the student teachers came across during their primary education. In the essays, student teachers were asked to document their perceptions of bad and good primary school teachers that taught them.

3.10.1 Characteristics of Good Teachers

Table 9 presents student teachers’ responses to the question on characteristics of good teachers. It would seem that most (18) student teachers that responded to the question looked for competency as one of the best characters of a good teacher. An image of pastoral care is yet another character that they tend to look for. Other characteristics of good teachers are presented in Table 9. Most of these do not seem to focus that much on academic matters.

Table 9: Characteristics of Good Teachers



Competent in subject matter/teaching/in explaining


Patient, sympathy and empathy


Dedication to work


Kind, calm and good


Advised about for future life


Varied teaching methods


Parent like


Did not use corporal punishment


Admirable, dignified and well dressed




Gave individualized attention


Used corporal punishment


Total no. of responses


An analysis of the student teachers’ images of good teachers revealed that they admired teachers who cared for the social and personal development of the pupils. In expressing their views, they used words such as “individualized” attention in teaching, projection for the future of pupils, counseling skills and self-respecting teachers. Parenting by teachers seems to be one of the most common characteristics of a good teacher. The student teachers used words such as loving, warm-hearted, sociable, compassionate, kind, merciful to describe friendly and kind teachers. The following quotations bring out other characteristics of what student teachers considered or described as the good teacher.

1. Images focusing on academic matters

The teacher Mrs. M. knew very well how to convey the subject she taught; in addition she never beat a kid for not understanding the concepts;

He is a man of his words. Although he used corporal punishment - He explained until the last pupil understood and he sympathized with pupils;

2. Images of a teacher as a guide and counsellor

He advised me to work hard and choose a marketable course that would help me get any job I want;

He was a dedicated someone who cared about his pupils’ learning; whenever one fails he will ask to see him in front of others. He did not discriminate his students;

I liked my headmaster he was a man of encouragement and advice on how to learn;

3. Images of pastoral care

My Science teacher - she wasn’t a teacher to us but she was also our friend, our mother, our strength and our pride - she was optimistic about us;

He was friendly to every student but strict to those who tried to misbehave - not cruel but counseling and having a constant follow-up for betterment.

She was a serious teacher ... and usually punished pupils who did not do their work but she would not get angry with them;

3.10.2 Characteristics of liked teachers

Student teachers were asked to write about characteristics of teachers that they liked. There are many such characteristics. For some student teachers sociable, friendly, helpful and approachable are attributes describing teachers they liked most. Other characteristics they mentioned were: having a sense of humour, marking student scripts and returning them in time, having good leadership and classroom management skills, being a disciplinarian and making students enjoy teaching. Responses about characteristics of liked teachers seem to be very similar to those of best teachers.

Some examples of comments about “liked teachers”

· encouraging good behaviour;
· marking and returning on time;
· being motherly/parent like to one’s student;
· preparing lessons and never digressing during teaching;
· being tidy and well behaved;
· being dynamic and using a variety of teaching skills;
· being always punctual;
· never using corporal punishment;
· using corporal punishment for a good reason;
· treating students as equals;
· being competent and knowing the content;
· challenging and encouraging students to learn;
· accommodating and treating individuals according to ability;

· also teaching vocational skills;

The following quotations are examples of attributes associated with liked teachers, showing a combination of parental and guidance and counsellor attributes, and the ability to motivate:

She had great love over all her students, treated them equally. I always remember when she helped one of us who was my classmates. The girl had nobody to care for, [her] relatives had just paid school fees for her and then left her like that giving her no good food and clothes, but my teacher preferred to support that poor girl;

He was always ready to offer help either in academic or personal problems to each child. In my village during those days, people were much concerned about traditional schools. Some of the schools there could not admit those from traditional schools anymore, some made them pay for being re-admitted. However, Mr. - was not of that sort. He welcomed everyone back to school. Above all he helped children with financial problems;

Mr./Mrs. was the first teacher in my life who ever made me realise my abilities as far as my studies were concerned;

She motivated the class by marking the class work, giving assignments and tests and afterwards giving back the results;

3.10.3 Characteristics of Disliked Teachers

Table 10 presents student teachers’ list of characteristics of teachers they disliked. The table shows that what students rated worst was being treated as though they were not human beings. They hated being caned, doing gardening as a form of punishment, and being pushed out of class. Student teachers also indicated that drunkenness/excessive drinking, as well as abusive language and inconsistency were some of the unwelcome behaviour.

Table 10: Student-Teachers Responses to the Question of bad and disliked teachers



He/she used corporal punishment and abusive language


Not committed, never punctual, lazy, not smart and moody


He/she was a drunkard


He was not approachable/not concerned about slow learners


Could not deliver/poor teaching skills/hated being asked


He treated students unfairly


He was an easygoing type of person


Dressed very poorly/ dressed glamorously


Total number of responses


The following are some of the examples of characteristics of bad/disliked teachers submitted by the student teachers themselves. These quotations reveal a wide range of things that student teachers did not like about their worst teachers. There are concerns about not teaching and therefore not benefiting students. Others refer to teachers’ behaviours that were not exemplary.

1. Images of unacceptable behaviour

He was a drunkard, the worse part of it, he used to come to class drunk, during those situations he would not teach - the only thing he would do was to set some questions and would beat us if we got it wrong;

I met a teacher who was not behaving like other human beings. She was more or less the same as wild animals. The worst thing was bringing her family problems into the class. Once if she had a misunderstanding with a parent, the child of that parent was going to suffer the consequences. Sometimes she came to class late because the previous day she was visiting friends or relatives or she was drunk. Hey, that lady was a good drunkard;

When going to school he would just wear clothes which were not ironed. On the head it was as if it was a home for ticks. He would never polish his shoes;

2. Images of poor teaching

In class, she could not explain, pupils made unnecessary mistakes. When a teacher fails to explain, pupils will obviously make mistakes and therefore fail;

I did not understand his teaching method. The worst thing was that I could hot have a chance to tell what I did not understand because always when he entered in the class he used to say ‘if you do not know what you’re here for, it’s up to you. Others who were slow learners like me were bored.

3.10.4 Related Experiences Gained Prior to College Education

Student teachers were asked to write about their own teaching experiences before being admitted into the College and then to relate those experiences to the requirements of teaching. On the first issue, students’ experiences included working as a teacher, working with children with disability and working in a pre-school. Student teachers’ responses to the second issue showed that those who taught before enjoyed teaching and that through this experience they had learned to become tolerant. They also pointed out that self-expression and confidence in addressing many people made them realize that teachers should be caring, loving, patient and available to answer students’ questions. Other student teachers argued that helping others to learn to sing at school, being a school prefect, and learning through helping others with their homework were experiences that related to teaching. The following quotations illustrate their point of view:

I used to help other students who had problems in some subjects like development studies. I found that these problems were coursed (sic) by the teacher teaching them and I have just come here in order to have more knowledge so that I can go on helping those that have problems;

I normally encountered pupils with educational problems and this challenged me a lot so I can help those kids[...] good behaviour and dedication to work are important.