Click here for shortcuts to regional language blogs and city-specific events.
“He who dares to teach must never cease to learn.”
-Richard Henry Dana
At the outset, my learning process started with discrediting a few absurd notions wrongly associated with teaching. Whoever said or believed teaching was a mundane task, possibly carried out by those not competent enough to adopt any other career, must step into the shoes of a teacher for a day and see how challenging the profession is. George Bernard Shaw’s maxim, “He who can does. He, who cannot, teaches,” is tantamount to an unfair remark about the noble profession, which lights up lives and shapes future of countless children.
While carrying out my job amidst the hustle bustle of the staff-room and the commotion of a classroom, I learn a lot and each day brings more refinement to the craft.
1- Knowing the art of being strict as well as soft is a must:
Just like a true gardener knows how much water or sunlight is needed for the healthy growth of a plant, teachers too must know when to don the strict avatar and when to let a smile bring in some softness. Any tasteless disturbance in the proportion can mar the true aesthetics of teaching.
2- Vigilance comes naturally to us:
The profession induces an instinct that matches the sharpness of an eagle’s eye. By default a teacher’ glance darts straight at the child wearing the wrong pair of socks or the one sporting the improper hair accessory. Invigilation during exams further polishes our professional feature as an erring child invariably gets caught at the very first move he/she makes.
3. It can be a test of nerves:
When left with an unruly bunch of children in a class, a teacher must put to use various skills to control them in a way they don’t feel intimidated. It is great task which tests your patience, tolerance and persistence. Class management is a skill that must be mastered; the sooner the better.
4-A good teacher in a class is better than two gadgets at home
The onslaught of technology and gadgets may have paved an easier path to information for students but nothing can come closer to the aura of a competent teacher. A teacher still holds the key to ignite the passion of students; inspire the young minds to think and imagine in the most effective way.
5- Teaching should not be termed as a thankless job
If out of ten, three or four students listen to you and reciprocate your teaching positively, then you can feel the pleasure of influencing minds of the tender souls. The loads of gratitude, the numerous smiles and greetings a teacher receives each day must be strong enough to push the “thankless aspect” out of the profession. (Here I am not considering monetary aspects.)
6-Teaching should go beyond the classroom learning
Considering the long stretch of schedule at schools, it is discernible that in some cases, students spend more time with their peers and teachers then they do with their parents and siblings. Teachers can be effectively instrumental in instilling values and morals in students, which should be apart from the textbook learning. It is not an overstatement to say teachers have a tremendous power to influence and shape the personality of students.
7- I must set an example first:
If I see a wrapper lying in the corridor and walk away without noticing it, then how can I expect my students to pick it up and throw it in the dustbin? If I scream in the class and shatter the classroom discipline, then how would they understand the beauty of being polite? If I act rough then I should not be shocked to see them emulating the same behaviour. I must understand the seriousness rather sensitivity of a situation when I am being watched by many young minds
8- Teaching the smart ones is not an achievement:
When best of the best score extremely well and pass exams in flying colours, everyone is exulted. But the joy, the sense of achievement knows no bounds when those declared as duds or failures break the mould and surprise all with a good result. These are the ones who stand as the real challenge for any teacher. A little encouragement and a word of praise go a long way in lifting their spirits and confidence.
9- Each child is unique:
We tell this to ourselves when confronted with any comparison that involves our own children. The maxim rings true when you find a spectrum of students in each classroom, exhibiting a variety of skills, talents, moods and abilities. Before any teacher commits the cardinal sin of comparing students or complaining about poor show he/she must know that each one is completely a different package.
10-Keep your doors open:
Sometimes individual attention is what a child needs to help him/her bloom. That is the very reason teacher-student ratio should be within the limits so that a teacher can focus on each child and let every single child approach her through a path unhindered by others. A link surely needs to be developed between a teacher and a student, connecting both his academic and personal well-being.