Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017

Teacher as a leader

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November 30, 2017

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If your actions inspire others to dream more,
learn more, do more, and become more, then you are a true leader.

Being a teacher! Isn’t it a beautiful act, a wonderful reality and a vocation of pride?
Teaching is not just any other profession! It’s a profession which gives you the ability to transform a raw human being into a creative, sensible citizen. If one understands this responsibility of freedom offered by this extremely noble profession, we can become real leaders in the form of teachers and can lead thousands of path seekers in this journey of life.

It is said that teaching is such a profession that it creates all other professions by imparting simple lessons during crucial phases of one’s life. Is it possible in any other profession? Children rely on teachers for showing them the correct path to live and reach the horizons of their dreams. The teacher is responsible for instilling the correct amount of confidence, vision and ambition in a student. So before entering this profession one has to introspect about ones actual capabilities.
Ways to become a great ‘leader- teacher’:

  1. Know your stuff
  2. Create something new
  3. Structure your role
  4. Keep the energy going

What teachers generally do in the classroom? :-

  1. Explain the topic
  2. Give home work/project work
  3. Check home work/project work
  4. Prepare worksheets, question papers
  5. Conduct exams
  6. Give results
  7. Take children to field trips or excursions

Don’t you think this is a little stereotypical aspect to follow? Being a teacher, how many of us really think if we can go beyond the prescribed textbook or prescribed pattern of education?

Let’s look at a case study: There was a student called Mohan. He was good in English language. Being a topper in class, year by year he became extremely good in that particular subject. Here we are considering his marks and rank in that subject in particular. He topped in the board exams. One day, he was invited as a guest of honour at some function for his successful achievement in the exam to share his success story with other students. The surprising fact is that he could not speak a single word in front of the audience and the incident was so frustrating that he lost all confidence in life. He became an introvert.

The conclusion is that, if Mohan’s English teacher had given him opportunities of public speaking beyond the exams he could have been successful in living his life to its true potential. We can study the cases of different subjects as well. If you teach Science, Maths, Social Studies or any other subject, show the students the world beyond the text books and the exams. Make them confident and respectful youngsters. Do not forget that students spend a long span of their life with their teachers. Almost every human being has an average sixty years of active life and one fourth of the very important period of student’s life is spent with school teachers. These are the formative years of one’s life. Every school teacher is responsible for the child’s most important period of life. If you want to become an ideal teacher ask some of these questions to yourself

  1. Do you have thorough knowledge of your subject?
  2. Do you read any literature/books/blogs about your own subject?
  3. Do you make any effort to improve your subject knowledge?
  4. Do you have a practical approach towards your subject considering life situations of your students?
  5. Do you write articles/ blogs/ extracts about your subject?
  6. Do you prepare teaching aids and use them for every topic you teach?

Teachers are the parents, friends and guides for students. They are instructors, counsellors, caretakers and mentors. While performing these roles they lead to develop a habit of ‘switch over’. The teacher leaders turn mirrors into windows meaning they change a student’s focus from being self-centred to world-centred. A teacher is a:

  1. Resource facilitator
  2. Creative analyst
  3. Curriculum Designer
  4. 4. Classroom king
  5. 5. Learning Moderator
  6. Trainer
  7. School leader
  8. Tutor
  9. Change Maker
  10. Role Model
  1. Resource Facilitator- A teacher has open access to creative and practical learning resources. A language teacher can show the students a good educational movie or a maths teacher can actually take them to the local market to teach them money transactions.
  2. Creative Analyst- Analysis of the students’ work has to be done flawlessly because it boosts their confidence. If the teacher analyses students’ reports creatively rather than critically, students too, develop the habit of analysing project reports, practical experiment results creatively and not critically. It enhances positivity.
  3. Curriculum Designer- Most of the teachers think curriculum designing is not our job. We get it readily and our job is only to deliver the lessons as it is, but most of the times don’t we feel why this particular chapter is given in the syllabus? This is out of date! There is no point in teaching such lessons to the new generation. So, we need to approach the curriculum designing committee. We need to take initiative and follow up. It is the teacher who can lead the role of curriculum designing effectively.
  4. Classroom king and kingmaker- Yes! Why not consider yourself as a king? When a teacher is in the classroom, students hope to get special attention. Teacher is the Director of the Classroom drama. Teacher is the decision maker. Every child awaits the teacher’s words and if those words are inspiring and full of positivity then you are the king maker.
  5. 5. Learning Moderator- moderator is someone who moderates a meeting or discussion. Learning is a continuous process of various stimulating incidents and here the stimulator is a teacher. The moderator allows audience or students to ask questions and participate.
  6. Trainer- When we call teachers trainers, it expands their work profile. Then the teacher cannot just go into the classroom and read the text and explain the topic but will need to demonstrate the facts of the content he or she teaches.
  7. School Leader- How do the extremely successful schools work – not only on the examination board guidelines but also by the guide lines of the school leaders. Every school requires the best leaders. How can a school leader be created? The basic need is the instinct of the person; second the urge and effort for self-development; third tremendous hard work. A school leader is a versatile personality having thorough knowledge of contemporary modern education.
  8. Tutor- Sometimes we have more than forty students in one class, but every student should feel that this teacher is giving me personal attention like a tutor. How can we capture the students’ attention in class. Some students like touch therapy, some require good words or special mention of their names, etc. Teachers should identify such needs of their students and fulfil them in class.
  9. Change maker- Mahatma Gandhi had once said that if you want to see change, be the change first! Essentially, teachers and school leaders are the agents of change. Most complex problems need not have complex solutions. Teachers are potential change makers. Teachers should be energised, equipped, connected and mobilised to become change makers. A very young Malala could bring change in a critical situation in her country by her sacrifice and courage. Then why can’t we be the pioneers to the change we want to see in our education system by implementing simple actions?
  10. Role Model- A Teacher has to be a role model! A teacher is a major influencing factor in a student’s life. A role model is a person who inspires and encourages the students to strive for greatness, live to their fullest potential and see the best in themselves. A role model is someone we admire and someone we aspire to be like. We learn through them, through their commitment to excellence and through their ability to make us realise our own personal worth. Therefore, teachers should be very alert and conscious of their work.

Teachers who teach only academics may be forgotten but the teachers who teach life lessons are always remembered! Be the teacher-leader.
Be the Change!

Vijayalaxmi Manerikar is director at Global Vision International School, Nashik. She has completed post graduation in English Literature and bachelor’s degree in education from Pune University. She has also acquired Sangeet Visharad degree in Hindustani classical vocal from Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Mandal (Miraj). Over the last 14 years, she worked as lecturer in communication skills and English, and served as Maharashtra State Board of Technical Education (MSBTE) paper setter and moderator. She has presented papers on communicative English at national level seminars. She regularly writes on parenting in Lokmat Times. The mention of some awards and achievements to her credit till date may include ‘Navdurga’ by Kalika Mandir Trust (Nashik) and ‘Woman Icon of Nashik’ by Sakal newspaper and Red FM– 93.5.

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