To be a great Teacher
Since the inception of formal education system in India and abroad the teacher’s role has been of paramount significance. During the last few decades due to much shift in teaching-learning paradigm, the role of a teacher too has undergone a remarkable change. Today, our school system, parents and society expect a teacher to be a person of dynamic traits and proficiency.
Some decades ago, as a student, I would have written that the best and the most popular teacher was one who provided classroom entertainment and gave very little homework and assignments to his pupils. But after a long and close association with people working in schools, shouldering administrative responsibilities, doing teacher evaluations, participating, conducting and organising teacher’s workshops, my notion about a teacher has undergone tremendous transformation. Today, as a teacher I try to evaluate myself with the outcome of my efforts in this ever changing and challenging profession.
In the current pedagogical terms, a teacher has been redefined as a person capable of creating nurturing and challenging environment for a large growing up community under their care to make it progressive, well polished, cultured, skilled and responsible citizens.
It is true that teaching is hard work. A teacher’s characteristic role and personality can be best narrowed down using the word, ‘TEACHER” as an acronym.
I often watch and observe a hardworking gardener of our school, very loving and meticulous about his garden, always looks after saplings, plants and flower beds with his caring hands and tools. He exhibits amazing patience, compassion and love for each collection grown by him with a gentle touch. A teacher too must assume himself/herself to be a gardener with the same manner of love and care.
Children always obey, love and remember those teachers who show tolerant attitude and give them a patient hearing. Can a child love or like a teacher who flies into rage at. It is, however, necessary that a teacher must not compromise with undisciplined behaviour.
‘Teaching is Fun’! No doubt, it can be fun in the literal sense of the term but real teaching, undoubtedly, is a serious affair. So on the part of a great teacher, earnestness is the attribute of seriousness, somberness and productive attitude towards the profession.
Acumen is the ability to understand, decide and judge things quickly and well. Though it is not easy to understand human nature but the same is not difficult for a teacher to understand the behaviour, nature and attitude of his pupils. A great teacher not only identifies, shapes, reshapes nascent potential, capabilities and latent traits of learners but digs deep to find out real cause of negative elements which stall a child’s progress.
Alexander, the great once said, ‘I am indebted to my father for living but to my teacher for living well.’ Though every profession occupies a prominent place in society but a teacher’s role is of extraordinary significance. The teacher has to be the torch bearer to show the upcoming generation the path to virtuous, respectful, socially and morally responsible life.
Researchers on education have done considerable work to identify the relationship between teacher’s use of humour and learning outcomes and have found positive affect of humour on teaching learning. Humour is not about telling jokes but it is the awareness and ability to see when to lighten up and bring forth liveliness amid tense and stressful situations. Humour in classroom situations can take many forms such as a purposeful joke, a story on real or imaginary event, pun, puzzle or riddle, etc. that come handy and become an interesting tool of stress free and lively learning. Moreover, humour can reduce stress and strain and helps a teacher to manage his class well.
Efficiency and Effectiveness
Efficient and effective teaching is both a science and art. At a glance, efficiency and effectiveness seem to be confusing terms but both stand together and are important traits of a teacher.
A teacher is called efficient when he/she reaches class on time, well prepared with lesson plan, instructional material, and executes the teaching learning process regardless of result produced. Effective teaching is the teacher’s ability to make students learn and master skills and learn to apply them to real life situations.
Resourcefulness is not an inbuilt trait of a teacher but is learned over the years through a variety of experiences. Being resourceful means doing things or approaching a problem in a different way using the available resources. A teacher can easily spark resourcefulness among his learners too by assigning them with the tasks such as ‘decorate your classroom’, ‘design display board’ with thrown away and discarded objects, etc.
Whereas teaching is a gift that comes naturally to some, but to be a great teacher, some others have to work and struggle over time. The real reward of a teacher is when your students remember you as a great teacher years after they leave school.
Askok Singh Guleria, a teacher of nineteen years standing, is a post-graduate in English Literature. He writes on pedagogical issues and children’s behavioural problems. Currently, he is the Head of Department of English and Academics Coordinator at the Akal Academy Kajri, UP.