Aspiring to be a ‘not mediocre’ teacher? – Part 1
Posted on: March 18, 2015.

Author: Mrs. Radhika Mohan, Educational Consultant

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“Oh! I like Sreedevi Mam’s class. She keeps us well entertained and keeps us away from too much homework.”

“Oh! I love Janaki Mam’s class. She never asks us to turn in our work and corrects our scripts with a lenient hand.”

“Oh! I enjoy Vanitha Mam’s class. She never tries to get very close to us which is good for us, isn’t it?”

This is the way young eager students will look up in a teacher who handles them every day.

Yes, these views may have passed off in a teacher who would label herself as a ‘mediocre’ teacher and still get along her profession, a couple of decades ago.

But today…..over the years…..my own perspective as a teacher has augured a very comprehensive outlook on how a teacher has to be or should I say ‘needs to be’?

In today’s world, a teacher has immense responsibility as an ideal role model to her students. The need for them to exemplary is pressing very hard on their characteristics and personalities. She has to primarily model leadership behavior. Her class is a team and she its team leader.

I agree…. Teaching is hard work.

I also see that many don’t grow up to be anything better than just mediocre. They do the bare minimum required and never initiate for anything more. Of course, I also acknowledge the various challenges they face on a practical day-to-day regime. The array of work filed up on their table can go unnoticed. Kudos to all their efforts!

But are they all fuelled by enough passion to teaching? Do they posses, that inner drive to push in their mite, to suitably adorn the nobility this profession carries?

A great teacher, however, works tirelessly, to create a challenging and nurturing environment of learning for her students. Great teachers may not be really termed ‘great’ due to their bundle of knowledge and skill sets. They are remembered forever as ‘great’ teachers due to their attitude towards their students, their subject and their work. I may not be able to list out an exhaustive portrayal of a ‘great’ teacher’s characteristics, but thought, could put down a few essential stars she could don on her collar, as a mark of being a ‘great’ teacher irrespective of the age of her learner.

Being a teacher trainer myself, it makes great sense to me, when I’m referring to the ‘age’ of the learner.

The first thing a great teacher will posses is the quality she holds of respecting every one of her students. Children are not just children, they are young adults. They do carry a lot of brilliant thoughts and ideas in their little brains! Each student’s ideas and opinions need to be valued. If teacher creates such an environment in class, students will feel free to express their thoughts and feelings and also learn to respect and listen to those of others. This sets the stage for a healthy learning environment in a healthy teaching scenario.

This is a climate that would breed a supportive and collaborative synergy, waxing out mutual respect for each other, in the learning community. Of course, there will be rules to follow, jobs to be done, assessments to be made and progress measured. But amidst all of these, students will feel themselves to be an important and integral part of the whole group. The great teacher will shift gear to make her students not only dependent on her, but on their fellow mates, as well. The ‘team’ is taught to ‘teem up’.

Is any human, human, if he’s cold? A teacher is not an exception. She cannot be a teacher who is cold.

A great teacher will be warm, caring, affectionate and accessible to her team. More so, to her wards’ parents. She will show enthusiasm to meet them at times of mutual convenience.

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