Not everyone is meant to be a teacher. However, as a result of skyrocketing unemployment rates in Kenya, a number of students have done teaching courses because of its employment prospects. I am sure you have heard parents and fellow teachers persuading form four graduates to pursue education degrees and diplomas because of its almost sure employment opportunities. I do not blame them because they do this in the best interest of the students given the high rates of unemployment opportunities!
However, not everyone makes a teacher just like the good book tells us in Timothy 2:1-2.” Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” Teaching as a career is really noble for the obvious reason that it deals with the lives of generations directly.
The following are insights to becoming a great teacher even though some of you were not called teachers!
UNDERSTANDING AND CARING. Great teachers are those that seek to understand their students. We are all living in a world full of harrowing challenges that sometimes bog us down. Some of our students carry heavy burdens on their tender souls. An understanding teacher will create an atmosphere of trust that is essential in the dissemination of knowledge in a school situation. A good teacher will make it his business to listen to students reasons/explanations for certain exhibited behaviour and make it his job to assist where applicable. I think it is also important for teachers to comprehend the fact that these are ‘children’ with a myriad of growing up challenges and therefore treat them as such. It hurts and shames the profession when teachers harbour grudges when some students misbehave! When students are understood they tend to relax and thus perform. Teachers should live by Francis of Assisi’s prayer line of “ seeking to understand more than to be understood.”
FRIENDLY BUT FIRM
This has almost become a cliché in teacher training colleges and universities as dons emphasize it as a quality of good teachers. In most cases, this is easily said than done. I am certain that you have seen teachers that are so harsh to students to a level that the very students they purport to teach cannot even consult them on those problematic areas. The moment teachers create a very wide rift between them and the students then I can authoritatively assure you that no learning can take place effectively. Fear does not allow learning! Being friendly on the other hand does not mean jeopardizing the professional distance between teachers and students. This must be maintained at all cost not to breach the code of ethics and conduct for teachers. You are all aware of what the Nancy led team can be up to if any of those codes are breached!
‘DIGITAL’ AND TECH SAVVY
The place for a traditional teacher has been bypassed by time. The current students are the digital generation that think digitally. It is therefore important that teachers too become exposed to the emerging trends for them to catch up with the very students they teach. The rift between them should be narrowed by teachers digitizing themselves not only with the IT skills but psychologically too. It is common knowledge that teaching is gravitating towards complete digitalization. We have most of the content digitized and the pedagogy too. Computers, projectors and E-content have become a common phenomenon in schools. Content developers and educational psychologists have advised that positive learning outcomes are likely to be achieved if the content is delivered in forms that the digital generation fancy! Is CBC news?
Psychology indicates that children do what they see adults doing and not necessarily what they are told to do. Students and pupils spend most of their time with teachers than they do with their parents. It is a non-brainer therefore that we teachers have the greatest influence on the learners. They are likely to copy us more than other adults. It is crucial that we ensure that they copy values from us other than the vices! I think it is mandatory that teachers present and package themselves in positive and impressive ways that can influence the children positively. I wish to impress on my readers that just a teachers appearance and mannerisms speak volumes and influence the learners in ways that one cannot even begin to imagine! We must act the part! We have no choice but to be TEACHERS for our children’s lives are on the line.
What kind of teacher would you want for your child?