‘The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams’
– Eleanor Roosevelt.
Education is the key to solving many problems, creating a sustainable planet and fostering peace. We live in a global society – with all countries interconnected in virtually every aspect of life. Today, the flow of ideas, information and services is linked globally. The new approaches to education aim at teaching students how to think rather than what to think; how to do rather than what to do; how to learn rather than what to learn.
And the key role in this process of education is played by the teacher. As the cliché goes, ‘A teacher touches infinity’. This is the importance given to a teacher and that is the extent of her influence on her students. Consciously, we teach what we know; unconsciously, we teach who we are.
The role of the teacher in the 21st century is undergoing a change. The humane and pastoral aspects of teaching have taken center stage and thus an effective teacher is one who is committed, communicative, compassionate, caring, creative, dependable, flexible, perceptive, knowledgeable, motivational, self-organised, positive and has a good sense of humour.
Teachers have long-lasting impacts on the lives of their students, and the greatest teachers inspire students toward greatness. To be successful, a great teacher must have an engaging personality and teaching style, clear objectives for lessons, effective discipline skills, good classroom management skills, good communication with parents, mastery over subject matter, passion for children and teaching and a strong rapport with students.
Measuring a Teacher’s Effectiveness Goes Beyond Test Scores
At the end of a school year, there are numerous criteria which indicate if the is ‘effective’ – such as graduation rates, grades, test scores – quantifiable and ostensibly objective. The effectiveness of a teacher must definitely be measured by how much his/her students’ learning has increased over a period of time, but it cannot be the only measurement.
Some of the indicators and outcomes of a teacher’s efficacy include the pupils looking forward to attending the teacher’s class; the teacher being well-prepared for each lesson; every child is given the opportunity to contribute in a way which honours his/her particular learning style; the classroom is a place where learning happens through engagement with the material being taught; the teacher’s words and actions in the class provide an emotionally safe place for children to be themselves without fear of ridicule; learning is seen as a collaborative effort – the teacher does not see him/herself as the ‘Giver of all knowledge’; the teacher engages in regular professional development – shown by the journals read, seminars attended; willingness to engage in online experiences with fellow-teachers and an openness to develop the skills required to use social media tools as a means of sharing with other teachers, the classroom environment is clean, thoughtfully laid out and age-appropriate; there is regular parent engagement and the teacher regularly takes learning outside the classroom.
Consciously, we teach what we know; unconsciously, we teach who we are.
When the above or most of the above are fulfilled, then you can say with a great amount of certainty that the teacher has played a very important role in moulding the total personality of the child and enabled the student to take on life as it comes. The greatest reward a teacher can get is the unconditional love and respect from his/her students. This is a reward that no corporate head can hope to get. And this spurs teachers on to greater motivation, which further enhances thier efficiency and love for profession.
So Dear Teachers, keep giving of your best, without expectation of material rewards, as they pale in front of the intrinsic and unquantifiable rewards that we as teachers get from our students and the society at large.
Happy Teachers’ Day to You All !