Considering teaching profession? Check for these 7 Habits of an Efficient Teacher
T – Tolerance Starts Teaching:
Teaching is such an awesome work where you meet more personalities than in any other profession. Unlike other people-related jobs like journalism, public relations, human resources, etc. which may give you access to be with more personalities, teaching provides you with personalities which you can mold.
Young minds are tender and like a blank canvas with brilliant palette of colours, any art can be painted on them. Teachers play the major role as an artist to beautify the art better. Wonderful personalities are shaped at younger ages. As they get older, the flexibility to change their personality becomes difficult.
So it demands a high tolerance level for teachers to understand the students. A teacher has to deal with almost all kinds of personalities from kids to adolescents to teens. Any fanatism will lead to negative impacts on their personality. Be it educating them the subjects or simply holding a class or guiding them morally; a teacher’s tolerance will be put to test by the students.
A Tolerant teacher will be loved by almost all students whether it is first row or last row, a high performer or a poor performer. Toleration is the mantra to access to their minds, which is the most primary requisite to be a teacher.
E – Educate self always
When the best brains teach the better brains what will happen, better will become even better or one among the best. What will happen when a ‘40% knowledged-teacher’ imparts his subject expertise to a student at a level of 15% of knowledge? The max you can expect the student is to go up to 40 – 55%. (The knowledge I am referring here is not the academic score but a level of knowledge.) In Finland, (believed to have the best education system) there is a rule, only academically exceptional / highly intelligent people can only become teachers. Their schooling system do not have even marks, just mentioning this for those who brag about and proportionate marks to knowledge. So the knowledge of a teacher counts undoubted.
The Knowledge and Information are the only two things that keep growing irrespective of any circumstances. Right from the beginning of the world these two are trending upwards in the graph. At this age of Internet booming, the access to information and the capability to acquire knowledge has been multiplied unimaginable without any boundaries.
Anyone can have the information on anything, if they seek it on a serious note and students of the present generation are smarter than us, compared to when we were in their ages. So the teachers are always under a consistent pressure to get themselves educated about the concerned subject matter. They have to be way ahead than students.
May be this push few bad teachers to curtail the access for questioning by many students in order to show their knowledge level higher than the students. This remains one of the major challenges to the teaching profession and well defended by the teachers as well with various reasons. The roots of teacher limiting students expanding knowledge go to the very fundamental career decision of a teacher himself/herself. How?
There are two kinds of teachers, KIND 1 : Teachers by Choice– Who are passionate about teaching and they are subject experts as well. They have chosen teaching because they love that profession and equip themselves with all the skill sets for their teaching pursuit. Here the qualification does not mean the mere possession of master degrees or doctorate,s but the passion to teach does mean a lot. They know how to deal with the upcoming generations, because a teacher may see at least two to three generations of students in his/her career. (One generation is 33 years to be numeric). Whether it’s the debut year or the final year as a teacher, they maintain a knowledge level always higher than the students.
KIND 2 : Teachers by Chance – Those who were not particular about a career in teaching but as it was a chance to make a living they might have opted for teaching. It is one among many options they could have availed, but due to various reasons they might opt for teaching. In India, a teacher’s job is considered as a secured job when it comes to Govt. Institutions, and also there is a trend when you get no jobs, you can become a teacher. This type of teachers usually shows a lack of interest in keeping themselves updated, only when it matters for their promotion or a higher salary they may try for a paper certification with a higher degree or a doctorate. But their qualification remains only on papers.
So what the kind 2 teachers do is curtail the students from asking questions which they do not know the answer. Luckily few type 2 teachers gets groomed up after taking the profession and understands its criticality then shift to type 1.
Thus educating oneself becomes so crucial when it comes to teachers.
A – Activate Students
Activating or enabling a student is a key factor to determine the quality of a teacher. Activating is something different from making them to score higher in exams. It is beyond marks. How many teachers know the inbuilt unique speciality of their students? How many tries to explore the students’ hidden potentials which could be way apart from the normal subjects they may study?
A teacher is the first person to spot a leader of the future in a Student! Have you listened to any alumni meetings? You may hear a lot of stories there about what I am trying to explain here. There will be unique students who probably had been identified well before by the teachers.
In many cases the students are like a dormant volcano, who does not know he/she has the power of lava inside. All they need is a teacher’s help who can locate the hot spot and create a spark all the students needed. Once activated, they start chasing their dreams by themselves.
C – Collaborate with the learning environment
A perfect collaboration with the learning environment is needed apart from whatever the skill sets, tolerance level or understanding a teacher may have about the students. The learning environment here covers everything say the place where the students are from, their family, friends, society, the kind of social pressure on those kids, the career available in the future for them, the learning accessibility, the atmosphere of the school etc. everything plays a critical role for a teacher as well as the students.
But it is the teacher who plays the facilitator role to collaborate with everything that surrounds the students. They are the ones who need to interpret and streamline the appropriate methodologies which can be better for students to approach and learn continuously.
For example, in cities the access to various sources of information are higher than in rural backdrops, higher collaboration levels are needed for a teacher in a rural area, compared to a teacher in an urban area. A teacher in a rural area needs to communicate more with the students on how to gather information and ensure they avail it proper.
Another instance when it comes to parent-teacher collaboration in educating a teacher plays a vital role, students should have a good environment to support their learning and also to develop a good personality, not only in schools but also in their homes. The most familiar faces of students are their teachers, parents and their friends. So they impact a lot when it comes to them defining their life.
If you look at collaboration, it is a vast concept but given only less importance as it has no visible deliverable as that of exams has. Marks seems to reflect a student’s as well as a teacher’s performance, it quantifies. But Collaboration is something cannot be quantifiable by any measure and nobody is going to question a teacher for not talking to a student as a friend, or why they are not interacting with their parents and friends, regarding various issues other than academics! Something outside class is still like a fable or a taboo in many countries like India.
Students are facing so many other problems outside their academics on adolescent age and which remains unanswered or rested upon the shoulders of their family. But I believe it is a collective responsibility of students, parents and teachers. Only when there is a good level of communication and understanding between teachers and students, the latter will open up their problems as they do not end up searching solutions blindly and mess up or go on wrong paths. So many examples I shall refer the drinking habits, affairs among students, influence of cinema, lack of social responsibility etc. There are bright students who are ideal, yet the numbers are very less compared to the ones go on the other direction. In India, past times the trend of consuming alcohol / beer has started on colleges, later 12th grade, now it’s among the 8th grade. But who cares? A teacher spends more time with students than the parent! This gives the answer whom should care equally as a parent!
H – Happiness is the Key
Involvement or Interest level on any subject is directly proportional to the happiness it gives to the student while learning the subject. So students should have a smile on the face, laugh, cherish and enjoy learning from a teacher. Happiness brings liveliness to teaching.
Activities based learning often acts as a solution for teachers to bring in some fun while learning. Look at these Japanese video to learn numbers. It’s really fun and catchy. Even non Japanese will show interest to learn.
Happiness is the attention grabber, an icebreaker and act as an energizer to any classroom. Irrespective of the own personalities teachers need to develop a habit of making some fun and bringing happiness to the teaching atmosphere. So the energy level maintained high and students get more involved than a sleepy boring lecture, though it may have content, it fails in the way it is presented.
E – Evaluate Students Individually
Comparisons have infected education on a global level; a student’s efficiency is measured at par with other students. All students will not have the same skill sets and their skill levels too vary a lot. But expectations are set on students to perform better compared to their fellow students.
Teachers should evaluate students individually and appreciate their uniqueness, rather pointing reference to other kids as a benchmark for his performance. It may motivate the student to perform but sets a wrong trend and curtails creativity/ individuality.
The goals may vary; ambitions may vary among students, then how come same shoes may fit all? Evaluations for common subjects are absolutely fine when measured on marks / grade scale common to all. Where the special interests of the kids are addressed? What benchmarks were set for the students and on what basis?
For instance if a student shows more interest and exhibits high skill levels on Science and Machineries, he need not to be stressed to score more in history or biology. The only thing needed is he/she should have the basic ideas on those subjects i.e. whenever cross-subject topics comes, the student should be able to relate the concepts. For example probably when he learns history of an invention, there come a cross-subject (history and science) which will help him to understand the evolution of the machineries. Finland Educational system supports this kind of learning, may be one of the reasons for its success
Interest levels vary among students. Teachers play a critical role in evaluating the students and have a higher responsibility to individually analyse the students.
R – Recognize students’ efforts
Timely appreciation matters a lot to the students to get motivation to perform better and multiply their efforts. You can see this so simple in any school, there are stories of many students who were being so normal or average performers till a particular moment of appreciation. After some event which they get recognition for their work they start performing different ultimately.
Take the corporate sector, even the matured employee needs recognition in order to stay on track and deliver quality outputs. Students are so tender in their mind, a simple appreciation or an act of recognition from a teacher means a lot to them. The teachers even sometimes may not realize how much valuable it is for the student. Believe me they will carry it for a lifetime.
Have you read this story of Three words.. ? I could quote no other better example for recognition.
THREE LIFE CHANGING WORDS : TEACHER WHO MADE THE DIFFERENCE
Failing to recognize a student’s effort is as equal as criticizing the effort. Like corporate employees they do not need any monetary rewards, just a word of appreciation does the trick.
One key point a teacher should have in mind is that the recognition should not get limited only to a few students in a class. It should be random and distributed. You could make a chart of all the kids personally and mark when you have appreciated a kid last time. This would help you to notice kids whom you have missed out. You can give special attention to those students. If you could cover the entire strength of your classroom in an academic year, you are leaving a positive atmosphere to all the kids and everyone will love to learn from you.
Thus there will be an unbiased progress and a healthy classroom culture also will be developed.
Hope I made some sense through my words and would be happy to listen to your feedback. Learning is limitless, anyone can teach us anything any moment, so we always have to be ready to learn.
– Words by Din
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