The balancing act of teaching

Igniting Minds

The balancing act of teaching

Teachers should spot talent and encourge students, says Vinaya Govind. Who are the people other than your parents who have profoundly affected your childhood?” I asked a few of my friends. “Our teachers,” they replied in chorus.

Teachers impart knowledge and teach essential skills to the children during their formative years. They become special for several reasons – for spotting a talent and encouraging one to pursue it, transforming another, a math-phobic to a math-lover, ignite a student’s love for Kannada literature or rekindle one’s interest in sports.

Chaithra, a HR professional, has this to say about her teacher: “My teacher helped me through my troubled teens. She was a friend, philosopher and guide. Her unwavering support and her never-say-die attitude have left an indelible impression on my mind. I attribute my success to all my teachers”.

Teaching is not everyone’s cup of tea. It is a special calling and termed ‘noble’ for it doesn’t expect anything in return from the taught. Not many opt for this profession that is oft-maligned for reasons like low test scores and not working hard enough.

Yet, we have teachers who continue to mould the future each day in class.  They are, in fact, ‘unsung heroes’ of all the generations we have seen till today and will continue to see in the generations to come.So, what makes a great teacher? Is it just the qualification and experience? Certainly not. It is the attitude and approach that is important, according to teacher trainers. Here are a few traits that most successful ‘great’ teachers share:

The right attitude

Teaching is not only an occupation but also a responsibility. Hence, a positive approach is a must. Children are sure to throw many a challenges.
Challenges require a lot of focus and the right attitude will help you cope with these. The teacher with the right attitude can get through the year without negatively impacting the students.

A sense of humor

A teacher with a sense of humor can relieve tense situations and make class more enjoyable. Students look forward to attending these classes and pay attention to what is being taught. The teacher with a great sense of humor will definitely be a cheerful person even in a stressful situation.

Confidence booster

An effective teacher should relentlessly boost the confidence of students. He should strive to raise the bar for the students and work on an attitude that says that his students can achieve their goals. He must have high expectations; however, he should not set unrealistic expectations especially from the mediocre. As a teacher is also a mentor, he should never be condescending or sarcastic. 

Treat students equally

Most students often complain that teachers are unfair with one gender or a group of students in some classroom situations. Students are quick to realize this and label the teacher ‘unfair’. So, the teacher should treat all students equally, advise them irrespective of the gender or group and remain neutral when situation demands it.  He has to remember that he can be supportive and friendly to the students but cannot be a students’ friend.

Consistency

Students dislike an environment wherein rules change constantly. For example: If a day of the week has been fixed for a dictation test or speech practice, try and stick to the plans.

Students come prepared for such tests and would feel disappointed if they are put off.

Consistency creates good learning environment for the students and they are certain to succeed.

Flexibility

Interruptions and disruptions in the classroom are frequent in recent times. The teacher is expected to have a flexible attitude to take control of the situation and come back to the lesson as well.

This will also make students understand that disruptions are not going to yield any good as the teacher is sure to take charge of the situation.

Teaching is definitely enjoyable and rewarding.  As a teacher, you have a chance to impact the children you teach in addition to your community as well. “What the teacher is is more important than what he teaches,” says Karl A. Menninger.

Just being masters of the content you teach is not adequate to become great teachers who inspire.

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