Teachers, you can make a difference

Teachers, you can make a difference

Standing Out

Teachers, you can make a difference

What separates a great teacher from a good one? Sonia P Thomas has some pointers that will help enhance your pedagogy

Recently, during a seminar for teachers, the participants were asked to mention what they thought were striking features of other teachers in their school. The answers were interesting and the participants felt energised to voice it out.

Some of the answers were: the other is a good teacher; manages the classroom well; designs the notice board and thoughts for the day; is an excellent choreographer; is a good sports teacher; loves students etc.

As one teacher mentioned “she loves her students,” the participants acknowledged with a loud round of applause. It was obvious to see the realisation among teachers on what exactly is expected of a teacher. The acknowledgement of each others’ presence in the school makes their unspoken knowledge open, and in doing so, gives guidance to others.

This is indeed a process of ‘making a difference’. Reflecting on others’ teaching methods and their contribution can help teachers see more of what is actually necessary in a classroom atmosphere. It also brings great opportunity to appreciate various aspects of others’ teaching and learning that they might not otherwise be aware of.

All teachers cannot be Anne Sullivan (instructor of Helen Keller), but every teacher is called to be a student-oriented teacher. Passion to impart knowledge for the growth of students should be the right approach to the profession.

Today’s great people are the design of a great teacher. A student’s passion for learning depends on the teacher’s passion for teaching. Teachers can make a difference in the lifestyle of students’ competence, stress, exam anxiety and pressures from all sides of life.

Bracing up to meet this demand, every teacher has the role to replace competence with performance, stress with efficiency, and the mettle to ensure a place for oneself in the rat race. To make a difference in the life of students, teachers should understand students and build trust in them.

Here’s a checklist to know if students have a high level of trust in teachers:n Students are able to ask others for help or emotional support without exaggeration.

* They tend to believe that others will help them in need.

* They start with the assumption that their parents, teachers and peers are generally good.

* They tend to focus on the positive aspects of others’ behaviour.

* They tend to behave in a relatively open manner with their teachers and parents.

* They find it comparatively easy to receive gifts from their parents, teachers, and peers.

* They are not particularly apprehensive of disclosing themselves, even negative qualities.

* Generally, they tend to have an optimistic worldview.

* They are inclined to believe that their parents and teachers know what is best for them.

Teachers need to ensure that their influence is optimised to have powerful and positive effects on students. Teachers can, and usually have positive effects, but they must have outstanding effects on their students. Do note:

Teaching is accompanying

Teachers make a difference by accompanying students in everything. Teachers are sharers of wisdom more than knowledge, because knowledge can be obtained by reading and experimenting, but wisdom comes only through living. Thus, the mission of every teacher is to help students find meaning in life, and not just help them with power, money and competence.

Gentleness is the key

Help students create a positive attitude towards life. Teach them gently that true happiness is beyond laughter, perseverance is more than tears, love is greater than generosity, faithfulness is better than success, insight is better than intelligence and harmony is better desired than conflict.

Teach them to reflect on the depth of the sea and the vastness of the sky, the hugeness of the mountain, tenderness of the reed and hardness of the rock. Teach them to sift through to attain perfect and truthful knowledge.

Lessons on reality

Teach them the two-sides of the coin — winning and losing, hard realities and mysteries. Help students face situations rather than running away from it. Many a times, fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of loving, fear of success, fear of being hurt, fear of the unknown are all hindrances to the development of trust.

Students should be appreciated for every improvement and initiatives. Help students identify their potential and affirm this in their life. Self-affirmation will bring confidence and self-acceptance. A student who can accept himself or herself will easily accept others. Self-affirmation will also help them identify their higher potentials. Accepting oneself not only includes the positive aspect of life, but also the negative side of oneself.

Listening skills

Coach them to listen to everyone and to pay attention to current issues. Also teach them that everything one hears may not be truthful. Take only the good that comes through and respond only to what is necessary. Instruct students to achieve great things and still remain humble. Train them in active listening skills, and encourage them to have the patience necessary for perseverance in life.

Instil faith

Teachers should instil the faith element in students. Allow them count the blessings and explain how the world around them has been functioning for their good. Create an awareness of the good nature of people and let them know that all people are good and the exceptional behaviour of a person can always be corrected.

Teach them forgiveness, understanding, and healthy communication to resolve problems and issues. They will learn to let go past hurts and open themselves to trust one another.

Teaching is a challenging profession. But, great teachers know their students, their requirements, problems, and help them fight their own battle and reach new heights. Who do students look up to and find? Of course, it is the teacher, who can make a difference in their life.