Much like learning, experiences in school vary for a number of reasons: the people you meet, the interests you have, and the teacher you’re stuck with.
It’s a reality, teachers, like parents, we don’t choose, we’re given.
In this series of posts I’ll be looking into the qualities “good” teachers possess; mind you, It’s been many years since I was in school, but I will try to be as objective as possible and base my advice on experiences I’ve gathered from my research talking to younger kids in school and teachers. Of course, you should expect to have a hint of my personal opinion here and there, but that’s just for the sake of spicing things up; not all things have to be conventional.
A good teacher wants to teach more than he wants to be paid
Disclaimer: I won’t sit here and lie about teachers not minding living on minimum wage and not being able to provide for their family.
I’m sure everyone, on a personal level, aspires to one day have enough money to do certain things. Some feel covered with the necessities that allow them to provide for their family and have a few luxuries when the times allow; others, strive for riches, and those you will most likely see working far away from schools, or universities.
You don’t need to dig too deep, if you ask around, you will soon realize that the majority of teachers and professors don’t make a lot of money. Some have to pick up second jobs as consultants or private tutors to make ends meet. (note: in some countries university professors are not allowed second jobs – to reduce the chances of conflicts of interest)
Remember the movie, in which a professor from the suburbs is called to teach in a downtown school populated by kids who live in the ghetto, and has to find unconventional ways to inspire the students to turn their lives around?
Well, we’re always surprised at how the “bad guy” method sometimes results in a class full of successful and engaged individuals, that weren’t before that teacher came around.
In many cases, teaching positions are assigned, not offered (unless you are a private school teacher), and to this we can also attribute the lack of engagement between students and teachers of completely different backgrounds. Yet even when the background is so vastly different between the teacher and the learner, the thing that brings them together is the teacher’s will and drive to achieve instilling ideas in people that had no interest whatsoever to be there, in the first place.
When students long for the next day’s lecture, we have succeeded.
So, can we point the finger at exactly one thing a teacher does that enchants students into loving the ride of education?
Yes, and no. Personally, I could tell you that in Grades 1-4, having the same teacher, I saw Mrs. Nicoletta was a mother figure. I can remember doing the required work, and a big part of my drive to do it was because I wanted to satisfy her, for she treated me so nicely, uniquely and carefully, to breed the learner in me. It’s a process that begins in kindergarten, learning through play and then moving up to the more serious textbooks. If you miss a few steps of the ladder, the leap to the top is sometimes too big to take.
Fast forward to high-school, I met professors that had love for what they did, and spreading it was their life’s purpose, and I met professors who had zero interest to teach. They were brilliant at what they did, but that was half a step toward becoming a teacher. They were… lecturers – the kind that make you wonder what happened, after every lecture.
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
There are two types of teachers where I come from:
- those who teach because it gives them the thrill of seeing people earn value through their teachings
- those who studied in a field that only produced teachers, or getting other jobs was more difficult at the time
To be a successful teacher, you have to belong to group number 1, or you will soon find yourself hating the workplace, the people and the cause – and those are the worst people to have around when growing up and looking for ways to be inspired to belong in society.
What did your favorite teacher do that made him/her stand out in your eyes?
Stay tuned, more tips on how to be a good teacher, along with an interview coming soon!