When it comes to impacting their lives, very rarely will you ever hear people say that famous personalities and celebrities molded them. In most cases, people tend to forget who won the Miss Universe crown in 1974 or who the Academy Award winner for best actor is in 1952.
And while celebrities and other famous people do leave a mark in our lives, when you ask people who made the most impact in their lives, it is always a teacher next to their parents.
One of the World’s Noblest Professions
Teaching is a very noble profession. Since time immemorial, it has been considered one of the world’s noblest professions. In most cases, the process of teacher selection is similar to going through a needle’s eye. It involves a lot of things. The ability to teach, how patient yet firm a person is, trade recognition of skilled migrants (because teaching is never identified with a specific race or color), and ultimately, the heart to serve. The ability to mold young minds and help parents rear them up to be outstanding citizens and morally-upright individuals is a Herculean responsibility that only the brave dare take on.
And in a world where the quality of education is threatened by distance and online learning, how can an educator ensure that students and pupils get the best they have to offer?
1. How learners develop
An effective teacher does not generalize and puts all of his or her students under one category. He or she understands that learner development is affected by several different factors. Armed with this knowledge, the educator respects these differences and does his or her best to consider them when coming up with a strategy
2. How people learn differently from each other
Similarly, since learners develop at different rates and speeds, they also learn differently, While one is gifted with an outstanding photographic memory, another is more adept at using the body for learning. An educator who understands and appreciates these differences devises ways to keep their classes more accommodating for different learners, thus making it more engaging for students.
3. How different environments affect learning
On top of the internal differences, certain external factors also come into play. And good teachers consider these things.
One such example is the different learning environments surrounding them. It’s already hard enough to manage a small group of individuals with different personalities, learning styles, and backgrounds. A good teacher can create a safe environment conducive to learning that helps validate the learners’ individual characteristics without alienating anyone.
4. Knowledge of the learning content
Subject mastery is one of the things that separate excellent teachers from the rest of the pack. No matter how well-meaning you are, no matter how you were able to set up a safe learning environment, if you don’t have a good grasp of the subject you are teaching, you won’t be an effective educator.
Serious teachers devote their time and energy to downloading every complex concept, theme, and idea to their students in as palatable and simple a manner as possible. They make it their goal for their students to learn, understand, and apply as much as possible and not just appear as the expert and know-it-all.
They have a greater understanding that teaching is not just about appearing smart and knowledgeable before their students. They realize that each lesson they teach should leave a mark in their students’ lives, even if the only lesson they take away from the class is to keep things as simple and uncomplicated as possible.
5. Practical leadership
The best teachers know how to command — not demand — respect from their students. One of the ways they do this is not to pull rank on everyone. They understand that when they respect their students and treat them as mature individuals, their students respect and admire them. More than downloading information, these educators make it their goal to lead their students into becoming better individuals and responsible citizens.
Many a movie have been made about teachers who take on the role of mentor and parent to their students. Coach Carter, Dangerous Minds, Stand and Deliver, Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society, and many more. These movies revolve around the lives of teachers who gave above and beyond what was called of them. They did not just educate students inside the classroom; they prepared them for life outside the educational institution.
Although the pandemic is a big hurdle for educators to overcome, you can never doubt their sincerity and heart for the young ones. Teachers and educators are giving more than just their time in providing quality education to students. They are giving everything they have to give the next generation a better chance at life.