Before I get lost in the hysterical euphoria of writing, I need to make a confession.
The original idea for this piece isn’t mine. I stole it from the educative work of a consultant Melissa Kelly. Because I’m also in one way or the other a teacher, I was charmed by her superlative article (I can’t recollect precisely what the title was). What I have done however is that I have done a great deal of tweaking – including the title, lest I land myself in a mess of plagiarism.
If you’re involved in the business of impacting and imparting knowledge – teaching, lecturing, public speaking, writing, preaching and the like, this shouldn’t escape your eagle-focused eyes. I was transformed when I read it – and I think it isn’t bad sharing it with you, as a colleague.
I will like to present my own award to ‘My Ideal Teacher’ of all time. You want a name? I will not mention the name but I will give you some hint of who the person is; you can then complete the square because it could be you. Besides, won’t it be quite hopeless naming a person among trillions of dealers in knowledge globally? So consider yourself the ideal teacher if you fit into the frame.
So, the treasured teacher…
1. Always demonstrates a sense of humor in the class: You want to know the class that students dread more than physical punishment? Those classes with boring, dry and ever-serious intelligent teachers as anchors. Note that the teacher is ‘intelligent’. That means the teacher knows the subject but he is out of fashion in delivery because he fails to realize the fact that a sense of humor makes students always look forward to attending and paying attention in a class. Who likes a mechanical teacher?
2. Has a positive attitude: I have not found any teacher more annoying than those that always find a way to display their frustrations to students. The teaching profession is one of the few that constantly throw curve balls in your way all the time – the management policy on grading, policies on sanctions, teaching workloads, expectations on exams and assessment, lesson observations, inadequate support…please complete the list if you’ve got the time and patience. Great teachers always ‘mask’ their attitude in the classroom in such a way that the students will not be negatively impacted. Great teachers wear ‘professional mask’.
3. Encourages high expectations: Wait a minute. Please, have you experienced a teacher telling you (without any sense of shame) that you must be a wizard for you to score above average in their subjects? I experienced more of that macabre gist in my university days. What would you call such an academic infidel? An ideal teacher always raises the bar of expectation for students. No one is talking of unrealistic results here but if you cannot make them believe they can do better, then you need not be here in the first place. Teachers are builders of confidence.
4. Is consistent: If you are the type that asks students to stand up for making a noise, students can cope and adapt to you if you apply it in similar circumstances. You should not be an enigma to your students. So, how consistent are your classroom policies?
5. Is fair: Being fair is the close cousin to being consistent, but this takes consistency to the application levels. Students will hate you if you are a dealer in double or multiple standards. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Why must you be cold to James but be hot to Jude? A normal teacher never creates an atmosphere of favouritism. Yes, the temptation is always there to be unfair but it must be suppressed – I mean, you must kill it. How fair are you in the class?
6. Is always flexible in attitude: Who really came up with the fancy idea of a ‘typical’ day? The truth is: nothing, and definitely no day, is typical. Disruptions and interruptions are normal spices of our days. How do you feel if your curriculum leader suddenly busts in while you are in the middle of an interesting class and asks you to round off immediately so that you can cover for a teacher in another class? How teachers handle such normal ‘encroachments’ on routine separates the real teachers from the pretenders. How do you fare in this?
I wish you all the best in your chosen career!What Makes the Ideal Teacher by Taiwo Adeyemi