21 December 2010

A good teacher is never forgotten

A few years ago, for the older folks at least, there was that one teacher who would make your heart skip.
Not because they were big and carried a menacing cane that would give you the creeps throughout their lesson. No. Actually they were that rare breed of teacher who made your heart skip in excitement at the prospect of the next lesson.
You would not miss the lesson for the world, because you knew it would be interesting, filled with humour, and the experience would entirely blow your mind.
It is no wonder you passed the subject your favourite teacher taught almost effortlessly. Now years later, you still remember them, hoping they remember you too. Indeed every road you take along the path of success is a tribute to them.
But what made these teachers tick?
•“They are very practical and like involving students in teaching.
They crack jokes without going off topic and keep the whole class on their toes because you never know if the next thing she says is a very important point or a joke, and you would want to catch both. She encourages us to ask questions and you feel a part of the class.”
•They can help children achieve their full potential, through creative teaching methods and the use of positive discipline; one who genuinely cares about the students, and understands their learning process, treating them like the special individuals they are.
•They go beyond just giving students information, to helping them understand and absorb this information and equipping them to apply it to everyday situations and “Much as they want the children to pass, they do not encourage cramming.”

Learning is basically a four-step process which starts with the children grasping the information, analyzing it, exploring it and, finally, applying it. Grasping the information involves getting to know the basic facts. Analyzing involves comparing what has just been grasped to what the student already knows. Analyzing is deep. A student’s mind churns out what is useful, and tries to make sense of it. The step of exploring is where the student finds out what the information means to them before applying it in their daily lives. At each stage of the learning process, a good teacher equips the students with the relevant skills, and the rewards to the teacher are immense, in form of excellent performance.

•Some students value a teacher who gives them freedom and encouragement.
“The first thing is that a good teacher should not cane the students. The teacher should encourage the students to follow our dreams even though they may be outside the strict academic arena. I personally liked football and I respected teachers who encouraged me to play. I ended up passing their subjects.”
Many times teachers use intimidation and threats of punishment to get students to comply with their orders but one of the characteristics of a not-so-good teacher.
“I absolutely detest teachers who use the cane. Another thing is that a good teacher should not involve himself or herself in love relationships with students. They should be friendly without crossing the line,”
Well, such is the pedigree of a successful teacher, managing to be an educator who commands respect from students while maintaining a warm approachable demeanor.
Yes, such is the status of a wonderful teacher: being remembered with reverence and fondness that border on idolatry. And when the time comes, they shall sit back and bask in the glow of flawless legacy.

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