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Story of teaching from a teacher's perspective!
HAPPY TEACHER'S DAY!
Dr. Pragya Khanna9/4/2018 10:15:00 PM
Ever since I was little, I have seen myself act as a teacher forcing other kids, mostly younger to me who happened to be my neighbours and friends and sometimes my dolls & stuffed animals to sit in little rows and take notes as I made up facts. I believe most of you must have done the same or at least been a student to your somewhat elder sibling. After a long journey through school, College, University teaching has come to me instinctively. It might have happened to you similarly or maybe teaching is a new direction for you. You've been an accountant for some years and have decided to pursue what you've always wanted to do, or maybe a door closed on what you've always wanted to do and teaching is your Plan B. It doesn't matter how you got here. What matters is that you are here.
As much as our journeys to this profession have been different, it is important to know that not only is every student different, but every teacher is also different. Every school is different. Each grade level group of apprentices is different. Teaching changes from one minute to the next. A lesson plan that might work for a class one year might totally fail within the first five minutes for another class. Part of why teaching is so challenging (and so fun!) is that you have to constantly be on your toes and ready to improvise when you see conflicts arise.
As a matter of fact authenticity matters to learners. If your entire year is spent taking or printing out notes/worksheets from other teachers instead of teaching in ways that you are passionate about, your students will tune out ASAP.
Teaching is like a relationship, a different kind of relationship, yes, but one in which authenticity, responsiveness, and listening matter fundamentally, for example, a teacher rambling incessantly about facts learned about dolphins from an impressive foreign author's book or over the internet from a podcast, is sure to turn them off. Instead teaching requires involvement of students and their interest generation that can be only possible with effective communication between the teacher and the disciples.
So there's no script that can work out to make you a good effective teacher and no predictability as every individual and every situation is different. The good news is that you are probably more prepared than you know. Teaching is a profession that tends to attract perfectionists, and a lot of times it's tempting to think that when we are trying out a new skill on our own for the first time, we are failing. Not the case. The only way you fail as a teacher is when you stop trying to be better. But honestly, even more than pedagogy and content knowledge, I think that the best way to prepare for your life as a teacher is to be flexible, to embrace conflicts as learning opportunities, laugh as much as you can, and remember the importance of authenticity.
You'll have days that are so completely and unbelievably awesome that you'll feel like you're in a hot air balloon powered by goodness and youth. You'll have days that leave you little annoyed and out-of-sorts. You'll have students you will want to adopt as they keep coming to your expectations. You will have students you will want to send to a boarding school far, far away, but who you'll love anyway because they challenge you in one way or the other. You'll experience moments when you love your job so much you will think your heart will explode out of your body in a shower of glitter confetti. The trick is to hold on to those good days and those good feelings. Let them power your hot air balloon. That thrill you felt pretend teaching as a child? It's about ninety times more rewarding and exciting when you watch it happen in real life. And if teaching is your Plan B, know that there are about to be a lot of kids who are so glad that your Plan A didn't work out. (Hopefully, you will be, too.)
All over the world, teachers shape the delicate and fragile psyche of their students. Be it the old teacher with big spectacles who was there in the Kindergarten and she is there even now when you left the school long ago, who loved discipline and issued most black cards; or maybe that youthful and beautiful teacher who never failed to attract attention, even History lectures seemed pleasant in her aesthetic melodious voice; or that self-obsessed teacher who loved to recite tales about her past life, interests, family and what not for the initial few minutes; or that good sense of humour teacher who kept the class always in a joyous mood while teaching; or the super strict teacher who maintained a pin drop silence in the class and scared the hell out of every student with her oral tests. Let's appreciate all the teachers, all of the ilk because we all know that whatever little we have achieved in our life, we owe a major chunk to our gurus.
As some of the most influential role models for developing students, teachers are responsible for more than just academic enrichment. If you want to be a great educator, you must connect with your pupils and reach them on multiple levels, because the best teachers are committed to their students' well-being both inside and outside the classroom. By forging strong relationships, educators are able to affect virtually every aspect of their students' lives, teaching them the important life lessons that will help them succeed beyond term papers and standardized tests.
A great teacher makes learning fun, as stimulating, engaging lessons are fundamental to a student's academic success. Some students who are more prone to mischief, truancy or disengagement are more dependent on an engaging teacher. Making your classroom an exciting environment for learning will hold the students' fascination, and students learn best when they are both challenged and interested. It's part of motivating students, which may not be easy, but which will benefit students immensely in the long run.
Teaching is one of the most complicated jobs today. It demands broad knowledge of subject matter, curriculum, and standards; enthusiasm, a caring attitude, and a love of learning; knowledge of discipline and classroom management techniques; knowledge of latest technology and a desire to make a difference in the lives of young people. With all these qualities required, it's no wonder that it's hard to find great teachers. However, a teacher must always be willing to put in the necessary time, induce a culture of respect that flows in every direction: teacher to students, students to teacher, students to students, and from everyone to everyone else.
The best teachers of the world get divorced, become ill, have problems with their own children, need to attend to aging parents, and have other personal issues in the same proportion as other professionals. They also have both mild and serious professional disagreements about new curriculums, teaching methods, assessment techniques, and materials. But these teachers have the good judgment required to balance these problems in a way that minimizes fluctuations in classroom performance. A teacher must continue to grow and make his/her pupils grow; he/she must be steady, intelligent, concerned, interesting and interested.
Although infinitely difficult and painstakingly planned, great teaching appears effortless and seamless. One can easily believe that it is the simplest thing in the world until one tries to do it.
Whatever be the students' perspective, every teacher tries hard to play his/her role effectively. Although the hard part of teaching is coming to grips with the fact that 'There is never enough'. There is never enough time. There are never enough resources. There is never enough you.
As a teacher, you can see what a perfect job in your classroom would look like. You know all the assignments you should be giving. You know all the feedback you should be providing your students. You know all the individual crafting that should provide for each individual's instruction. You know all the material you should be covering. You know all the ways in which, when the teachable moment emerges (unannounced as always), you can greet it with a smile and drop everything to make it grow and blossom. Though with every passing year you get better, you get faster, you learn tricks, you learn which corners can more safely be cut, you get better at predicting where the student-based bumps in the road will appear, there's never enough.
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