Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Being a Teacher: Not as easy as you may think - Zuchano Khuvung, Asst. Prof. Pol Science


The Nagaland Education department has recently issued appointment orders for graduate teachers in Higher Secondary schools in Nagaland. It is hoped that the present batch of teachers will be sincere and make a difference in the areas in which they are posted. We salute all the sincere teachers who will be catalysts for change. At the same time, we are painfully aware of the difficult conditions many of them may have to work in to do a good job. Many may move away from the comforts of home to deal with poor infrastructure, weak students, parents and maybe even indifferent colleagues. This week we feature an article from one of our relatively new teachers who presents her views on teaching.    


Being a Teacher: Not as easy as you may think


It is the second year of my teaching experience and so far I find teaching to be challenging, intellectually demanding and emotionally rewarding. Teaching is not static rather it is all about reviving and refining.

Unlike many other careers, teaching can potentially be a job for life, but although it is a rewarding job, teaching can also be extremely challenging and frustrating. Therefore, a teacher who learns to effectively process his own stress and frustration will be far better equipped to thrive in the profession for longer than those who enter it expecting it to be an easy career path or as a stop gap arrangement. If this is the case, then who can become or who can be called a real teacher or what does it take to become a great teacher.

A real teacher is not one who can simply impart information but along with it he or she must be able to influence and make a difference to the lives of children. A teacher must also possess the qualities of creativity, be dynamic and adaptive. So how can all of this be possible- that is a question we need to ponder on. The only answer I could come up with is ‘passion’. Passion is not simply a word but implies all sincerity to what one does. Our passion towards career/work will ultimately result in devotion to the schools or college’s philosophy and goal towards education. Teachers should manage their expectations well and devote their resources to where they will be most effective. This does not mean ignoring gifted children or lavishing attention on slower ones, but identifying the different needs of each student while maintaining a positive and engaged atmosphere.

A teacher’s mind is constantly at work and what a teacher does in a classroom is scripted by the curriculum requirements. In order to be successful at teaching the curriculum requirements, teachers have to be creative and use their teaching materials, so that they reap the rewards of their creativity. Teaching is not only about making the students thorough with the given syllabus but also directing them to take up certain steps that would help them achieve their goals and mould them in such a way that they become responsible and influential personalities.  In this way, teachers often become mentors or counsellor to the students and they could also become role models to them. Teachers have a substantial amount of influence on the development and growth of their students. They spend hours with their students everyday and many of them grow up remembering their favourite teachers fondly, and realizing that those talented leaders gave them opportunities that they may not have otherwise encountered.

Teachers not only have to deal with students on a daily basis, but along with the proper student-teacher relationship, they have to interact with parents and extended families. In some cases parents or guardians can be just as challenging as the students. Teachers have to be actively involved in partnership with the parents in order to improve the educational system and maintain high standards for their student’s education. They can also act as effective agents in creating a cooperative community by encouraging parents to see that they too can experience the rewards and benefits of teaching.

Although there is talk about the high stress and low pay of teachers, there are, on the other hand, numerous benefits to entering the teaching field. The opportunity to work with young people is one of the main reasons many people decide to become teachers and for those who love the idea of influencing their country’s future, becoming a teacher might fit that goal. Teachers play one of the most important roles in the lives of young learners. Infact, teachers are second only to parents in the importance and effect they have on children’s lives, surpassing friends and other relatives. In the teaching profession, teachers can become mentors in the community, specialize in a certain field or subject, enjoy continuing education opportunities and support from professional organization etc. There is again a fair amount of freedom involved in teaching. While teachers do have curriculum they need to adhere to, the methods and strategies they use to achieve the given curriculum goals, are often left to the discretion of each teacher that can be products of their own creativity and initiative. Thus, within the confines of the classroom, teachers and students build relationships and a learning environment of their own, and since teaching and learning are very personal efforts, the classroom becomes a home-away-from-home to a greater extent as compared to many other professional environments. 

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