|Daniel M. Khan with some of his students at Tetso College|
The new academic session has kicked off in a flurry for the batch of students who recently cleared the HSLC and HSSLC exams, with the race for admissions, narrowing down on the right institute and acquiring the required study material going on. In the midst of all this excitement, among the teaching community, the pressure builds up as they prepare themselves for the enormous responsibility and commitment of molding and shaping young lives.
The Power of Teachers
Henry Adams, an American historian once said, “A teacher affects eternity. One can never tell where his influence will end.” Teaching is one of the most challenging professions in our world today. Teaching demands sound knowledge of the subject matter, skills of leadership, a knowledge of technology, creativity, and patience. Many view it as a sacred responsibility accountable to God. The transformative power of an effective teacher is something we have experienced and understood on a personal level. If we were particularly fortunate, we had numerous exceptional teachers who made learning an exciting experience. Those teachers possessed a passion for the subjects that they taught, and genuine care for their students. They inspired us to play with ideas, think deeply, take on more challenging works, and even pursue careers in the particular field of study. I have also been blessed, inspired, and motivated by the good teachers in my life who encouraged and mentored me, and whose life and works inspired me to become a teacher myself.
American educator, clergyman, and author, Henry Van Dyke described the profession of teaching in a rather interesting manner, “There you have the worst paid and the best rewarded of vocations. So, do not enter it unless you love it.” Teachers will understand this better than anyone else. A teacher should be dedicated, hard-working, and strive to build a joy of learning for each and every one of their students.
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6). One thing that teachers have to understand is the powerful influence we have on the students that cross our paths. Students tend to seriously consider, and often believe without question everything we tell them. Nonetheless, we can and should use our call to influence them positively.
The Bible believes that indeed, not all have the potential to become teachers, and for those who do, the expectations are high. “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers; because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly (James 3:1). Thus, if one takes on the mantle of teaching, he has to understand that teaching is not just another job, an occupation, or pass time, but I strongly believe that a good teacher will consider this as a calling to be God’s instruments to mould, shape, and guide the young lives who are placed in our care.
Teachers can instruct and kindle interest in their students. There is a saying which comes to mind, “there is no uninteresting subject, only uninteresting teachers.” If teachers are not excited about the subject they teach, why should the students be excited about it? Teachers need to set examples in conduct and character. Teachers need to teach with love and gentleness. As change agents, a good teacher could impact the society and children positively through their words and life. Teachers also inspire children to dream and achieve great things. They can give a new vision to the younger generations, visions which will improve the lives of people and build up the nation.
Teachers invest in the lives of their students. They are like a candle illuminating the darkness. They shape and set the direction for the next generation by sowing knowledge, love, values, and hope in the lives of the youngsters who are going to be future leaders of the nation. As innovators, teachers can use their creativity and innovation to encourage children to explore, experiment, and develop new thoughts and ideas. Knowledge can never be stagnant. New thoughts are emerging each day. A teacher must encourage students to think critically. As counselors, teachers can guide the students in many aspects of life, including life skills. They can help with things like time management, anger management, and handling peer pressure. They can warn against bad habits like smoking, alcoholism, and educate students about gender equality. They also can provide career guidance.
Apart from classroom teaching, teachers have tremendous opportunity to get involved in the community. Teachers are highly respected and regarded in the society. This influence can be used as a positive channel for bringing about change and motivating the society to challenge age-old norms which may be hindering development.
How many of us go about being a teacher without really pondering on the indelible impacts that we are having on the lives of our students? I end with this quote from the American writer and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou, “This is the value of the teacher, who looks at a face and says there's something behind that and I want to reach that person, I want to influence that person, I want to encourage that person, I want to enrich, I want to call out that person who is behind that face, behind that color, behind that language, behind that tradition, behind that culture. I believe you can do it”.
“Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought delves into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr. Hewasa Lorin, Anjan Behera, Nivibo Yiki, and Kvulo Lorin. For feedback or comments please email: firstname.lastname@example.org”.