In the pre-Christian era of the Naga society, young boys would live in Morungs where they would be imparted knowledge needed to carry on their duties as future tribesmen. Education has undergone a paradigm shift in the recent decade. We stand on the threshold of the ‘smart-class’ era, where the traditional structure of a classroom is now challenged. The changes in the expectations and demands from education have only added more responsibilities to a teacher’s role. This week’s article explores the various roles a teacher must play in order to build a capable and successful generation of young adults.
Teachers: The Builders of a Nation
I have been in the teaching profession for the last 16 years. Having taught students in both school and college level, I’ve learnt that teachers, whether in remote areas or in cities, teaching in primary or university level, are not merely teachers, but leaders as important as any political, business, or religious leaders. They too have contributed in building a nation as any other leader.
If any educational institution wants to grow and develop, they should develop their teachers first. Any nation wanting to emerge as a powerful nation should empower their teachers first. These teachers are those leaders who take care of the most important resources of the nation, i.e. Human resource. Here, I would like to mention some of the steps which, from my experiences, make for a smooth teaching and learning process.
A teacher should have a clear sense of direction. It is just a common sense, as a teacher if we can’t lead and manage ourselves then how can we lead and manage others. As a teacher, it is important that your students know your commitment to them. We must try to refrain from taking out our personal frustrations and failures on them. Teaching is tough and not everyone’s cup of tea. We must strive to be a leader and team player no matter what the situation may be. Don’t let your followers see you as helpless as they are! People come to a leader with problems and if a leader shares his/her problem with them then where will they go?
A teacher should be aware of the goals being pursued by keeping in mind the strength and weakness of the students. For example, in mathematics subject, teachers should set the target such as in one month my students should learn two chapters, or in 15 days one chapter, or if there are 10 problems in one exercise than in 1 day 2 problems should be solved, and so on. And as good leaders, these lesson plans should be shared with the students in detail and making them aware that we are going to work together to achieve these targets and for that, I need your support.
A teacher should always create an urge for higher performance among students. In addition to igniting self-confidence and enthusiasm among the students, a teacher should transform lukewarm desire into a burning passion for success. Before starting a lesson, teachers should not only explain how such lessons will help them for their future career, but also how such lessons are relevant to their day to day life activities. Also, it would be helpful if teachers design different types of nonmonetary incentive plans. Indeed, they can borrow lessons from ‘Maslow’s hierarchy of needs’ and redesign the hierarchy needs as per the needs of a student.
Teachers should build up dedication and loyalty among their students by being ‘the example.’ They should develop mutual cooperation and self-discipline among students. Under a good teacher, students work willingly and enthusiastically. The teachers should also encourage students to take initiative and provide psychological support for them. They should serve as friends, philosophers, and guides for their students. A teacher shouldn’t forget, students don't care how much a teacher knows, they care how much a teacher cares for them.
A teacher should be spontaneous, because what works with one group of students may not work for others. Therefore, leadership styles should change as per the students.
What I have learned from my teaching experiences is that in addition to the ones mentioned above, there are subtle nuances which a teacher ought to possess, such as good communication and verbal skills, and sound knowledge of the subject matter. Good Communication skills have proven to be effective means to make my students understand the lessons. I’ve learned that as a teacher listening patiently and with empathy helps students in so many ways. Communication skills enable me to understand the students and motivate them.
In my career, public speaking and storytelling skills have also helped me create a good response amongst my students. With the help of this skill, I influenced them, and gained their attention whenever they got distracted.
Moreover, the quest of acquiring more knowledge and information also helped me. I have never made them feel that I’m an outdated teacher. I keep challenging myself to prove to my students that I am a worthy teacher, which helps in directing and teaching them without much difficulty and resistance.
Lastly, dear friends, most of us spend the greater part of our lives on the job. This means our attitudes toward our job can determine whether our days are filled with excitement and with a sense of fulfillment that comes from top performance, or with frustration, boredom, and fatigue. Nevertheless, don’t forget that you are a nation builder; you are a leader; hence, live like a leader.
“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, Kvulo Lorin and Dr. Salikyu Sangtam. For feedback or comments please email:firstname.lastname@example.org”.