Teachers are typically treated as tools that governments use to transfer their choice of curriculum to students. But are they, in reality, just that? Do teachers play a role more significant than instruction?
This is quite a pressing question with variable answers, but one thing is for sure: teachers touch a student's life in innumerable ways, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that they hold the potential to make a child's life.
History is dotted with examples of great student-teacher stores that corroborate the claim that if teachers can be more than just teachers, students can become more than just rote learners.
To get to know how teachers can be more than just teachers, we need to understand what instruction is in its true essence and what are the core responsibilities of a teacher.
Let's get to it!
Is instruction the same as education, and should teachers be instructors or educators?
It is commonly thought that instruction primarily means giving long, unstimulating, and boring lectures to students who sit in rows at their desks, dutifully listening to all that is being said without speaking, and making neat notes.
This standard mode of instruction, although problematic in itself, differs significantly from what education should be. Education offers every child a rich blend of unique learning experiences in an educational setting, not confined to the classroom only.
Instead, it pours out into the world around them and into their community, working towards not only their academic upbringing but also personal growth.
Information or education is not a phenomenon bound only to books: it is present everywhere in bits and bytes as long as we are willing to look at it.
Teaching is a mode of administrating education rather than the orthodox methods of instruction. It is now on a path of development by forsaking the old "show and tell" practice.
Just as medicinal practices no longer involve applying leeches and boiling surgical equipment, teaching is also evolving in a discipline at par with the changing world dynamics.
Students are now not being treated as simple consumers of facts rather as active developers of knowledge.
Similarly, schools are not just unattractive structures of brick and mortar; they are the epitome of lifelong learning embedded with technological advancements.
Most importantly, teachers in their true essence are absolutely significant for the development of the social, economic, and cultural standing of a nation.
That is why there is a burning need for teachers to adapt to the new requirements of today's digitalized world and work towards becoming something more than mere instructors of knowledge.
What can teachers do to become more than teachers?
Teaching was an amalgamation of custodial child care, information administration, and separation of academically inclined or gifted students from the others.
Schools were considered as instruction facilities that dispensed the same amount of instruction on every student in the same way, irrespective of their uniqueness and ability to absorb that knowledge.
Teachers were paid hourly or daily wages and were told what, when, and how to teach with little room for flexibility.
Any deviations from the orthodox methods used by prior generations were considered a fallacy, and this phenomenon can be seen in many schools even now.
So how can teachers transcend beyond this orthodoxy and become true educators instead of instructors?
The best approach to this phenomenon is adapting to modern technology and innovative instructional practices based upon the science and art of learning.
It is crucial to understand that the true essence of education lies in a close-knit relationship between a motivated child and a knowledgeable and caring teacher.
Teachers can become more than teachers simply when they start looking at their students as individuals with distinct cultural and social backgrounds, interests, requirements, abilities, needs, and learning styles.
The need for attention to such qualities is the building block of a well-developed medium of education.
What are the true responsibilities of a teacher?
A teacher is fundamentally responsible for counseling students as they mature and grow academically, socially, and intellectually and helping them integrate their growth to make informed decisions that impact their lives and of those around them meaningfully and constructively.
Directing the right union of growth in these three distinct dimensions is not an easy gig, but when done aptly, it defines a teacher's true responsibility and yields the ability to seek, comprehend, and use knowledge the way it is supposed to.
All of this can, in turn, be a valuable contribution to society.
Teachers can give more to their students, and in turn society, by being prepared to intervene at any time and in any way that ensures adequate learning.
Instead of looking at themselves simply as experts of subject matters, may it be mathematics, science, or history, they need to inspire admiration and love for their particular subject matter to be considered masters of it.
This relatively new practice of learning takes the form of an efficient concept of instruction in favor of active learning. It also prompts teachers to break barriers of traditional teaching and adopt one based on the principles of student participation.
The most respected teachers are the ones who have found ways of turning students into passionate and active participants by providing educational, participatory, and project-based adventures in an instructional process.
Forsaking the role of a benevolent dictator, or a king or queen, who decides what's best for the students and makes sure it goes uncontested, is not the way to become a true teacher.
Instead, it is vital to find accomplishment in adopting the role of facilitators, instructional guides, or even co-learners. In addition, it is crucial to realize that students can only assume a responsible attitude towards their education if the curriculum relates to their lives.
A successful teacher, thus, develops learning activities that heighten students' natural curiosity and adopts a mode of assessment that measures real accomplishments, in addition, to strictly academic ones.
Students consider an instructor a true teacher when he/she gives them an opportunity to determine the content and form of their schooling.
Prompting them to develop their own learning plans is one of the most intelligible ways of engaging students to learn what they agreed to learn.
A true teacher's most significant responsibility is to root out the meaning behind educational experiences to help students apply them practically and solve real-world problems.
Education is not education until it helps you live a better life, and a teacher is not a teacher until he/she assists you in it.
The biggest dilemma in our societies is that our educational curriculum fails to provide us with the tools necessary to live an informed life, and that is the very gap a teacher should aim to bridge.
A true teacher breathes life into the inert, abstract knowledge that students are forced to memorize from dusty books so that it can be used for the augmentation of new knowledge.
Teachers can quite literally become more than teachers by rethinking their fundamental roles as the directors of education and taking on new responsibilities.
These responsibilities may include collaborating with community members, politicians, colleagues, academics, employers, and colleagues to revolutionize education and introduce sustainable practices that can enhance the quality of instruction.
They can set clearer and more obtainable standards that they want the children of their country to study on. Many teachers also devote their time to researching the various strategies and questions of educational effectiveness that can enhance the dynamics of learning.
For this, they take practice steps such as spending time monitoring new members of their profession and guiding graduates to take actions that would help them make the world a better place.
Taking all these steps is not a child's play: being a teacher is not as easy as it is rewarding!
Also, you can have free specimen books from Oswaal by filling up this form, if you haven't filled it yet. If you feel these books can be of help to your colleagues or anyone belonging to the teaching community then please, do share it with them as well.
All the Best!
LIKED IT? THEN KINDLY HIT THE BUTTON TOO!