I am currently working on my online TEFL certification. I am enjoying it and of course it will only be beneficial for me, and it makes me look at teaching from a different angle, which I appreciate. My first essay I had to write, I really liked so I thought I’d share it. It’s been a loooong time since I had to write something and turn it in for a grade, but I was pleased with this and am very pleased with my grade (full marks! 😉 ). So, I thought I’d share it because I think it gives some valid points to the positive and negative qualities of teachers, from my own perspective. Let me know what you think!
The Role of the Teacher.
- Think about teachers whom you´ve had over your years as a student. Who was the best one? What were the qualities that set this individual apart from the others?
- Who was your worst teacher? Why did this individual fail to set an example you would want to emulate as a teacher.
- Can you think of some other terms to describe the good teacher and add to the list in section 1.2?
The teacher’s role is the most important component of what makes up a positive and successful learning environment. It is an underappreciated role by society as a whole, even though it is safe to assume that the vast majority of us have at one point sat in a classroom and experienced both positive and negative lessons and situations. In those lessons that we remember best and most favorably, similarities can be found in the role the teacher(s) might have played, such as encouragement, ease and confidence in the relationship between the teacher and student, active engagement, and a sense of teamwork with the teacher as the trusted leader.
I am lucky enough to have fond memories of many of my teachers, all the way back to kindergarten and up through university. The teachers who I always liked the best consistently exhibited the character traits I mentioned above. One of my favorite traits was, and is, how they saw themselves as leaders of a team, and not as a master and his subjects, (a rather dramatic image, but one that I really did experience!). The teacher would display a sense of camaraderie from the start, with a promise to guide and lead us through the subject as best as they could to get us to the end goal, usually a final test and a passing grade. But not only did they promise that, they promised that we would have fun and learn things that would benefit us for life, and they kept these promises. They didn’t see themselves as “higher” than us, nor did they see us as children to be bossed around. These teachers treated their students like they were, as young, bright individuals, and worked with us. They played on our strengths, were varied in their techniques and were not afraid to use humor and laughter to lighten situations or explain difficult material. It was teachers like these who earned an honored place in my memory and a soft spot in my heart, and it is their lessons that have stayed with me throughout the course of my still young life.
The teachers who have not made my personal cut are attached to memories that still sting a little. They saw themselves as the ones in control with too much discipline and negativity. They were boring in their teaching methods and lacked a sense of humor appropriate for a classroom setting. Refusing to work as a team, they distanced themselves from the students which naturally made it difficult for the students to approach them with learning difficulties and problems. This in turn creates an unsatisfactory learning environment for both the students and the teacher, and is clearly seen in the lack of energy and happiness in both parties and the poor grades. It is such a shame when classroom settings like these get overlooked by other faculty members and parents because it is only a disservice to the school or institution and the students.
When my time with the “bad teachers” was over, it always took some time to shake away the negativity they left in my thoughts and learning experiences. Luckily, the good teachers were more often than the bad and they broke up these unconstructive experiences and reminded me of my joy of learning.
I believe that being a good and effective teacher fully encompasses what I have already described. I would like to add that a good sense of humor and compassion should be added to the list in section 1.2. I realize that compassion should go hand-in-hand with sympathy and empathy, but those two words lack sufficient meaning if those emotions fail to touch the heart. I can only hope that I embody the exemplary teachers of my past and lead by the lessons they taught me.