I come from a family that has been into education for the last four generations starting from my paternal grandfather. My father and all my forefathers who embraced the teaching field have each, been acknowledged by their students’ as a great teacher.
My great-grandfather started a school in the 1930s in a rural coastal village of Karnataka, India. He was the first in his village to send his daughter to school brushing aside social taboos. He placed a lot of value on morality and principles. People fondly called him the ‘Gandhi of his village’
My dad’s father continued growing the same school and built it to an institution of repute standing tall and strong amongst British Church schools that were highly desired for their English education.
My dad was the principal of a CBSE school for 18 years and is still an educator. He started his own school in 2009 and has written 100 plus books for kids.
I spent 12 years in the software field after which the education sector beckoned me and now I am a teacher teaching Math and Science.
Having lived and breathed education at home with anecdotes, stories and incidents from three generations being the common topic of conversations at home, here are ten points I am reproducing from my personal diary – the distilled summary of (90 years of experience across 3 generations) what I think it takes to be a great teacher
Never stop being a student yourself.
Never ever. You should never cease learning. Learning can happen from experiences, conversations, books and most importantly from your main audience, the students too.
Always wake up to the question – “What is something new that I can share with my students today?”.
My dad practices this philosophy even today. Every night before going to bed, he browses the Internet, picks up one simple science activity to be demonstrated to kids the next day at the assembly.
Be a stern disciplinarian with students.
They may not appreciate it today, but it will hold them in good stead forever. A day will come when they will appreciate you for this one fact alone. Never show favouritism to any student. Never overlook their errors. Correct them on the spot no matter how discomfiting it is. Reprimand them without hesitation for wanton acts of insensitivity towards other humans or animals.
Self evaluate after each lesson.
Did my teaching style reach out to the dullest student today? Your barometer of teaching excellence will be the reflection of ‘Eureka, I got it” on the dullest kid’s face.
Ask yourself “What did I do today to take one step away from the ‘Chalk and talk’ method?”
Never step into the class without something in your hand. A teaching aid like a model, a chart, an infographic, etc. Something to get all students glued to your lecture. Make a conscious effort to step away from the blackboard mode of teaching.
Never start the lesson till every student’s attention is fixed on you.
Simple, yet one of the toughest things to master. Never start a lesson till every single student has given you their complete attention. This simple step will go a long way in disciplining your students in the long run.
Convert every complaint by a student into a teaching opportunity.
Students love to complain, especially if there is a teacher who lends them an ear. Use the opportunity to teach the entire class or a bigger group of some valuable life lesson.
Teaching is not a 9 AM to 6 PM job.
It never ceases. Either you are teaching or you are planning for next day’s teaching. A teacher laps up every supplementary idea that he or she can tap for the next day’s lesson.
Walk the Talk
For you are the undeclared role model on campus. There are pairs of eyes always watching and scrutinising every tiny little action of yours. Set the highest standards for yourself.
Moulding students’ takes a lot of time. Rome was not built in a day. Student’s too can’t be moulded in a day. There are days when they bring tears of happiness to your eyes. Then there are days when you feel that all that you have taught them has just been a colossal waste of your time. Take both of it in your stride. Dig in and bide your time. Master patience and get ready for the long haul.
Becoming a great teacher takes time and patience, an insatiable curiosity to learn and belief in oneself. Hope the above points help you turn into a great teacher in your teaching journey.
Note: This was originally posted as an answer to a Quora question[yikes-mailchimp form=”3″ title=”1″ description=”1″]