Teaching: Art of teaching
I have not been able to prove myself as a good teacher, all this while, despite a few attempts at teaching a group of people at different levels.
Rather I have had a few happy students whom I have mentored and tutored on a one-on-one basis via private tuitions and coaching at different points in time.
To delve into the matter further, I asked a few teaching professionals and education management experts about their experience of education management and teaching. What makes a good teacher and the rewards and challenges associated with the profession.
Mrs Nazish Hassan, secondary in charge at a reputed O-Level school, says that a good teacher touches the hearts of students and as such is well prepared and able to answer student queries any time during a class. “A teacher should be able to engage the whole class in worthwhile discussion and should have the ability for meaningful class interaction.” This in fact is the first quality she looks for when hiring teachers.
She also insists that teachers should not be sarcastic in their approach towards the students while devotion towards their duties and displaying a sense of responsibility are of utmost importance. She says that since teachers play an important role in the development of an individual, this profession should not be taken lightly by the entrants, neither should it be considered a source of making money. She is of the opinion that the senior teachers should come forward and groom the new entrants as they are adept at their jobs. Regardless of this, she feels that nowadays both the teachers and students lack focus and have distractions like the mobile phones that keep them occupied even on the campus.
Teaching is a profession that requires continuous involvement and is exhaustive and demanding at the same time. We all remember teachers from various stages of our education who have made an impact in our lives. “They engaged us, without any visible effort, in the learning process, making it rewarding and interesting at the same time … teachers have the unique opportunity of touching the lives of their students, shaping their personalities, developing them into thinking individuals, influencing their choice of profession and shaping their future goals and aspirations,” she says.
The teaching profession is noble but is considered to be the last choice by the educated youth especially men in our society. One reason for this is the attitude of the society towards individuals engaged in this profession. In a country where education is accorded least priority and literacy rates are abysmally low, this attitude is not surprising.
Ms Sadia Raza who teaches Business Administration at a university feels that in order to improve the standard of education, experience should be made mandatory for individuals aspiring to join the profession at the university level. She says she herself possesses vast banking experience and occasionally quotes examples from her experience so that her students don’t have to solely rely on information provided in the textbooks. “A teacher’s knowledge is the means to gaining respect from her/his students and students should also be respected in return,” she asserts. She remarks that a good teacher should be a role model for students and be able to inspire and motivate them to the highest degree.
As regards research conducted by university teachers, she says that Pakistan ranks very low according to any standard. “We hardly come across good quality textbooks written by Pakistani academicians and researchers. A few good institutes that have resources provide in-house training to their teachers; otherwise a majority of the teachers are untrained in Pakistan,” she points out.
To ensure a bright future for this profession and hence for our future generations, teaching should be brought at par with other professions both monetarily and otherwise. It should come to be known as a rewarding profession so that hardworking, dedicated and high achieving professionals from other professions as well as the youth should aspire to join it.
It is really sad that society does not extend the kind of respect to teaching professionals that they deserve although many of them work tirelessly, taking on immense workloads despite below-average pay scales to groom our future generations who will eventually assume responsible roles in various sectors.
The writer is a freelance journalist and a former teacher.