So You Want To Be a Teacher

December 22, 2007 at 5:26 am Leave a comment

Learning Styles gifTeachers are salespeople! They sell their students learning everyday. There are four steps to good salesmanship: Need for a product, Need to get the product here. Need to get the product now. Need to close the sale with a sale. Needs! That what its all about. Teachers serve the needs of children. Like the salesman, the teacher must convince the pupil that he or she needs to learn and this is the place to learn it and now is the time to learn. The teacher has to encourage the pupil to learn. Only the pupil can learn. The teacher knows he has closed the “sale” when the pupil smiles the smile of satisfaction signifying an accomplishment.

Teachers are jugglers! They must be able to juggle many tasks at one time. Teachers take multitasking to new levels. Good teachers are learners and communicators. They are socially skilled and fair-minded. The teacher must take attendance (by law that’s all they have to do!) and accurately keep a daily record of it. They must supervise pupils in the classroom, coming into the classroom and in the hall outside the classroom. Teachers must maintain order and maintain acceptable noise levels (in some schools, that’s silence!). Teachers must create a transition from arrival chatter to class talk into the daily lesson. Teachers need to establish routines! (In grade school, there’s also the coatroom, lunch money, signed notes, book money, etc). Thank the good lord- I teach high school!

Teachers are believers! Teachers must have the three great virtues: faith, hope and love. Successful teachers practice the three great virtues. They have faith that students will learn if given the opportunity. They have hope in a future that will contain their students. They love learning. Teachers are enthusiastic if they believe and hope in education as a means of improving the future. Teachers who love learning can excite their students to love learning.

Teachers are scientists and artists at the same time! Teaching is a complex field in which the technical aspects of education are laced with the artistry of teaching. Teachers must plan a lesson based on proven strategies and incorporate new ideas limited only by their imagination! The artist in the teacher allows him to approach new ideas to sell students on learning what they don’t think they want to learn but really do want to learn. Confusing? Wow! Teachers are brilliant! NCLB demands that teachers have a college degree. All teachers have at least a BS degree. (We know what that is!) NLCB Qualified teachers have a MS degree. (That’s more of the same!) Some even have a Ph.D. (That’s piled high and deep!) Teachers must balance the technical aspect with the artistic. Creative approaches offer fresh perspectives to learning situations. While understanding the scientific aspect of learning (e.g. cognitive learning styles, learning disabilities and their identification, computer skills, etc), teachers use artistic skills to create learning situations. Now that is BS!

Teachers are actors! The classroom is their stage. There are teachers who love to be the center of attention while others are the directors behind the scenes. Each teacher injects his or her personality into the learning environment. It is a part of the implicit curriculum. All teachers are producers. The production is designed to create that ideal learning environment. The interaction between teacher and student is the opportunity for learning. Teachers can then step to the next level of learning by letting student to student interaction. Interactions are always happening. Teachers have to control these and turn them into learning opportuni.

Above all teachers are human! They have emotions. They make mistakes. They cry and laugh. They get distracted. They carry home problems with them. They are vulnerable. Good teachers have to control the human side of their life. They have to allow pupils a chance to glimpse the human in the teacher only as a learning opportunity. Teachers need that human side but it has to be protected by a suit of armor (tough skin). Teachers are close by and easily targeted for pupils to vent. Home issues, friend issues, health issues, any issues for that manner are triggers that explode in the classroom. Sad to say the attack on the teacher from frustrated or angry children is expected while the attack by parents, communities, politicians, or media is indicative of lack of support. Suit up- it is a daily battle in the war on ignorance.

The demand from the political arena is that only the “best in a field” should become teachers. Each reader (that’s you!) has had the experience of schooling. Many extremely intelligent educators have been the poorest teachers. Intelligence is definitely an asset to quality teaching but it is not the essential ingredient. The most effective teachers are those that can clearly communicate the joy of learning in a managed learning environment. Teachers must have a true love of learning. It is the essence of education. Teaching is a social skill that communicates abstract ideas and concepts. A teacher must motivate their students by exciting the basic human desire to learn. Teachers are able to accomplish this by managing the environment in which this occurs. Intelligence does not always support these vital teacher traits. Communication, good management and learning require patience. Good teachers, like successful physicians, have lots of patience.

Teaching is a social interaction. Good teachers need to be developed socially. Social skills are vital to the learning process. Teachers need to develop student social skills in order to accomplish the goals of their learning plan. Fair-minded teachers who are able to practice positive social skills will be able to communicate their learning plan to the student. Fairness is the quality most often identified in good teachers.

Teaching is a field filled with frustration. Teachers need to be willing to try new approaches. Some techniques work and others are dismal failures. When methods fail, the teacher must shrug it off and try again. Failure provides a path to success. Education may be measured in test scores today; but the ability of a student to love learning will be the measure of the future. Teachers are human with a strong belief that what they are doing today will benefit the world tomorrow.

There are many good and great teachers in the classroom. This is the first in a series of articles dealing with the technical and artistic aspects of good teaching.

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Entry filed under: Teachers.

The School: Part 6 Influences The Roles of the Teacher

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