India has produced several great teachers such as Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Savitribai Phule, Chanakya, Madan Mohan Malaviya, Rabindra Nath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Gautam Buddha, and Swami Dayanand Saraswati. Do you think any of them were born great teachers? Has there been any human being who was born great?
Srinivasa Ramanujan was not a great mathematician at birth. Sachin Tendulkar was not a great cricketer at birth. Amitabh Bachchan was not a great actor at birth. The fact is that no one is ever born great.
People achieve greatness over a period of time by mastering all aspects of their profession in complete depth. They work hard to develop the required competencies. At birth, everyone has the same potential to achieve greatness.
Great teachers are not born. And, every teacher has the same potential to become a great teacher.
Pedagogy is a competency that can be developed by:
practicing behavior, and
Great teachers must necessarily possess in-depth knowledge of their subject and various ways of teaching the subject. But this is not sufficient to achieve greatness. They must have additional knowledge to understand their students. For example, they must know about the role of brain in learning, the impact of students’ context and environment on their learning, and the various means by which they can ignite students’ motivation and interests to engage in learning.
Teachers require the skills to manage themselves, the curriculum, the students, the learning environment, and the process of learning to become great teachers. Teachers who lack these skills often complain about time crunch, students’ behavior, curriculum, or policies to defend their incompetence. Teachers who possess the required skills can easily work within the system to create amazing success stories.
A great teacher exhibits high levels of patience and empathy. Their behavior reflects the highest standards of moral and ethical conduct. Great teachers never compromise on professional or personal integrity. All these behavioral traits need to be developed through practice to achieve greatness. It may not be easy, but it needs to be done, and it can be done by practicing mindfulness.
Teachers need to create and nurture the right attitude towards learning, knowledge, and learners. Your attitude has a very strong and direct impact on your students’ attitude. Teachers who are not enthusiastic and energetic about teaching their subject will witness lethargy in students too. You need to aspire for excellence and inspire your students to do the same.
Do you think you have it in you to become a great teacher? Share with me and other readers how you plan to achieve it?
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