Sunday, January 23, 2011

Teaching is a gift...and a task

I am a teacher, a new one to be exact. And I just realized that there is a lot more to discover when it comes to the teaching profession.

When I was still in college, our professors in our Education courses would always tell us that teaching is an art. It is also a gift, that is developed through the years. At this point in time, I have been teaching for almost two years. I cannot say that I have fully mastered this art and this gift. All this time, I thought I have been doing well. I never imagined that it would take a student for me to realize how much gift and skill is needed to be a success inside the classroom. 

Our school has this Student Teacher program where chosen students will be replacing us for three days. All we have to do is to observe as the chosen student teacher does his or her thing. Today is the first day of that program....and having just three classes today, I managed to observe just those three classes. As I watched my student teachers handle the class, I have come to realize that for the past two years, I have been doing the same thing. I ask myself now...Do I handle my classes well? Do I always know what (and what not) to say inside the classroom? As I prepare my lesson plans and my visual aids, do I always think of what would capture the interest of the students? I never realized how tough it really is to just handle the class. 

It's more than that.

It is also about making practically everything relevant to them, always interesting, always fun. However, its not always the case. Inside the classroom, students are varied in interest and learning styles. At times, it would be very difficult to cater to all of them. This is where the 'art' of teaching comes into the picture: how can the teacher manage to cater to the varied interests of the students in his or her class. This 'art' is again not something one can learn overtime. It is largely based on the teacher's varied experiences inside the classroom. To enrich this experience, the teacher should not only deliver the lesson, but he must know his students really well. It's not always about mastery of the subject matter...books can provide that. However, mastery of the students cannot be known by merely reading books; it can be learned really well by getting to know the students from their family background down to their strengths and weaknesses. 

Teaching is not merely a battle of cognition. It is also a matter of how this cognition that is shared to them can make a huge difference in their lives. Learning is not merely about good grades. It is about getting better grades outside of the classroom - how they apply it to their own experiences. A teacher is not just tasked to talk about pure academics in class. He is in charge of the life of the students inside the classroom. A single word can either make or break a student. A teacher is not only mentally competent and mature, but also spiritually and emotionally mature as well. Teaching is an art, and every student a teacher encounters is a canvas waiting to be enhanced through his years of schooling. And no one can paint that canvas very well except the teacher.

Let GO and let GOD! :)

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