The purpose of education, they say, is to replace an empty mind with an open one.
What then is the role of the teacher here?
This article is about what I think makes a teacher exceptional.
Some perceive the teacher to be a potter and the student to be the clay. The teacher in this instance moulds the child into a pre-conceived notion of what an adult should be.But for me, a teacher should be like a gardener, tending to the student’s needs so that the child may blossom into what he is best designed to become. After all, a teacher’s purpose is not to create students in her own image but to motivate the students to find their own image.
We do not need more automatons in this world. Enough of that! We need inspired young minds willing to work hard in their chosen field, striving for the betterment of the world.
William Arthur Ward, the famous author and educator, said “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” Indeed, inspiring a child is no mean thing. It involves getting to know the child better; to know what drives him or her, what motivates them, what their goals are.
Inspiration is about bringing about a change in the thinking pattern. A teacher should not be a mere bundle of information, but be an inspiration, moving the child so that he does not view learning to be a tiresome chore. Instead, a better teacher makes learning a fun and worthy occupation, something that leaves an indelible impression on the child.
A teacher holds the child’s future in her hands. What she says to her student, what she does in the presence of her student- all these influence the susceptible mind of a young child. The more time one spends with the child, the more he starts imitating one’s views and opinions. Thus, the challenge here is how to put the child in touch with his own individuality and creativity.
By providing the opportunity for open discussions and an avenue to express one’s own opinions, a teacher can lead the child on a quest to find himself. Moreover, it will teach the child to appreciate others and their views on life in general. As stated above, education is about leading one to have an open mind and the only path towards opening one’s mind is to learn more about others who are socially, emotionally and economically different from one and to accept them for who they are.
A teacher should grow with the child; be open to their innocence, kind to their curiosity,receptive to their ideas. One should not constrain the child to a narrow point of view but expand his horizons so that he sees beyond the obvious to the extraordinary.
The child does not need a cynic, but a believer. He needs to believe in good deeds, in courtesy and hospitality, in respecting the elders, in saving the world one good word at a time, one good deed a day.
A teacher should teach the child the value of dreams. To some, dreams may be a waste of time but for me, dreams are where reality opens its eyes to the extraordinary possibilities of imagination. Every child has a very vivid imagination. To curb it would be to curb his resourcefulness, to curb his sense of being.
One can learn a lot from a child. One can learn from his honesty, from his unconditional love and his unwavering trust.
Education should be a two-way path, a give and take. Both the child and his teacher should learn from each other, grow together, find themselves in each other, and become an inspiration to others.
Only thus will this world become a better place, a world worth living in.
Simi Sara Thomas
*This piece has been selected as a Winning Entry for the ‘Viewspaper Express Yourself Writing Competition’*