Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Teacher Teacher

There used to be a time when the word ‘teacher’ used to evoke a sense of admiration, respect as well as authority. Even now, it brings to mind the same emotions, but the trouble is that you don’t find someone worthy enough to call a ‘teacher’. On this teachers’ day, I pay a tribute to some of the wonderful people, who have entertained me during the three years of my engineering, who at times have made life miserable for me, and who in this process, have always tried to ‘teach’. I’ll call them teacher here on, just because of the status attached with their job and not because I associate any of the above mentioned emotions with them.

I will be doing great injustice if I say the same things for everyone. It is only fair that I categorize my teachers before talking about them. So here goes:

1>Dedicated teachers who know their subject and how it is to be taught:
This is the rarest of the rare breeds, almost nearing extinction. Out of the 30 some teachers that I have had, barely 2 qualify in this category which explains what I mean. These teachers exemplify the archaic definition of teaching. They are the types for who teaching full of ideas rather than stuff it with facts. They are updated with trends and want their students the best in the lot. They are the ones because of whom the tradition of teaching lives on.
I Say: Thank you.

2>Dedicated teachers who know their subject but don’t know how it is to be taught:
These teachers are masters of their subject, but generally don’t know how to connect with the students. Sometimes, it is the lack of proper communication skills, at other times, lack of control over the students. They don’t make learning fun, though they are of good help when handled individually and with some background knowledge of the topic.
I Say: Not bad, but innovate and improvise.

3>Exam-oriented teachers who don’t know the subject but can teach well:
They are the ones who are your ladder to scoring more in exams. Their in-depth analysis of how to score well in papers supersedes the need of in-depth knowledge in the subjects in a university like ours. They, on most occasions, strike a chord with students and use tests and assignments as a tool of helping students prepare better for exams, rather than mere 25 marks of term work. Students sometimes prefer type 3 over type 1, for their sheer disinterest in concepts.
I Say: No one's complaining. Something’s better than nothing.

4>Teachers who don’t know anything and can’t teach:
This is the most abundant variety. For them, teaching is reading out from a text book, or may be, making notes from another senior’s book and dictating them during lectures. Their sole motive behind taking lectures is to spend time and get salaries. If students bug them, they are always ready with weapons of mass assault, like extra assignments, tantrums during submission, test and re-test, mock viva, etc. Their lectures are the most ideal lectures to bunk, unless your luck is so bad that they happen to be very particular about attendance too.
I Say: You are not welcome in class. Why even bother to teach when the students can manage themselves?

5>Teachers who know the subject, can teach but have big egos and heaps of attitude:
These are mutations in the fraternity of teachers- Masters of their subjects. They feel it is against their pride to get down to the level of their students to simplify things for them. They are the ones who care as much of students as Queen Antoinette did about her people. They expect miracles, without putting in any inputs and like making things difficult for the students, when there is always an easier and better way out.
I Say: God bless students who have to bear their brunt.

To conclude, I have compiled a potpourri of quotes by great academicians.The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. Today, however, a teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary. There’s nothing happy about teacher’s day.


Anonymous said...

lol..gud one!
wish cud give examples explicityly...our col..provides..mostly all categories in abundance!!!

Nikita said...

I culdnt agree more.I guess i've been really lucky 2 b in a skool whr most of the teachers were type 1 or 3..but now as i've entered collg...the later mentioned types fit perfectly!!!

nyda said...

Personally , I have studied in lot of differnt countries and lot of different schools from Oxford to Our Own to Sir Winston Churchill - my current school. And from my experience I think this whole teacher business has gotta do with age and their cultural morals and backgrounds.
When I used to study in India[just for a year],I had SOME teachers who were as illiterate as the damm peon in the school, the only reason they were there was because they were relatives or family friends of the principal/vice -princi/owner/mayor/minister and so on. Clearly cultural influence on the whole system ! Hence they directly fit into the Category 4!

In Dubai, it was almost the same yet not the same. As in sure you would get prioirity if you belonged to the same state or religion as the /principal, but however they required you to have a certain amount of knowledge on the subject you wished to teach. From my our own experience , I would say most fit into the Category 2 & 3.

Then my current last 3 years experience has been in Canada, where I have met teachers that are beyond comparison and description. Not trying to make other countries look bad, but seriously almost 90% of my teachers are well educated with total insight of a student's life.Most of them not only attempt but succed in putting themselves in our shoes and thinking how it would feel and how we would like a particular topic to be teached. Again I would say this is a cultural and modernization influence. They have been through the best and worst and are attempting to make the world a better place not only for ADULTS but also MINORS aka US by giving us the respect and love we deserve.
Hence I would say, the do not fit into any categories, maybe try good thoughtful human beings?

I agree, it would also be unfair to evaluate all teachers as a group or according to their cultures. Cuase you and I , we both know we have met some wonderful teachers in DUbai and as well as in India who have touched our lives as whole.

Whispering Shadow said...

Yeah Nidz, i completely agree..thr hv bn teacher's who hv touched our lives, n for me, i tag thm as mentors than hence, they're nt on the list.