Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Is Teaching Easy?

There is a misconception about teaching in our society that it is a very easy job. Everyone can be a teacher. If one fails in other professions, s/he finally chooses to join the teaching. In contrast, a common theory of teaching states that it is a kind of art and a teacher is an artist. Only those who have flair in teaching can perform this duty successfully. In reality, it is challenging.

I always remember an incident that justifies how challenging the teaching is. I was in a selection panel to interview a primary school teacher. The interviewee completed her schooling from a private school. Obviously she had a good command over English. The panel asked her to demonstrate how she would teach the 'present continuous tense.' She only discussed about the rules/structures and could not state it clearly that in which situations the particular tense is used. Furthermore, we asked her to differentiate between the 'simple present tense' and the 'present continuous tense' so that her students could use them appropriately. The poor girl could not demonstrate it; instead she blushed.

There was no doubt that she knew how to use those tenses appropriately. However, to know something is one thing and to make others know that is another. In our lifetime we learn many things, we internalize many things and of course we know many things, but can we express all the things that we have learned or we have known? Here lies the genuine challenge for teachers. They must know something for themselves and then they must make students know the same thing using whatever techniques they can. Another aspect, teachers have to always deal with humans who are full of diverse emotions and moods. They are not like lifeless machines. They are constant, but changeable every time. Therefore, a teacher must know students' moods and act accordingly.

Only acquiring the internal qualities is not enough for a teacher. Externally also s/he must have an impressive personality, confident appearance and a good sense of dressing up, otherwise one can easily fall into a big trouble. Once we were on practice teaching, a requirement to complete a B.Ed. level. We had a friend who was competent in subject matter, but when she would enter the classroom with her wobbly personality, she used to lose her confidence. The clever students could see that immediately and they used to create problems for her.

If one honestly chooses to be a teacher, they accept a challenge too. A teacher has to play different roles simultaneously except for the teacher's  - like the role of a parent, a psychologist, a motivator, an artist, an educationist, a mind-reader and a relationship expert. To satisfy every student is in fact tricky in a true sense.

Published in an English Daily The Kathmandu Post on Wednesday, July 12, 2006)

[The pictures on this blog are posted here with permission from their owners or have been gathered from various sources on the Internet. If you are the copyright-holder to any of the photographs herein do not hesitate to contact me. They will be swiftly removed if desired so.] 

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I would appreciate any and all suggestions on making improvements (as long as they are viable).