- August 15th, 2012 by Shalini Nambiar | Posted in General, life, My Classroom Experiences, Teachers   3 Comments »
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Teacher affects eternity… I really wish the teachers realize it. Over the last few months newspapers have been screaming about the atrocities conducted by the teacher… It is indeed a shame and being a true teacher my heart pains that why do such people take up this profession? Why? Why they want to spoil an innocent child’s life? How can some teachers scream at children, humiliate them? Can’t they feel the labor pain which a mom goes through?  Can’t they realize how an innocent parent trusts her with their child’s whole life? Why she does not realize that as a teacher she plays an important role in setting the attitude and behavior which when the child grows up will display? Why?

I get this sick feeling many times to give up this profession which is so close to my heart as sometimes I am unable to change people …I mean teacher s. My heart pains and I spend sleepless nights as to how a teacher can hurt a child……Why can’t they just make their classes interesting? Why can’t they just think from a child’s point of view ?… Why are they always blaming a child for their failure?

Please do evaluate yourself as it is not a 0800am to 02000pm  job as many of you perceive… A teacher can make or break a person’s whole life so tread on this profession only if you really have a burning desire to be… otherwise why not take up a corporate job.

I still recall with tremors down my spine when I recall my Hindi teacher .Just because I could never write the spelling of the word ‘Kyonki’… I was humiliated and a life ling certificate given to me and my parents that just because I cannot spell the word I will never be able to do anything in life …I almost felt at that time that I am a burden on this earth… If only the teacher had realized that spelling of a word is not alone to decide a child’s future. I suffered from low self esteem for long.

And then I also have wonderful memories of the English teacher who while teaching the poem, ‘Daffodils’ would make us  feel as if we were actually in that wonderful  garden full of Daffodils.

Teachers forget and many times want to teach the same way as they were taught… They forget they are dealing with a child who is much ahead of her, much intelligent than her and she needs to change her approach to teaching . I often come across people who believe that by raising their voice they can discipline a class… whew… The only thing you will achieve is ‘Laryngitis’… Do not waste your energy… at least think why the need for shouting… maybe you are too boring so the children are not attentive. Think how you feel and what you go through when you have to sit for a boring conference?

‘Why am I boring?’ I planned my lesson well? Well sweetheart was your planning based on what will the child like or was it based on what you think the child should know? These are two different things and a great teacher should be able to distinguish…

The other day I was sitting with a teacher as to how would she teach the chapter on ‘Measurements’. My idea will be that the child while studying that chapter must know the measurements of a basket ball court, a length of a guitar wire, length of the cricket pitch. When a child can relate the chapter to the things around him or her they take more interest.

It is a fact that all of us study science till Grade X and at least 60% people still do not know how to read a mercury thermometer..What a shame?  Of course the scientists realized this and came up with a digital thermometer… lol

We all studied math / economics etc etc… Big fat books but still do not know how to make a budget for our homes…

I strongly believe that Teachers are born and cannot be made so maybe the government needs all those qualifications for you to become a teacher and there are big write-ups and what makes a great teacher but what I feel are the simple things which a teacher must possess… Like humor, connecting with the child, reaching out to that lone child.

While interviewing teachers… I find many of them come loaded with teaching aids..Whew they forget the best asset that a teacher can use is her eyes and hands. A good teacher must read, be enthusiastic. Sadly, I’ve been in too many interviews where prospective teachers don’t act like they even like students. They are more interested in their content than in the actual teaching of it. Be enthusiastic and energetic. Remember, teaching is all about helping students learn and grow. This should be your focus.

Once you get a job, remember that your first years are a rehearsal for the rest of your career. Develop good curricular habits; be cautious but don’t automatically shy away from controversy. Don’t be a technician. Create your own curriculum. I think a lot of people, when they begin teaching, start following or trying to find other people’s curriculum. Be a creator, not just an instruction-follower. This is not to say that you can’t use other people’s lessons – there’s a lot of good material out there – but see yourself as a producer of curriculum, not just a consumer.

While surfing the net I came across this interesting piece… Professor Excellent and Professor Good both work in the same psychology department at a medium-sized state university. In fact, they were hired the same year and are now in their third year as assistant professors. Dr. Excellent and Dr. Good teach similarly sized sections of introductory psychology and upper-division courses in their specialty areas. Their trajectories for tenure and promotion look promising — they both have productive labs generating top-notch articles and conference presentations, and their services to the department, college, and the discipline are exemplary.

Upon closer inspection though, there is one important difference between Dr Excellent and Dr. Good: Despite similarities in their course grade distributions, Dr. Excellent’s teaching is more impactful on students than Dr. Good’s teaching. Dr. Good is not an incompetent teacher — quite the contrary. Her teaching evaluations are above average, and students comment that they have learned much from her classes and enjoy her teaching. Dr. Excellent’s students, too, rate her above average — much above average, and rave about what they have learned in her classes and how much they have enjoyed them. The written portions of Dr. Excellent’s teaching evaluations are telling. Many students note that Dr. Excellent has inspired them to study harder than ever before, helped them to become interested — really interested — in learning for the first time in their lives and instilled confidence in them as learners. In just the past year, three students have dropped by Dr. Excellent’s office to tell her that, because of their experience in her introductory psychology course, they are changing their majors to psychology. One of these students said to her, “Dr. Excellent, I want you to know how much you have changed my life. I will never be the same again. I now have a clear idea of what I want to do, and the confidence that I can do it.”

On the one hand, we all know teachers like Dr. Good. They represent our discipline honorably and teach its basic theories, principles, and applications well. On the other hand, we might know only one or two teachers like Dr. Excellent. Exceptional teachers are rare. Like Dr. Good, these extraordinary teachers convey to students the nuts and bolts of the discipline, but they also do something much more: They somehow make a difference in students’ lives: They inspire.

A Good teacher must realize that she can make a difference if she lets her students become lifelong learners It is just not just giving them skills and strategies for learning, but, more important, giving them the confidence and motivation for life-long learning.

I recently asked a group of parents.  Have you ever had a college or university teacher or teachers whom you felt made a genuine difference in your life in some way?” The good news is that 50% indicated that they had at least one college teacher who they felt had made a difference in their lives. The bad news is that, a sizeable number had not yet met such a teacher.

I followed up by asking “What did this teacher(s) do to make a difference?” They shared that their most impactful teachers had taken a personal interest in them and helped them develop personal insights about how the subject matter was relevant to their lives. Almost, as many indicated that their teacher(s) had provided encouragement in their work, which gave them confidence that they could succeed in the class and in college. Coming in a close third the teacher’s passion for the subject matter and showing a genuine concern for student learning. The topmost was that some of their teachers inspired them to learn outside of the class.

To summarize, teachers who make a difference really do facilitate a significant personal transformation in the lives of their students.

As the saying goes, it takes two to tango. To make a difference, teachers must be willing and able to create a conducive, social environment for learning and students have to be open to the experience of learning in this environment. The question is, of course, how to get this dance started in the first place and then how to keep it going.

In his 1999 presidential address to the Society for the Teaching of Psychology, Neil Lutsky offered a possible answer. He noted that “success in teaching depends mainly on capturing and organizing students’ attention.”

Making a difference is not about what we teach. Rather, it is about how we teach. Although instructors devote untold hours to preparing lectures and classroom activities focused squarely on the subject matter, in the end making a difference in students’ lives appears to have little to do with course content per se. What matters more, at least from a general student perspective, is that teachers create a supportive and caring classroom atmosphere in which they can inspire their students to become more confident, motivated, and effective life-long learners while conquering the subject matter. It is essential for teachers not only to consider how students will benefit intellectually from coursework, but also how students will benefit personally and emotionally from it.

With the Teachers day round the corner I dedicate this article to each and every teacher who has been able to make a difference in a child’s life..Children only recall the very good and the very bad teacher so rise and shine ….stop being an average teacher whose only job is to complete the curriculum. There are the other skills which are so very important to teach

All the best!!!!

Shalini Nambiar
Excelsior American School.

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August 15 2012 01:49 pm | General and life and My Classroom Experiences and Teachers


  1. Anupama Bakhshi Says:

    If we as facilitators could even attempt to imbibe your philosophy, we could stake a claim at being the architects of tomorrow!Reading this article has been a very humbling experience…having had the privilege of being , almost, at the helm of the potter’s wheel, molding ‘tomorrow’,we dare not forget the message you have put across so nicely. The message should be our Moses….

  2. S T Manikandan Says:

    In the past, top talented people opted for teaching, whereas now top talented are chasing high end carrers. Given the availability average skilled persons for teaching, what strategy can we workout to make them inspiring teachers? Kindly share your insights and experiences.

  3. Neha Arora Says:

    Teaching..perhaps is not an easy task..after reading thru this article ..and talking to kids i realized…. coming down to their level is very difficult..we all know so much as mature human beings but when it comes to teaching we fall short of words to explain our own kids.I always feel that teachers /Mothers should come down to their level to make them understand or else they will have the same bookish knowledge as we have.

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