I was told in my earlier years that a teacher is one who imparts knowledge. If that definition is accurate, then all of us as human beings qualify as teachers. In fact, we all impart knowledge at one point or another in our lives. However, a professional teacher is one who is trained and assigned the job to impart knowledge in exchange for an income (my definition). I believe anyone who has chosen the profession to teach has an outstanding responsibility, regardless of the age group chosen to teach.
There are indeed certain characteristics of a teacher which make them stand out from any other profession.
A teacher has to have good character. It does not matter what subject or what age group is being taught. The teacher has to be exemplary in every way. I remember when I had orientation for my last teaching assignment. One of the instructors informed us that we are teachers 24/7. Meaning that our character never takes a vacation.
We are always required to be a good example, because we never know who is watching and noticing everything we say and do outside the classroom. Those words are so true. I have had various people greet me from time to time. They said I used to teach them, but I do not recall.
I just have to be careful that I do not say or do anything that is out of character at any time to lead any child astray. In connection with good character, a teacher has to have good manners.
The attitude do as I say and not as I do does not work well for teachers. The words have to match the actions or teaching is in vain. The students will not hear a word, or learn a thing if there is conflict with actions and words. In any case, students respond favorably to kindness and courtesy. They are likely to pattern that behavior if they see it in operation. It is therefore wise to always show good manners.
One of the most important qualities of a teacher is to ensure accuracy. One of the worst things a teacher could ever do is to pass on information that is erroneous. We really cannot unteach (yes, I know it is not a word) what we have taught. It is therefore important for teachers to indulge in extensive and intensive research prior to writing a plan and choosing the content. This part of the preparation for the lesson can become the most tedious part of teaching. However, if the teacher attempts to get the information for personal reasons as well it can be enjoyable.
A teacher is a leader in many ways. He or she has to set the example in preparing for the lesson thoroughly before attempting to impart knowledge. Students can know how much preparation is done prior to the lesson. They are not easily fooled. If the lesson is thoroughly prepared it is easier to get their participation. Patience is a virtue it has been said repeatedly. Patience is also one of the requirements to teach. Every student does not have the same capability. It is very easy to get frustrated with the students who are not focused and those who constantly distract the lesson.
In addition, it is important to take the time to help those who are struggling to understand a particular aspect of the lesson. A good teacher will not neglect the slower students in the classroom, but would rather find creative ways to help them understand the content. If anyone who is seeking to teach does not have patience they are being advised to choose another profession. A teacher has to be one who is trustworthy. The students, parents and the institution have entrusted teachers to impart knowledge. It is the teacher’s responsibility to teach with sincerity and integrity.
Every effort should be made by the teacher to ensure that the trust is not compromised in any way. This is extremely important especially in these days where students need to be protected from people whose intention is to rob them of their innocence. My calling to teach Some of my fondest childhood memories was with me playing with other children. Nothing pleased me more. We never had televisions or video games, but nothing was more thrilling than just being in each others company. We were very good at entertaining each other. We played, laughed, cried and generally had so much fun together.
We even cheated each other so that we would not lose competitions. I remember being at home without my siblings many times, because I was the youngest for a long period of time. All my older siblings were already in school. I used to hate school time, because they would all go to school and I would be left at home with the nanny. In the afternoons, the nanny and I would walk to get my older sister at school. One day, I got impatient because I thought my nanny was taking a very long time to get my sister. I was concerned that she was waiting there all alone.
I did not want her to wait too long, so I decided to go get her myself. I guess my major concern was that I really missed her company, and I longed to see her so much. While I was on my way there, I was anticipating her being as glad to see me as I would be to see her. Eventually I reached the school and I told my sister’s teacher that I was there to get her. She asked me where was my nanny. I told her she was still at home. She asked me if I came by myself I told her yes. I realized school was still in session, but my sister had to leave to accompany me back home.
I was probably around three years old so she must have been five. Of course I had no concept of time then. I however knew the route to my sister’s school quite well. I could hardly wait for her to return home, so that we could play together. I did not realize the dangers of walking on a major highway by myself at such a tender age. Now that I am an adult I shudder to think of all the things that could have happened to me. I am thankful that fate did not allow me to experience any harm. From this very tender age I had the instinct to nurture and care for children (even if they were older than me).
I had a tendency to want to be in control and to take matters in my hands, even matters I was not responsible for. This attitude had gotten me into trouble time and time again, but it was just a part of my make-up. I soon discovered that my love for children and being with children at all times would lead me into my teaching career. I just knew I had to teach. When children were not around, my imaginary world would take over. I spanked the trees and the grass when they would not pay attention, or listen to my instructions.
I would start teaching anything. I reprimanded anyone, or anything for no reason at all. I remember when my little brother did something wrong. I lectured him for hours, explaining why he should not have done that. He merely ignored me. He was convinced I had no authority to reprimand him. I think we all were convinced that I was going to be a teacher. I could hardly wait to go to college to start my preparation to become a teacher. I can honestly say that it has been, and continues to be, one of the most rewarding experiences in my entire life.