On Teaching

Someone once said, “A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others.” In light of this idea, my view of teaching is that it is a noble and high calling that requires sacrifice to be successful. A reputable teacher will usually have certain attributes: a natural bend toward communicating ideas, a personal commitment to professional development, and a desire to bring about positive results in students.

My reasons for pursuing a career as a teacher are both internal and external. As an individual, I have always been one to value understanding and the sharing of it with others. In school I found myself helping fellow classmates if I caught on quickly enough and had the ability. I tend to seek multiple points of view and feel that oftentimes the perspective of the outsider can bring new and interesting ways of understanding situations, in much the same way that taking a step back from a problem can help, and for that reason it holds value. Externally, when I look at the divorce rate, prevalence of single parent homes, and how our culture portrays men in the media I see a gaping hole left by the lack of positive male role models and it is my goal to try to stand squarely in the gap.

A teacher should be one who is constantly learning because naturally, “One cannot continue to lead others upward unless he or she continues climbing.” A teacher should always stay informed of new developments in instruction while not abolishing old truths. The field of technology is currently on an ever expansive inroad into modern education. Teachers need continued familiarity with technology to be able to integrate it into their classrooms. Even conventional methods are changing; value and emphasis are being placed more on group-based, social, organic learning models that are centered on experience rather than simply lecture. Teachers should have a substantial framework of instructional methods to incorporate into their lesson plans; this is so that students can benefit from visual aids, hands-on instruction, and varied forms of teaching to best suit their learning style.

Every teacher should have an objective, based on assessment, for the results that they want to achieve and the ideals and knowledge that they will leave with their students. One of the strongest lessons to leave with students is not to be afraid of being wrong. Strive for being right, but don’t be afraid to be wrong, because if you are wrong and afraid to admit it, then you may not learn how to be right. It was Plato who said, “Never discourage anyone…who continually makes progress, no matter how slow. Bringing one’s wrongs to light so that they may be corrected is great progress.  If a teacher can instill this in their students, then that teacher will have a more accurate idea of how effective the child’s education is, and the students will learn how to become scholars. Teachers should infuse in students an innate motivation toward learning. Horace Mann said, “A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron.” If a teacher can motivate and inspire students then the students will be successful.

In conclusion, there are many marks of a good teacher, some of which are being a good communicator, striving toward professional development, and infusing students with a hunger for knowledge. These principles are my personal ambitions in the undertaking of becoming a professional educator.

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