How can a teacher make a mark?

As the country celebrates Teachers’ Day, this month, Dr Harleen Kaur shares with teachers across the country proven tips to help them make
a mark, drawn from her long years of teaching experience.

Group of teachers walking down school corridor

I have been a teacher for many years; though I do not consider myself to be a very good teacher. But I know one thing for certain: the majority of my students do love me, and many of them, particularly the earlier ones, get connected with me through Facebook or via phone. Even the children I did not take classes for were happy when I went to their class in place of other teachers who were absent.

This prompted me to think about some of the important characteristics of a good teacher and, as a school head now, about the qualities that I look for in my teachers. I believe, if a teacher possesses the following qualities, he/she can be a very good teacher with a large fan following, as well.

1. A good personality and good dressing style

A good teacher must have a very pleasing personality. Students are attracted to teachers with a good personality which leads to better communication, understanding, and ultimately good results. All of us can have a good, decent, likable, and presentable personality. Just dress sensibly, smell good, and be gentle, that’s all.

Our dress influences our students, as well. Without doubt, teachers are role models for their students, so when teachers dress professionally it sends out an important message to them. We teach our students not only academic subjects, but also about how an adult professional looks and behaves. By dressing professionally, we are giving them an implicit message about how we see ourselves and our task. The more professionally we dress, the more we tell our students that they are important. They say we ought to “dress for success,” but the success that we dress for is that of our students. I believe in the following maxim: Dress shabbily, students will remember the clothes. Dress impeccably, students will remember the teacher!

2. Deeper your knowledge, better the education you impart

Another important characteristic of a good teacher is his/her in-depth knowledge of the subject he/she teaches. There is a saying that ‘a teacher is only as good as his knowledge is’. After all, he/she is doing a teacher’s job, which is to teach. If a teacher lacks knowledge of the subject he/she teaches, he/she is never going to make a name for himself/herself as a good teacher. This is your moral duty, too.

An important characteristic of a good teacher is that he/she is firm while in class, but amicable, congenial and approachable outside the class. Some students think of their teachers as enemies, but if a teacher has the above qualities, students will love to talk to them, and share their problems with them without any hesitation.

3. Amicable, congenial and approachable

Yet another very important characteristic of a good teacher is that he/she is firm while in class, but amicable, congenial and approachable outside the class. Some students think of their teachers as enemies, but if a teacher has the above qualities, students will love to talk to them, and share their problems with them without any hesitation. This does not mean that you become too personal with your students, as it can lead to conflict of interest. Being too open can lead you to losing credibility. If you are too friendly, and students start inviting you to movies, parties, etc., you had better take a step back and get into juggernaut mode for a while.

Being friendly has served me well for years. I have been friendly and consistent outside, but a real juggernaut in the class. This is by far the most difficult path to walk on, but I have always loved it. Being friendly is like playing basketball with them or going for an arrangement class and talking to them about their likes, dislikes, etc. This not only helps them open up, but they also develop good conversational skills, while discipline is managed and energies get channelized.

4. A good communicator and a good listener

A valuable asset of a good teacher is his/her communication skills. A teacher should be a good communicator. If the teacher’s communication skills are good, he/she can convey his/her lectures with better results. People love to hear a person who can communicate well.

A good teacher should be a good listener, too. A Turkish proverb says: “If speaking is silver; then listening is gold!” A good listener will always have many friends and fans. People do not want to hear you all the time; they need those who can listen to them, as well.

5. A great sense of humour

A good teacher should also have a great sense of humour. It is a fact that one mostly teaches the next generation and as they are younger than the teacher, they expect to have more fun in class. So, a good teacher is one who can keep up his/her sense of humour, and with his/her communication skills and pleasing personality, also can maintain discipline in the class.

If a teacher is committed, it means that she/he has fallen in love with teaching. A committed teacher will always bring the best out of the last benchers and will be an asset to the institution.

6. Commitment and innovation

If a teacher is committed, it means that she/he has fallen in love with teaching. A committed teacher will always bring the best out of the last benchers and will be an asset to the institution. Apart from commitment, a good teacher should also be innovative to get the best results. The new generation of children that comes to school nowadays brings a variety of novelties with them. There are also children from all sorts of backgrounds. These children think in a completely different way.

Teachers not only should be familiar with the present-day innovations but should also have the desire to incorporate them in their teaching methods. The present-day students will be more responsive to the contemporary teacher than one who is stuck in the last millennium.

Dr Harleen Kaur

Dr Harleen Kaur

Dr Harleen Kaur is the Founder-Principal of Mount Carmel International School, Ambala, Haryana, and has many education-related articles to her credit.
Dr Harleen Kaur

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Dr Harleen Kaur

Dr Harleen Kaur is the Founder-Principal of Mount Carmel International School, Ambala, Haryana, and has many education-related articles to her credit.