Education no longer lies near the bottom of our expense list. It is fast becoming one of the priority expenses, as the costs have drastically risen over the years. So what is expected of the teacher?
“Old school thinking” still dominates the Education environment, especially at schools in SA. I have taught at both private and currently teach at a traditional boy’s school, and the underlying issue remains the same.
“I am the teacher, you are the learner, and I must tell you what to do, how to do it and when to do it.”
I have been thinking about the role of a teacher for a while now, and have recently been discussing this with all of my classes. The problem is that for many years “learners” have been so used to the fact that the teacher is always in control of the learning process, that they are only capable of working if a teacher forces them, or if there is an element of fear involved. (Detention, phoning parents, etc.)
However, when they leave school, this will not happen. No-one forces you to go to lectures, drive according to the speed limit, wake up for work, be courteous, work hard, study, be positive, etc.
THIS REQUIRES SELF DISCIPLINE!
So what is the role of a teacher?
I believe it is vital that we teach our pupils the skills they require to thrive when they leave school. If we do otherwise, we create an environment that is not real, and does not teach them anything about life. Motivation needs to come from within a person, and should not be reliant on other people. The ball is solely in “YOUR” court, and once you can take responsibility for that ball, everything you do will be done to the best of your ability.
As a teacher, I am responsible for facilitating their learning process, creating an environment that encourages learners to take risks, take responsibility, and realise that it is THEIR work, THEIR marks and THEIR future. I am there to encourage them, motivate them to believe in themselves, and hopefully allow them to experience failure, but to learn from it and grow as individuals. I do NOT write their exams, and therefore I should not force them to work, but allow them to at least try taking responsibility.
Yes, it takes time for them to learn this, but the earlier they do the better.