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There are two points on this issue worth noting:
- In the case of a tough class, a good teacher who knows their stuff isn’t necessarily what the class needs
- In the future when technology takes over education, being simply a good teacher may not be enough.
The first issue is really something you can learn. Teaching is more than just knowing your stuff, it is also about being able to manage your class so everyone gains something and gets what they need without the disruption of the ones who want to simply dominate and get attention.
Some students may even categorise their teachers in to whether the teacher can manage the class or not, the mere fact that they may know or not know their stuff is of less importance to them, it’s more about if the difficult students get going, can the teacher stand up to them. This has been seen very much amongst children, but adult classes apparently aren’t that much different. They like to see the teacher be strong, but the difference is that when they see another student make life difficult for the teacher, they are more likely to feel embarrassed and want to deal with the student also afterwards.
So learning management skills though vital for a teacher, can take time and there is no accounting for experience. Every case may seem different but if you have a great team of teachers at your school, your experiences will be nothing new and they are bound to have great handy hints to help you and support you.
The second notion of all good teachers disappearing as technology will take over, is sadly a fact in the making. As we see what technology did for taxi drivers, hotels, newspapers and cameras, so too will it do the same to teaching/education. As technology becomes increasingly sophisticated and the budget of the average student diminishes, the expertise of the good teacher is not going to be enough to compensate for the onslaught of the educational programs that will teach in a way we could never imagine. However, for those who are already good at teaching, there is still hope. What you need to do is to become great. The question to ask is what is the difference between a good teacher and a great teacher.
Good teachers tend to:
- Know their subject well
- Are approachable and reliable
- Manage to teach most students in the class to pass their exam or complete their assignments well
- Can articulate what they mean easily to the class
- Are always willing to learn more if necessary
This sounds like a lot of you out there. I can see why you wonder why you won’t be valuable to a school, how could a computer take over these precious qualities. Very easily.
Therefore, what do great teachers do?
Great teachers tend to:
- Know the subject well and some!
- Are not only approachable but are willing to approach you in a personal yet professional manner that makes you feel valuable to the class and to their learning as a teacher also
- Takes their students on a creative learning journey to thoughts and ideas that they may have never considered before, allowing them to become enriched by the world they are engaging in and pass their exams and assignments with ingenuity and clarity of understanding, they never thought possible.
- Let the learning process become a two-way creative endeavor where all can learn from each other seamlessly
- Sees teaching as just as much a learning process for themselves as well as for those of evolving through experience before them.
Flowery emotive language you may say – but the difference is exactly that. The computer will not be able to offer that on the spot human touch, the element of spontaneity or the individual process of unexpected discovery that only humans can explore. A great teacher is truly hard to find, but these qualities can be developed. In most teachers, the idea of becoming even more human and creative is straight out frightening, but what is even more frightening is to see your job overtaken by a computer.
As the saying goes, ‘if a teacher can be replaced by a computer, then they should be. If a teacher can’t be replaced by a computer, then they won’t’.
Be that person who can’t be replaced, by simply being yourself in the classroom and making every effort you can to find your passion and courage to be different and most of all be you. Of all things ‘you’ are not replaceable by a computer.