If you are an English Teacher…

IF you are a teacher,……….?

Govinda Raj Bhattarai, Ph.D.
Professor of English, Tribhuvan University

A man should first direct himself in the way he should go. Only then should he instruct others, says Lord Buddha, considering the duty of a teacher. This is an age-old dictum, yet its value has never faded away, nor will it be so even in the distant future. Actually, a teacher practices examples, he should shun away from preaching only. His character and nobility, his personality and perseverance count thousand times, valuable than his degrees and diplomas.  A teacher instills humane values in the learners, not merely does he teach the students the tricks of life, and he teaches them its mystery and beauty as well.

In modern sense, he becomes a facilitator pointing always at the ideal path—without enforcing, without coercing he should direct them, he doesn’t rule their mind, instead, wins thousand hearts.  Psychologically, he attracts the learners towards a world of harmony, patience, love, courage and achievement. See, how the words of Galileo echo until today: You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself.Therefore, let our students find the unending treasure  of mystery and possibility lying within themselves, let us help them eschew away from sheer automata and mechanical repetitiveness because creativity has no repetition. The teacher will be truly a facilitator in modern sense.

All eternal messages are inscribed long ago. They echo in the ether time and again. A true teacher should listen to these words. Let us listen to Horace Mann: A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron. Let us stop and think, are we hammering on cold iron or are we stroking the budding flowers that may bear infinite color and smell and touch and feel?

If You and English Teacher

Prof. Gobinda Bhattarai, Professor of English, Tribhuvan University

Teaching is greatest of jobs on earth, a happiest moment to spend; only a luckiest person can internalize these values and thank God for appointing him or her for the noble task of being a teacher. It is the only moment when someone is face to face with innumerable souls with divergent interests and capacity, inclination, and probability. To live with these thriving souls, to talk with them and watch them grow every moment is a mystery, and a great joy.

A true teacher is a sage—performing humblest of duties on earth—of shaping innumerable souls in the mould of humanity, not in the format of an engineer, a doctor, a professor, a business person, a lawyer, or an administrator.

One should first of all learn these immortal values before being a teacher. It they fail to do so, they will justify Wilde’s saying: Everybody who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching. Are we also incapable of learning?

Of course, if we fail to understand the mystery of teaching, the glory of being a teacher and the beauty underlying it, we fail to learn, we are incapable of learning.  A true teacher should never fail to learn.

3 thoughts on “If you are an English Teacher…

  1. Bubbles are bound to break….

    Be it students or administrators, everyone used to praise me for engaging learners satisfactorily in the class; and I was very self-motivated. In fact, I was started imagining myself to be one of the best teachers in the world. Was I a snob?

    Well, I have been teaching English as Foreign Language at reputed schools and colleges in Nepal for more than five years. Besides having degrees, I possess dozens of ELT workshops certificates.

    Whichever class I go to, learners see me off with broad smiles. Not only they produced what I asked in class but also did every assignment promptly. So I used to feel proud and maintain my learner-friendly status.

    However, some time back I had gone for a month long rigorous training along with four other trainees. Besides, theoretical perspectives and language games, we were required to go to real schools along with lesson plans and materials.

    It was my first teaching practice of that training. It was also an opportune time to prove one’s worth as a teacher. The instructor and peers would observe the class so as to give feedbacks later. I was so confident that I thought I was the best teacher in the world. I entered the classroom of Grade 10, and started my lesson that had to do with grammar (direct/indirect questions).

    As a warm up, I drew some pictures for context setting, and displayed a chart. To my surprise, before I had finished half of the lesson plan, the bell rang, and it was time to wrap up. I felt so guilty that I nearly burst into tears. My ego got dismantled as fragile pane. What I realized was that I was having a vicious circle of self scorn. I was not a perfect teacher as I still had to learn hundreds of methods and countless exposures. It laid bare the threads the fabric of superiority that I had cultivated. Above all I had never thought about timing which is very important. Returning to school, my peers and instructor reflected on my strengths and weaknesses.

    I found the first was insignificant in comparison to the second. Obviously, the trainer asked for ‘Repetition’. Although very bitter, I accepted their remarks and promised to do better from another day. It was but another lesson learnt: learning and familiarisation continues all throughout life; and no one is perfect.

    1. Teaching, like learning, is a reward in itself. Several factors make it a rewarding job. Most important of all, it is a chance to work with good people. It is the chance to share a common mission: to create and share knowledge. The actual reward comes from being able to perform the pious duty of helping other fellow beings mature. Besides, teaching offers many opportunities to know people, and to multiply the number of friends and well-wishers. Each new academic session brings new acquaintances that are a source of emotional security. And it does not happen just once, but over the years. Finally, the piety of job itself entails prevention of dishonesty and perversion. In many cases, teachers act as role models – both in knowledge and conduct. They are guided by ethical needs to continuously update and polish themselves.

      Teaching involves some productive challenges. First, you can’t afford to be lazy. A simple rule in teaching is that you must continuously update yourself. If you are earnest about giving justice to your work, you must try to make every teaching a new teaching, and every year a different year. It is necessary for teachers to be smarter than students. To be smart and knowledgeable pays by building the first necessary infrastructures in teaching, mutual trust and respect between teachers and students. Second, you can’t be dishonest. Dishonesty does not go with real teaching. Dishonest persons are not only unfit in teaching, but are also rejected in any good job. Even if honesty may not pay materially, it saves one from the potential feeling of self-deception and social sin.

      Full article in http://kaflehem.wordpress.com/2008/07/10/on-teaching-and-teachers/

  2. Though teaching is seen not as a prestigious profession in Nepal, to be a teacher is really challenging in this new era due to emerging new and new concepts, ideologies, beliefs and practices in ELT.

    At present, if you are a teacher, you should have three qualities as Jagannath says, “a teacher must have the qualities of Head, Heart and hand”. Here, the quality of head refers to the knowledge of subject matter to teach, understanding of the lessons and so on. Similarly, the second quality ‘the quality of heart’ is all about keeping good relationship with students and the people around us and finally the third quality deals with the technical parts such as handwriting, painting, drawing and so on.

    For the same, my principle is a bit different in the sense that to stand oneself as a perfect English language teacher, he or she must know how to love, care and most importantly respect his/her students. It is because students are individuals first and then only they are students. Thus, teachers should learn to respect students’ individuality as one of the prerequisites to stand oneself as a good teacher .

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