Real Teachers And Pretenders
How many times have we heard this – “It’s not easy being a teacher.”
Is it true that teaching is a difficult job?
Ask the teachers.
Only the teachers themselves, the real ones and the pretenders, can answer that question. Real teachers who prepare lesson plans, motivate and treat students properly, teach them, and assess their learning, will answer emphatically with a YES.
Don’t expect from the pretenders the same answer. For them teaching is a walk in the park. They don’t take it seriously. They are the ones who became teachers by accident… or perhaps necessity forced them to embrace the profession. They were lucky to have been offered teaching positions by virtue of some factors that only those who hired them know. They may possess “knowledge of the subject matter” but they don’t have training in (or they don’t have knowledge of) pedagogy for them to understand that teachers need to have a plan before they enter the class…that they need to motivate the students, establish rapport with them…that teaching is different from talking in front of students…and that they need to assess learning.
Yes, real teachers prepare (or have) lessons. They never come to class unprepared. They always have a plan, written or otherwise. They know the parts and components of a lesson plan…objectives, topic/topics to teach, activities, materials, methods of assessment and assignments…and they know how to effectively execute it. Most importantly, they know how to improvise when the plan they prepared for the day is seemingly not working.
Real teachers also motivate and treat students properly. They believe in the basic tenet in education that students learn best in a positive and nurturing environment thus the first thing they do at the beginning of a term is to win the students’ trust and make them feel comfortable. They respect their students and believe that each of them has the capability to learn.
Conversely, the pretenders say that their students are dumb, lazy, hopeless and incapable of learning… that they are not worthy of their time… that having students like them in their classes is an insult to their intelligence.
The pretenders don’t care if the students learn or not. They maintain standards and set expectations that no matter what the students must meet. They don’t understand that they need to prepare and patiently guide the students in their difficult journey towards meeting those standards and expectations.
While the pretenders deliver a monologue and recite information from the book in front of their students, the real teachers TEACH. And when they teach, they do so guided by established norms and standards of teaching and learning. They know what methods and strategies are best suited for the kind of students they have and for the topic/topics they discuss.
The real teachers also keep up with the current trends and innovations in their fields wanting to improve themselves not only for their personal growth but also for them to be better equipped and have more to share with their students. They also know how important is technology to education thus they do not only exert effort to learn how to use them but invest on them as well.
Real teachers also know that assessment is a vital component of the learning process. They understand that the evaluation of the performance of the students is a continuous process…done while the school term progresses. They keep a record of the performance of their students and, accordingly, inform them about it. So, their students are aware of their standing in the class…their students know in what areas they need to improve.
What about the pretenders? How do they grade their students?
The pretenders believe that they are very smart…very sharp to know their students and determine what grade do they deserve even if they don’t assess periodically. They have so retentive a memory that they can recall the everyday performance of their students for the entire term. Thus, their grading is a one-time deal. They do it at the end of the term. It is during the last days of the term that they check exercises, quizzes and test papers. They don’t believe that students need feedback about their performance during the term. They don’t understand that returning “marked” exercises, quizzes and tests is a form of feedbacking…that through it the students get to monitor their performance.
Don’t ask the pretenders if they keep (or if they can show) at any given time a record of the scores of their students in quizzes, exercises and tests. They have nothing to show.
Well! That’s just the way pretenders are. They believe that they have their own way of doing things. They exist in their own world. They have their own standards.They would argue that asking them to do something they don’t believe in is an infringement of their academic freedom… unaware that the institution where they are employed and their students do enjoy also academic freedom that may possibly supersede theirs.
Of course there is no such thing as a perfect school organization anywhere in the world. Issues and problems come out anytime. Both real teachers and pretenders are affected by all of those but the former and the latter deal with them in different ways.
While real teachers try to find solutions to problems that they are capable of solving, the pretenders just whine and try to find more faults. The more faults they find the better so they can justify their indifference and non-performance.
Real teachers may also disagree with policies being implemented. They are not blind not to see loopholes in a system. They are not naive not to feel and be not aware of a prevailing organizational climate. But they would never allow those to distract them from carrying out their obligations. They know that no organization is perfect. Issues and disagreements may arise among teachers themselves and between teachers and administrators. But that notwithstanding the real teachers know that they need to carry out their assigned tasks , especially in the area of instruction. They honor their commitment to their students.
It is when confronted with uncertainties in the workplace that a teacher’s sense of professionalism could be put to a real test. Real teachers know that their students deserve nothing but the best from them every time, even if they are suffering from anxieties and stressed by some personal and organizational concerns.
Another question that people ask teachers – ‘Is it the joy of teaching that makes you stay with the profession…or the money?”
Only the teachers themselves also can answer that question. One thing certain… real teachers, satisfied or not with their remunerations, make sure that they deserve every penny they are paid.