The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. – William Arthur Ward
Of all the hard jobs around, one of the hardest is being a good teacher. – Maggie Gallagher
Of late, we have embarked on a Future Readiness Tour for secondary schools that desire motivation and learning about the future of work. Every stop we make depicts the challenge ahead of educators across the country. Previously teachers prepared students for jobs that could last all through their individual lives – whether as engineers, doctors, nurses, teachers etc. Things have rapidly changed with the advent of robotics, artificial intelligence and more that is sure to come up. There is no clearly defined roadmap for what most jobs will look like in 10 years or more from now. It then follows that the classroom teachers’ functions must change in the global economy that we find ourselves a part of. Teachers are the most fundamental part of learning for our students.
As we progress with the technology that is available, who knows whether someday we will use hologram technology to get excellent teachers to work with students across various locations. In the meantime, let’s work on ensuring that we have great teachers in every classroom to meet the challenges of getting our students future-ready.
It’s time to walk away from “La cram ala pour”, as was termed by another future-readiness advocate on the tour – whereby our students just accumulate facts and information (easily retrievable through Google); and emphasis should now be on young people having skills in problem-solving, teamwork, and creativity. This enables them to work well with others, solve tasks, and be flexible in adapting to a dynamic job market.
From my experience as an educator and interacting with other educators, I find that subject knowledge is critical and being able to convey this knowledge to students properly are the two elements key to being an excellent teacher.
It is not enough to just hire teachers, they must stay current with the trends in education, especially when it comes to the adoption of technology in the classroom. The things is how do we give teachers a reward for achieving these standards?
To help press towards this goal, we can encourage teachers to constantly equip themselves.
The first way is that teachers are held accountable to believing that the learning of their students can be excellent. It is commonly said that education is 51 percent character and 49 percent academics. It is more relevant to teach our students about significant character traits like grit, empathy, and gratitude. James Baldwin puts it best: “Children have never been good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”
The second way is for teachers to work together – sharing lesson plans, teaching strategies and discussing how to deliver the curriculum effectively.
The third way is for teachers to seek feedback from peers and superiors to refine their teaching abilities.
A lot of people think that teaching is a calling, however I have seen a mediocre teacher become an awesome one through diligently working on the three things mentioned above.
This is urgently needed because for our students to be a part of the future of work, they will need human interaction (their teachers) to help them thrive and be successful at whatever they decide to do. They aren’t born with the academic and personality skills they need for their full ability.
Adetola Salau; Educator / Speaker / Author/ Social Entrepreneur / Innovator
She is an Advocate of STEM Education and is Passionate about Education reform. She is an innovative thinker and strives for our society & continent as a whole to reclaim it’s greatness. She runs an educational foundation with the mission to transform education.