Teachers are amongst the most important people in the world in my opinion.
When they are GOOD they are amongst that rare group that can really ‘grow’ people in a very positive sense. When they are BAD they are important, in a very different way, because of the damage that they can do! Because a bad teacher can completely derail a persons’ future!
There is definitely not much middle ground when it comes to teachers when you really think about it – they are either good or they are not good. When they are not good, at the very least they represent a missed opportunity – not only for their students but also for themselves.
Normally bad teachers are dull, uninspiring and completely unimaginative in the way they try to teach. Then you have good teachers, and much more rarely, the odd magnificent teacher. The type of teacher, like one I had, that so inspired me that I liked to spend extra time in the library expanding my knowledge of the books, essays etc that we covered with her in class!
I have also experienced one teacher who was so dead boring that once (or twice or more to be honest) I fell asleep in her class.
I know which one I always try to emulate. I am sure I don’t always make it but I am always determined to try!
Okay, you could say, if a student is motivated he, or she, will learn and thrive anyway? Don’t be so quick to say that. At the very least even motivated, keen students will greatly benefit from a more engaging, entertaining teacher.
And, one thing I know for sure, is that the more creative teachers know how to improvise, how to come up with a demonstration say, a picture that will help his/her students crystallize that idea that has been taught much more deeply than just words.
One thing I know about my own teaching is that I am certainly not the kind of teacher who is harmful to my students, in other words, I definitely do not undermine either their confidence or their self-belief. I may not always inspire but I know I never bring my students down.
At my very best I may even rise to the level that Aristotle was alluding to when he described teachers, which was “Teachers are more important than parents, because whereas parents give their children life, teachers give them the art of living”.