The relationship between teachers and students is said to be healthy and positive when the former imparts quality education and the latter acquires real learning. This can only happen if teachers’ immediacy, integrity, credibility, competence and classroom behaviour leave a lasting impression on the students even after twenty years of graduation. A good teacher is sincere and devoted who loved his students and treated them with utmost kindness. To be trusted by the students, a teacher must possess the above attributes and must not indulge in any unfair practice that will certainly affect his/her performance, creativity and brilliance. Honest and upright teachers, whose behaviour in the classroom and outside is exemplary, command respect among their students even though they may be very strict and known to give lower grades to students.
“A teacher is a showcase and a reference to his students and I always remind myself of the awesome responsibility. I cannot help likening myself to a preacher delivering a sermon, whose every word – on and off the record – might be disastrously misinterpreted. Teaching is indeed fun, and can be very enjoyable, but only if you never let the wind take over the sailing of the ship,” writes Akif Abdulamir, an Oman-based columnist, writes in his article: ‘Navigating the academic boat.
Teachers have great responsibility not only to teach curriculum to students but also develop leadership qualities in addition to groom them to become persons of sublime character. Teachers themselves are to be the leaders. Their leadership is primarily concerned with developing high quality learning modules and maintaining a healthy competitive environment in academic institutions. A teacher must plan his/her school year by setting his/her own vision as to what he/she would like his/her students to be in their future life and how the classroom can facilitate such a goal? There should be continuing interaction between the teachers and parents to decide the direction and future of the students. Abraham Lincoln, more than 170 years ago, wrote to his son’s teacher, “teach him it is far more honourable to fail than to cheat-steer him away from envy-teach him the wonder of books-but also give him quiet time to ponder over the eternal mystery of birds, sun and flowers.” This indeed is the responsibility that a teacher owes to his/her students.
Teachers have great responsibility not only to teach curriculum to students but also develop leadership qualities in addition to groom them to become persons of sublime character. Teachers themselves are to be the leaders
Parents, of course, share a greater responsibility to bring up their children to become honest, respectful and disciplined citizens. Late General MacArthur, the US army chief in the 1930s, prayed, “build me a son, O Lord whose heart will be clear, whose goals will be high-a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men-who will reach into the future yet never forget the past-give him humility, so that he might remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the weakness of true strength-then I, his father will dare to whisper, I have not lived in vain.” This is what the parents should aim for and pray while grooming their children.
Unfortunately, special relationship between students and teachers, which existed in olden days, is non-existent these days. Students had great respect for teachers because they had passion for learning. Respect for teachers is a sacred duty enshrined in Islam. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) cared for teachers and showed their elevated standing. Once he passed by two circles of people, the first was supplicating to Allah while the second was listening to a teacher. He joined the second and said: “I have been sent as a teacher.” Talking to his followers, the Prophet (SAW) once said: “Sleep of a scholar is superior to one thousand rak’ats of prayer offered by a devout person.” Hazrat Ali (RA) once said: “If a person teaches me one single word, he has made me his servant for a life time.” According to different quotes in Islam, “a teacher is the person who shapes the personality, opens one’s mind and guides him/her towards the right path.” “A good teacher is like a candle, that consumes itself to light the way for others.”
However, an empathic and competent teacher does not demand respect, but in fact, commands respect. It all depends on his character, competence, behaviour in the classroom and outside. Great teachers like Socrates are remembered with love and respect even after thousands of years. He coached and mentored Plato who, in turn, did the same for Aristotle, the other two great teachers. Socrates’ way of teaching was: the teacher of inquiry is not the purveyor of knowledge, filling the empty minds of largely passive students. He is not a ‘sage on the stage’. There are no lectures and no power point presentations. There is no rote learning. The teacher is a guide on the side. He plays the devil’s advocate. He does not know all the answers. The classroom experience is a shared dialogue. The teacher asks probing questions to expose the values, principles and beliefs of students. It focuses on moral education on how one ought to live. Socrates used to say that he did not teach, but he served like his mother to the truth that is already in us.
This article was originally published at: https://dailytimes.com.pk/651681/a-good-teacher-is-like-a-candle-that-consumes-itself-to-light-the-way-for-others/
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.