Becoming A Superteacher -- Or At Least Trying

How do they manage to make the lesson stick in a child’s head?
02/28/2017 09:40 am ET Updated Mar 01, 2017
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Teaching is often cited as one of the more underrated, underestimated and underpaid jobs. Some may look down on teachers for having things ‘easy’; after all, they get to go home in the afternoon, along with paid vacations, don’t they? Then there are such disdainful sayings such as “those who can’t do, teach,” implying that those who can’t find anything to apply their education to, merely go about passing it on and getting paid for it.

Teachers work beyond their paid hours

Looking just a bit closer inside the lives and routines of teachers, it is strongly apparent that nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, some teachers are needlessly strict or lax, and some that are just not interested in the nature of the job itself. However, these problems are mostly the result of a poor filtering system while hiring, rather than the profession itself. Teachers, especially motivated and enthusiastic ones, are on duty 24/7. They go home, prepare their lessons, research better teaching techniques, changes in curriculum, test formats, language, and history. This is vastly different from an office job, where one mostly relaxes after coming home.

Affecting each and every life

Let’s face it; when individuals who have succeeded in something are asked about their time at school, they would probably not remember exactly what was taught to them that may have helped them succeed. However, look in the dedications of published books, the interviews of famous celebrities, and see what people attribute their success to. When asked, probably every person would have either a positive or a negative story about a teacher that somehow shaped their lives. One might even say that teaching is power; a teacher is in charge of impressionable young minds.

How does a successful teacher do it all?

How do they manage to make the lesson stick in a child’s head? Not just one, but many lessons; every day, every year. Writing about this in depth is clearly impossible; one needs to be a super teacher to understand the journey that went with it. Just a few ways are:

1) Planning, planning and more planning

While planning, a good teacher needs to be clear about what should be conveyed to students, and in what way. Lesson plans are not a way to set limits or hinder creativity, but rather a kind of map in which the limits are pushed and originality blossoms. Teachers should also be curious about new research on their subject, incorporating it into their plan as they go

2) Long-term motivation

Teachers need to look past the inevitable boredom that sometimes comes with teaching. This is because successful teachers think about the end goal; it’s not about the actual math or grammar concept that a student should understand. Everything is at stake; the child’s confidence, verbal ability, memory, and, eventually, the knowledge that someone is there to help them through. Also, a teacher needs to know when to firmly guide and not be swayed by each child’s suggestion. This is what will help them succeed, which is a teacher’s long-term goal.

3) Positive thinking:

Teachers need to be able to bounce back, then get up to take risks again, even if they failed. This is the sort of positive energy that would inspire, and they then expect the same for their students.

All in all, teaching isn’t just droning on about a topic and making sure notes are being taken. When done properly, it’s an exciting world, where excellence comes with constant struggle and self-reflection, not to mention a whole lot of hard work. It’s high time society respected that.

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