One of the most enduring talents we need in this dynamic age of ours is the ability to adapt to change. Teachers, in particular, who are custodians of the future, should be able to model this ideal so effectively that those they teach will be motivated to become their best selves. It is also important for educators to be able to, not only, model excellence at given skills but also to find effective ways to help students acquire these skills. Additionally, there must be such a safe and comfortable connection between students and teachers that nothing can prevent them from learning. These are some essential qualities of an effective teacher that seem to make the most difference in the lives of students.
Adapting to change though, is not easy for teachers who are set in their ways. It takes a special breed of teacher to know when to adjust, to shift gear, to identify when something is wrong and find creative ways to fix whatever needs fixing. Effective teachers can bend in the winds of criticism and always emerge stronger and wiser after every visit to the principal’s office. Most importantly, effective teachers are profound reflectors, always tinkering with the past in order to make the future better. Their minds are never truly at rest but are always probing, even in sleep, the endless possibilities of learning.
And yet, these teachers are not burdened by their tremendous responsibilities. On the contrary, they seem to bloom with optimism and hope even after discouraging results. They just take the noble view that they did not cover their bases adequately and go right back to motivation and teaching with renewed vigor. Some of these teachers may not even be the best at what they teach but they get better results, than more outstanding teachers in their fields, because they are persistent and they are professional. Eventually they will become exceptional teachers.
One of the qualities most prominent in all effective teachers is their complete commitment to the well-being of their students. This commitment has nothing to do with remuneration, condition of service, student behavior or any of the other factors that lesser teachers blame their failures on. Effective teachers are not only willing to go the extra mile for their students but take a hands-on, studied-reflective, child-centered approach that ultimately results in enhanced learning. Effective teachers know when their students are having challenges and cares deeply. This is what motivates them to seek meaningful solutions to the problems of their students even as they contend with the tasks of teaching and learning.
The task of equipping young minds with adequate levels of stimulation should therefore be left to those individuals endowed with the necessary aptitudes and skills. It is these essential qualities of an effective teacher that will make education of our young to become a preparation for life. Effective teachers are catalysts of meaningful change, promoters of positive relationships, and possess the deep understanding of information and social skills that is demanded by the dynamic learning environment of the present, and the future. A strong education system with effective teachers will ultimately give rise to more empowered citizens and a prosperous future.