12 The A to Z of the Special Teacher - Dr. Mrs. Elaine Anne Charles

posted Aug 29, 2018, 9:53 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Aug 29, 2018, 9:53 AM ]
Teaching, we know, is a 'vocation' and the term 'vocation' stems from a Latin word which means "a call to service". Teaching, for me, is a Divine Call, a call from God to serve the young and growing minds entrusted to a teacher's care. And because it is a Divine Call, it consequently challenges teachers to be different, to be a cut above the rest, to be in fact, Special People.

What are the qualities or characteristics that make for this specialness? It might seem like a tall and challenging order, but I believe that this is the A to Zee of the Special Teacher.

A for being APPROACHABLE and AVAILABLE. Approachability implies being easy to approach, to relate to and to communicate with. Such teachers are readily liked, appreciated and sought after. With approachability also goes availability, making oneself available to one's students in terms of one's time, assistance, guidance and support.

B says be BENEVOLENT. Benevolence implies 'a desire to do good' and that is the very mission of a true and special teacher. For if teaching is a 'vocation' and 'a call to serve others', then desiring to do good to them follows naturally and spontaneously.

C for being a good COMMUNICATOR. Teaching basically involves communication, both talking and listening. Exposing, explaining, discussing are the core of teaching, and this involves talking. So to be an effective communicator, factors like audibility, clarity, a pleasant accent and diction, good eye contact, a suitable pace of teaching and the ability to arouse and sustain student interest and attention are all essential. Equally important in communication is the skill of listening. One needs to listen with one's whole self, giving non-verbal signs that you are listening, avoiding interruptions and the temptation to give quick solutions to problems. So being a good communicator is vital to a teacher's specialness.

D for DRESS SENSE. Teachers need to present themselves well, for given the kind of world our students live in today, they are certainly influenced by a teacher's dress, manners and appearance, and a smartly dressed master or a well-dressed teacher does readily win attention and appreciation.

E for ENTHUSIASM and an ENCOURAGING APPROACH. To be special, a teacher must be enthusiastic and excited about his or her work, enjoying the subjects he or she teaches and students must be able to sense this passion for teaching in their teachers. Enthusiasm is infectious and easily passed on.

Equally important is an Encouraging Approach, which makes students feel they are worthwhile and that they can do it. Encouragement goes a long way in boosting a student's self-esteem. Besides, it costs a teacher nothing, except for some time, effort and caring.