Selection of teachers important too
Chukka Ramaiah: Selection of Teachers Important Too, This reaffirms my conviction that miracles in education are more a matter of mentor and ward relationships and bonding than a matter of infrastructure, technology and rigorous drilling by purely academically qualified faculty.
In any sincere learner’s life, it is a great fortune to be guided by a good teacher and likewise in a good teacher’s life, it is a greater fortune to be able to guide good learners. When a happy coincidence brings forth such momentous interactions, one need not wonder if the wards outshine their tutors or mentors and rise to iconic heights. Just like I do, I am sure that all proud teachers cherish their memories of the alchemy which their sincere and simple exchanges had on their wards, just as all good students recall the impact of their favorite mentors in making them what they are. This reaffirms my conviction that miracles in education are more a matter of mentor and ward relationships and bonding than a matter of infrastructure, technology and rigorous drilling by purely academically qualified faculty.
This week, I had an opportunity to share my views in this regard with one of my sisters who was concerned at our teacher selection process which gives more importance to academics while ignoring other crucial aspects that make a true teacher. I agreed with her that while selecting teachers for residential schools like Navodaya Vidyalayas, Kendriya Vidyalayas, Model schools and their like, the interviewers need to look out also for some vital signs like enthusiasm, good sense of humor, a friendly nature, genuine love for the learners, emotional balance, flexibility etc. If he or she lacks the humane touch, one can never gauge the havoc, the psychological torture a so-called teacher can cause on the young minds that stay away from home, relying on the teachers’ guidance and affection in their formative years.
Being a teacher in such schools is a great challenge, it not only demands 24/7 involvement but the willingness to mingle with the adolescents in a supportive, positive way, gain their trust, be a role model and become a part of the huge ‘family’ of students and peers in an ideal way. My experience in such residential schools in different capacities has enriched my life and has at the same time increased my concern for the ‘young vulnerables’. Those who are tempted to work here for the monetary benefits and other incentives may get selected if they have the hardskills, but it would be a great injustice to the stakeholders and would undermine our vision of encouraging the all-round development and fostering a healthy attitude in our young learners.
Selection should be based on the purpose for which we need the teachers. In corporate schools where acquiring marks becomes the prime motive, the selection should be based on specific skills in enhancing percentage while in residential schools, the teachers’ role is different. Of course, there are some points allotted in interviews, for communication skills and personality too, but certainly the interviewers need to evaluate here by asking the right type of questions which would bring out the true personality. Routine questions like ’Why should we select you?’ or ‘Tell us something about yourself in one minute’ are definitely not yardsticks to gauge the personality. Very often what one elicits by such routine questions is all but stereotyped responses.
One needs to be blessed with innate talents and natural abilities which get fine-tuned through experience, to become a teacher who gets immersed in his class, shares the joy of learning again and again, radiates a sense of pleasure and never misses the human touch and sense of humor, whatever be the content. Building bonds of affection, concern and trust comes from respecting the individual identity of each learner, calling them by their names and that too, not just for reprimanding but for appreciation.However drab a subject may be, a teacher who helps the youngsters by making them at home succeeds in making his subject quite interesting.
Teaching should be a pleasurable experience for both the parties involved. The teacher must be always willing to be a facilitator keen on prodding the learners’ ability beyond the comfort zone, offering multiple scaffolds enabling them to grow into independent thinkers and learners. A teacher who gives a challenging question which may tease the learners, inspires and encourages them to stretch their skills, never underestimates their potential but helps them to build self-confidence is what the residential schools need. One who checks if his learners have understood what he taught in the class, not just by getting a group answer in the class, but by caring to interact with the learners in private, one who has the patience to introspect and improve continuously is the one we need.
Therefore, how about doing some homework and designing questions which reveal the interviewees’ innovative capacity, innate talents, natural inclination for teaching, passion for the profession, creative thinking, empathy and emotional intelligence apart from the degrees and marks scored therein? Let our future be in safe and caring hands!