The Many Roles of a Teacher
2019-08-02 Elizaveta Pachina Alumni Experiences
At the cafeteria during lunchtime, a student of mine approached and asked me, “Why did you become a teacher?” Dumbfounded by this brazen question, I did not know what to say. I could have chosen motherhood statements like “I want to make a difference in the world,” “to have a positive impact on my student’s lives, “or that “I love children.” I ended up saying to him, “Well, I am good at teaching.” However, the truth of the matter is, I needed a job and there was an opportunity so I took it. You can say it was fate that called me to be a teacher. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine myself being a Grade 3 homeroom teacher! After having experienced a variety of jobs in my life from being a hotel banquet salesperson, a garments manager, an accountant, an external auditor, a life insurance consultant, a financial manager, a party designer, a medical researcher to being a variable annuity consultant, I can surely say that being a teacher is the toughest job in the world! Do you know that a teacher has many roles to play? Let me explain six of them.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Yvette S. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Firstly, a teacher is an instructor. A teacher needs to be knowledgeable about the subject they are teaching. For example, a student of mine asked me if an earthquake was caused by the colliding of a planet to our planet. I told her if that planet was as big as Earth and hit us, it would be the end of our world! Kidding aside, I then explained about the tectonic plates sliding and so on and so forth. Curious about the source of this information, I asked her where she learned about collision being the cause of an earthquake. She told me it was from a teacher in her previous school. I think we, as teachers, should be careful with what we say because our students believe what we say to be the truth.
Secondly, a teacher is a facilitator. As a facilitator, you have to make sure that your class is achieving the learning objectives for a specific time. To create a good learning environment (https://www.teflcourse.net/blog/differences-between-young-learners-and-adult-learners-in-the-tefl-environment-ittt-tefl-blog/), the teacher has to decide what kind of seating arrangement would be best for an upcoming activity. For example, when I want my students to focus on my lecture, I arrange the tables and chairs in rows. But when I need my students to collaborate or interact with one another, I make group tables. With the proper seating arrangement, students can engage easily in the learning process.
Next, a teacher is a mentor. Being a mentor, you have to be willing to share your knowledge, techniques, and skills to your students. For example, to help my students understand Math concepts the easiest way possible; I teach them techniques which I have developed through the years. To be an effective teacher, you have to be generous with your knowledge and care for your students’ intellectual development.
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Another role is a psychologist. A teacher has to know how to deal with students who misbehave in class. For example, I have a student who was quick in getting annoyed with his classmates whenever they teased him. I noticed this became a habit of his. So one time I called him and we had a serious talk about it. I said that he is one of my brilliant students but he has to know how to control his rage whenever someone taunts him. For him to understand why he is being teased, I said that since he is very good, his other classmates want him to look bad so he cannot get the ‘Good Student’ award. When he realized what his other classmates were up to, he stopped getting angry even if they teased him and called him names. Since he learned how to control his anger, he became a ‘Good Student’ in my list-making his parents proud of him.
Fifthly, a teacher is a counselor. As students spend most of their growing years in school, teachers evolve to become their surrogate parents. For example, during lunchtime, my students would ask me to sit beside them and talk about anything they like. Most of the time, my students would tell me private things like their mother is going to have a baby or show me one of their baby teeth fell. These are the moments I will cherish forever.
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Finally, a teacher is a policeman. To make sure that classroom lessons are going smoothly without behavioral disruption, the teacher must maintain class discipline. For example, before the school year begins, I set up class rules and tell the students what the consequences are if ever they do not abide by them. When they misbehave, the consequences would either be: sitting on a chair near my table, staying inside the classroom during playtime or calling their parents about their behavior. In this manner, they will not feel any unfair treatment whenever they misbehave.
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To sum up, a teacher’s many roles are instructor, facilitator, mentor, psychologist, counselor, and the policeman. Although being a teacher can be very challenging and very tiring, it can also be the most rewarding. Imagine twenty-one beautiful, talented, and intelligent children are hanging on to every word you say, following everything you do, and trusting you with all their hearts, then being a teacher is the best job in the world, hands down.
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